Sunday, January 31, 2010

Budget Freezes??

Did We Learn Nothing During the Depression?

Last week, the President announced that he was freezing discretionary funding except for defense, education and a bunch of other programs. First, I do not understand why the defense department is exempt, but second why do we need a freeze at this time? Didn't the current Fed Chair tell us that the Great Depression lasted longer than it needed to because government was not willing to take on debt in the early 1930s? We have only barely made it through this giant recession, and we are freezing the federal discretionary spending. It makes no sense.

The States all need help with massive budget deficits. Governor Strickland actually bragged that he has cut the state workforce by 5,000 in his State of the State address. How is this good? In a recession, we should not be cutting the public sector jobs. I get that it is an election year, and his opponents will run on small government and fiscal responsibility, but it does not make sense. The Republicans are always calling for a reduction in taxes and smaller taxes. This does not seem to be good fiscal policies right now. In good times, it makes sense to reduce taxes, but there have to be times to raise taxes or spend more money for government. Governor Strickland, there has to be times that we build roads and bridges or increase support for social services.

Now, the County transition group announced that they want a 15% reduction in spending to put more funds into economic development. This does not make any sense. How does cutting mental health services, treatment, human services by 15% in a time when there is increased demand make any sense? How much will economic development mean if families cannot find help with food or emergency assistance or help with a foreclosure? This whole push for a reduction in government at a time when our economy is so weak is cowardly and an ill advised course of action. It is like they are playing a game to win an election, while we slowly move away from the iceberg. They need to get together on a plan for the good of the country, and stop playing games. They need to come up with solutions to get us out of this mess together and stop thinking only about the next election.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Another Hate Crime in Cincinnati

Man Beaten Within An Inch of His Life

A man was “beaten within an inch of his life” says Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Mike John after a January 24 incident outside of a local bar/restaurant. Sunday morning at approximately 3:48am Robert Meehan was severely beaten just outside of Bootsy’s Restaurant at 631 Walnut Street. Just moments before he was beat, Meehan was recorded by a surveillance camera walking with a black man who is approximately 30-35 years old, 6'02"-6'03" in height and 225 lbs. He was wearing dark blue/black jeans, orange dress shirt, black jacket and black knit type hat. Three white women were also walking with the man in question along side of Meehan.

Meehan a 56-year old white man, is known to be a local writer, recently working to submit an article for Street Vibes. He gains much of his information from spending time at places such as bars where people socialize. Patrons and employees in the area of Walnut report regularly seeing Meehan. Patrons and neighbors report that Meehan is never disrespectful, never violent and has a calm disposition.

Lieutenant John says that this attack was “brutal and unprovoked.” Surveillance video shows Meehan and the other four people involved in a civil walk and conversation with no altercation. It seems that the attacker, without any cause, suddenly attacked Meehan. Lieutenant John says that really there never is a cause for such violence. The attacker picked up Robert Meehan, body-slammed him to the ground, punched him, beat him and reportedly hit him with a beer bottle. Lieutenant John says that this is “the worst beating [he has] ever seen, in which the victim did not die.” Currently, Meehan is in the ICU at University Hospital of Cincinnati in a medically induced coma. The beating was so bad that there is not enough bone structure left in his face to do surgery.

Meehan spends time staying with friends or spends time on the streets. Meehan is known by those who frequent the area surrounding Bootsy’s Restaurant and other local entertainment venues near Walnut and also Fountain Square. "It is difficult to understand why an individual would commit such a heinous crime against another person, especially a person who did nothing to provoke violence," said Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless director Josh Springs.

It is ironic that the attack occurred in the same week that the Cincinnati Coalition was hosting a forum on Hate Crimes against people who are homeless, and two weeks after an attack near the stadium of a man who was set on fire. Crimes such as these take different forms, but often are the most heinous and vicious. Michael Stoops from the National Coalition for the Homeless attended the forum to call attention to this disturbing national trend and the yearly report produced by NCH. The report details the frivolous attitude of many if the violent young people caught attacking those experiencing homelessness. Many claim an attitude of, “He was just a bum, so he doesn’t matter.”

