We have come a long way in Cleveland from the time in the 1990s when the only mention of homeless people by the Mayor was how he was going to criminalize being poor to the time when the Mayor said that he was working with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless in a positive way. Here is the text from the Mayor's State of the City speech from this last week.
Quality of Life - HomelessnessIt is true, we did a ton of work in 2008 to improve conditions for homeless people. We have a report on our website on the state of downtown Cleveland. An interesting note on the report, one of the smaller recommendations that seemed harmless when the report was published raised a great of attention and opposition from one segment of the population. Keep in mind that these are just recommendations (not demands), and we would need a great deal of help accomplishing these goals from our partners. But one of the recommendations was taken more as an attempt to overturn the apple cart, and was rejected.
"Over the past three years, I have worked with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, our Community Development Department, County staff and others to address this. My focus is not solely on providing emergency shelter but on finding ways to offer permanent supportive housing; access to wraparound social services; and, job opportunities.
In Cleveland, we have built 351 units of permanent supportive housing. But it is not enough. Addressing issues like service, safety, health care and homelessness must be matched with significant investment in our neighborhoods."
There are a bunch of opportunities this year for Cleveland with the $13 million in prevention dollars, the increase in funding for Public Housing, and the Land Bank program. We hope that the Mayor will continue to focus on homelessness, and take a lead role in addressing this issue.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.