With this mindset attackers target hate toward those who are vulnerable and just minding their own business or quietly trying to survive from one day to the next. The Cincinnati Coalition will be working with activists from around Ohio to strengthen state laws to punish those who attack homeless people with additional punishments after these two attacks.

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Local Reports from Around United States

Local Reports from the National Coalition Meeting

I attended the National Coalition for the Homeless meeting a couple of weeks ago. Here are a few things that I heard around the country.

Indiana: – There were large cuts from the Indiana State Budget—They are holding back on new Medicare enrollment to try to balance the budget. Homeless Prevention Rapid Rehousing (HPRP)/Stimulus funds for homeless people is slow going and not much going to people in Southern Indiana.

Texas: Governor refused to accept stimulus now refusing to accept education dollars. Austin held a let’s get to work forum in an attempt to fix the transitional shelters to get people to work. Workers Hotel initiatives planned to try to get Council support renovate old YMCA want to provide housing to the lowest income who may have some money but no place to live.

Florida: Still struggling with residency restrictions for sex offenders. Many Florida cities are passing anti-street feeding ordinances. Miami is proposing to license those who serve food downtown and they must provide a bathroom. HPRP is working very well, but giving out a ton of money very quickly.

Massachusetts: Legislation trying to make it illegal to provide shelter for sex offenders in the state.

Minnesota: Still trying to lobby for foreclosure protections from the Subcommittee on Housing that both Rep Waters and Rep. Ellison sit on. There is a proposed cut to General assistance. Spending more on HPRP/Stimulus toward homeless people then the state is spending on shelter now in Minnesota. The State Housing Link organization reports that only 166,000 households earning less than $25,000 per year, while there were only 82,000 units of subsidized housing. This translates to 50% of those who need affordable housing being able to find it within the state.

Montana: Governor not going after Education stimulus money. They are most likely not going to reappoint Governor’s. Council on Homelessness. This may lead to the group forming their own 501-c-3. They received a lot of press because of the subzero weather, and the impact on the homeless population.

California: - No Statewide Interagency Council in place within the state. They will not be appointed by end of the Swarzenegger term as governor. $20 billion hole in the state budget which meant a 15% cut to TANF (welfare) spending. If they do not get Federal dollars to cut deficit by $6/9 billion, the plan is to cut more from welfare, Passport type program for seniors, and the Foster care system. All this will trickle down to result in massive cuts to the County budgets. Deep cuts to Human Services planned. – Sacramento has prioritized the 10 year plan to end homelessness. They are still working on finding a permanent site for the tent city, but they are moving forward on a new basketball arena. There are groups that are trying to get a deal for help with homelessness in exchange for support for the arena.

South Carolina: Sen. Jim DeMint new hero as leader of tea party group. Senator Graham will not support any expansion of hate crimes to include homeless people. The Stimulus money for Housing/HPRP was distributed in July; so far no money has been given out yet. Special needs populations are not getting any help in South Carolina especially in the area of housing. They focus more on homeowners or the elderly for help. They got none of the Neighborhood Stabilization/Foreclosure help. There was a story about two Greenville police officers who beat up a homeless individual. The officers were put them on administrative leave. The State coalition has just been passing out info/training and sharing opportunities. They are switching to do more advocacy since they are in the bottom of almost every negative category among the states.

Atlanta, GA: - The state has serious budget problems and are putting teachers on furlough – no money left for anything. The power elite in Atlanta are allowing Grady hospital to move to a private organization. They have allowed massive demolition of Public Housing and even the privatization of the Mental health system and the prisons. There was a big story about people dying because they cannot find affordable dialysis in Atlanta. The Task force shelter building is in Foreclosure with a due date in February 2010. Borrowed money in 1998. They have a lawsuit involving the loans from that period of time when the city began de-funding the organization. Homeless people have really stepped up to keep the shelter open.

Colorado: Budget cut may terminate General Assistance, which currently helps those waiting for SSI. The Colorado Coalition saw a $3.4 million cut. They had to eliminate the mobile health clinic and close group homes, cutting salaries and implementing a hiring freeze. The good news is that the State is matching the $10 million in HPRP/Homeless Prevention money that came to the state using TANF/welfare funds. 40 organizations across the state got together to do a common assessment form. They are still opening new housing units for homeless people. Boulder successfully advocated against laws restricting camping. The Mayor has signed a moratorium on enforcement of this law.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Met Dick Gregory Last Night
Photo from magazine

Civil Rights Icon Starting a Fast for Haiti

I was just sitting in the lobby of a Washington DC hotel enjoying an adult beverage and the football games when I look over and at the next table is Civil Rights icon Dick Gregory. I was in DC for the National Coalition for the Homeless Board meeting. I am not a star struck/autograph type of person , but this was Dick Gregory. I played his comedy routines on a radio show in college and used many of his anti-war speeches in my activism. He spoke frequently in the 1980s and 1990s about the problems facing the African American community in America.

This is the guy who did the heavy lifting so that kids today can wear their pants on the ground or choose a college based on the amount of zeros in their bank account and not the color of their skin. He was in DC because he was starting a fast on Monday for raising awareness about Haiti. I would have never recognized him, but I watched the Mark Twain Prize for Bill Cosby and he was a presenter. He is 77 years old and doing a fast to push Americans to continue to help this country as the shock of the initial tragedy wears off. Gregory is doing 7 days without food or liquids and then 23 days with only liquids. This is not his first hunger strike. He is amazing.

He talked to the three NCH Board members about the history of the Haiti and his theories about poverty in America. He says that he uses the sale of Alpo, Spam and Hamburger Helper as a gauge for the food security of a neighborhood. When the sales of these low priced "food" items increase in a neighborhood that means that people are having a hard time, according to Gregory. He said that in some extremely poor communities, people resort to eating dog food, and to avoid the embarrassment they remove the labels. Gregory claimed that the marketers at Alpo have realized that some people buy this food to eat, and so they removed the picture of the dog from the cans. The one good side of this, according to Gregory, was that dog food has more regulations on it than most human food.

Dick Gregory integrated comedy clubs and marched against the racist wars of the United States. He ran for president in 1968 and fought against corporate control, racism, and pay inequality for women. He looks like he has weathered many struggles in his life, but still looks good for 77 years. Gregory was sitting with an advisor and his doctor planning this fast for Haiti on Sunday night. All I said was thanks for all that you have done for the United States and good luck in raising awareness about Haiti.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Report from NCH

From Chester Commons (which is now under renovation). Unknown artist

National Homeless Report on Winter Shelters

The National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington DC released a report on the state of winter shelters in the United States. Cincinnati and Columbus are the two cities featured in the report from Ohio. The report goes into a great deal of detail about hypothermia and the importance of staying inside during extreme weather conditions. There are warnings for those who are resistant to shelter to stay dry, and the report urges politicians to work for a regional approach to solving the winter shelter problem.

Cleveland was not featured, because we do not have a winter-only system for shelter. This is one thing that puts Cuyahoga County ahead of the rest of the country. We have had a 20 year commitment to providing shelter to everyone in need. We do not turn people away from the two entry shelters in Cleveland. The County Commissioners, the Mayor and the staff of the Office of Homeless Services have always found the funding to make sure that no one is turned away. This is expensive and a tremendous undertaking for a community. We have had old schools opened, church basements, and government buildings to keep people from freezing to death on our streets. This has resulted in significantly fewer deaths of people who have experienced homelessness compared to other cities. We need to thank our elected officials for remaining steadfast in protecting those without housing through multiple administrations.

Check out the report from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

No Foreclosure Help for Youngstown

Mahoning Valley Application was Rejected by HUD?

I got notice of a petition drive in Youngstown to protest the rejection of the Mahoning Valley Application for Neighborhood Stabilization 2 funding that was announced last week. The Youngstown paper has been aggressively reporting this story here and here. Evidently, Youngstown has one of the highest rates of foreclosure in the country, and was denied the joint proposal submitted by nine communities in the Mahoning Valley. The Youngstown Mayor and US Rep. Tim Ryan are crying foul and pledging to raise the issue with President Obama. In addition, the foreclosure funds given to the State of Ohio were distributed throughout the state and Mahoning and Trumbull counties received the smallest amount of all the large counties in Ohio. The Dayton area received the largest per capita amount of funding from Ohio even though they have a smaller 12.1% foreclosure rate in comparison to Youngstown and Cleveland with foreclosure rates at 14.7% and 12.7% respectively.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Looting vs. Survival?

Photo by Cheryl Jones of the Grapevine photo project

In Haiti, is this Really Looting?

I really need some clarity on the definition of looting from the media. I do not understand how this fits in Haiti in which for the last week government has for all purposes collapsed. If there is no way to get supplies in and people are starving and need water, how is it looting if they go in and "take" those items from stores. I asked friends at the National Coalition for the Homeless to define looting and they seemed to believe that it was the theft of extraneous items that have nothing to do with the emergency (plasma tvs, furniture, house decorations, etc.). So, the theft of items for survival should not be considered looting. I have also heard that theft associated with violence would be considered looting. But this blanket statement about looting seems misguided in the case of Haiti. A guy stealing materials for clothing or night time covers or to make a tent for shelter as pictured in the Washington Post does not seem to be looting to me.

I heard some discussion about this on NPR yesterday, but have not seen much discussion in print about looting with a definition. The report today was that 1.5 million people are now homelessness in Haiti or half of the Port-au-Prince.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Death on the Streets?

Woman Freezes Near Flats

WKYC TV is reporting a woman froze to death on Vega and Train Ave. in the new flats. We have not had a hypothermia death of a homeless person for a couple of years. I am afraid that this was a homeless woman who was sleeping in one of the outdoor sites. We hope that some of the homeless outreach workers will be able to identify the individual so that family notification can be made.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Today's Civil Rights

MLK Day Reflection

Today is the day we mark the day we remember Martin Luther King Jr., and I was thinking about the issues that King would be pursuing if he were alive or if one person had picked up his legacy. We are gathering our stats for the State of Homelessness report 2010, and once again we find that around 75% of the homeless population in Cleveland is African American. I have to believe that if King were still alive or if one individual had taken up the struggle, they would have homelessness on the top of the Civil Right's agenda. Homelessness disproportionately affects African Americans in almost every city in America. I have to believe that the other issue on the top of the agenda would be the criminal justice system. The disproportionate number of African Americans who are involved in the judicial system is a toxic subject for politicians including President Obama. We need a national movement leader to continue to move a Civil Rights agenda forward that will force these issues onto the national stage.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It is Difficult to Imagine

I have read the Washington Post and New York Times every day regarding Haiti. It is hard to imagine an entire city that is now homeless. I have listened to the impressive coverage from the BBC and NPR; both doing amazing work in the area. Even with the rush of media down to Haiti, it is hard to wrap my head around the scale of destruction. One way to look at this disaster is to put it in the context of the United States.

If a similar natural disaster were to strike Northeast Ohio, it would have an effect on the citizens in Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain, Lake, Medina, Geauga, Ashtabula, and Stark Counties to equal the population struggling to survive in Haiti. And it would be similar to everyone in the city of Cleveland Heights dying in this disaster.

To see similar numbers effected by the Haitian earthquake in the United States would be like a disaster hitting the entire states of Iowa or Mississippi. How long would it take to recover if nearly every building and all the infrastructure in Iowa were ruined?

The impact on the country of Haiti is similar to a disaster hitting every single state including every single resident of every state on our Eastern coast. Would the United States ever be the same if the entire Eastern United States were struck by a destructive event of the magnitude of the Haitian earthquake? Port-au-Prince contains basically one third of the population of the country. So, if a natural disaster struck the United States and knocked down buildings in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida that would be similar to the disaster that struck Haiti. From the tip of Miami to Edmundston, Maine all the way over to Buffalo and the heart of Appalachia in Virginia would all need rebuilding. From the panhandle of Florida to the Lake Champlain coast in Vermont, would all need new roads, sewers, and school buildings to be similar to the scale of the issues in Haiti. For the United States to see the same number of fatalities as they have experienced in Haiti would be for every single person in South Carolina or Colorado dying in a natural disaster.

We hope that you will support the Unicef Haitian Fund, American Red Cross, MercyCorps, Oxfam America, AmeriCares, Doctors without Borders, or the International Medical Corps in this time of extreme need.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

NCH Director Named Change Maker

Photo From the blog under End Homelessness: Changemaker

Donovan Featured on Best Homeless Blog in Country

He only was hired four and a half months ago, and he has already become a Changemaker. Neil Donovan, new Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless has been named by the folks at as a leading voice for social justice in America. Full disclosure: I am on the executive committee of the National Coalition, so I am one of the people who hired Mr. Donovan. There is no truth to the rumor that our only goal was to pick someone with the same name as the new HUD Secretary. While he is new to NCH, he has many years of experience with the National Alliance to End Homelesssness and he did some work on Rural homelessness in Ohio. Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize in his first year, and Neil Donovan is named Changemaker in his first year of office. Both awards are well deserved for a lifetime of work and the promise of moving a huge agenda forward. Neil is a deep thinker and has worked closely with homeless people in Boston as his anti-poverty career began. This job at NCH is tough for anyone, because of the long history of the organization with basically 18 strong personalities who are all leaders in their states or local communities serving on this one board. So far, Neil has done a good job in balancing the agendas of civil rights, economic justice, housing and health care among all these passionate board members.

Donovan is able to bring some movement forward out of the chaos of "Blueprints for Roadmaps and Plans to End Solutions..." floating around the country. Part of the dirty secret with being a director of a non-profit is that you have to figure out how to keep your work on the big picture when in fact you are swimming in an ocean of bureaucracy and red tape. So far, Neil has kept all the plates spinning while trying to nudge his way onto the giant national stage.

For those who worry that one of the founders of homeless advocacy and one of the giants in community organizing has been put on a shelf in the dark basement of the National Coalition's office, you can rest easy at night. Michael Stoops went back to his true passions of community organizing and pushing for civil rights for those experiencing homelessness as an employee at NCH. Yes, Michael's office is in the basement of NCH, but that was his choice from a couple of years back. No one sent him to the basement. Besides great ideas do come out of the basement so stop making fun of basements. I believe that the internet was created in Al Gore's basement and the Beatles were created in Stuart Sutcliffe's basement.

Continued success to Neil Donovan of NCH.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Neighborhood Stabilization Announced Today

HUD Announces Funds for Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Crisis

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that HUD is awarding $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to states, local governments and non-profit housing developers, under HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), to spur economic development in hard-hit communities and create jobs. Nearly 60 grantees are receiving awards.

HUD has released the list of states, local governments and nonprofits that have been awarded Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) grants. Unlike the original NSP program, NSP2 funds were awarded by competition to states, local governments, nonprofits, and consortia of nonprofits, which were permitted to submit proposals in partnership with for-profit entities. The states receiving the largest allocations of NSP2 funds include California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Additionally, four national applicants received NSP2 awards.

Cuyahoga County will receive $40.84 million in NSP2 funds. The City of Cleveland, the Foreclosure Task Force, County Land Bank and CMHA will work to get these funds out onto the streets quickly. At least one quarter of the funds must serve low income individuals.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

WCPN Picks Up Homeless Portrait Story

Lakeside Shelter Featured on Radio

The photo display by NEOCH Board member, Lydia Bailey opened on snowy Friday in Cleveland. It was a very nice show with narratives about the men featured in the photography. It is a big step forward in to dispel some of the myths.

On Monday morning, WCPN featured Mike Sering of LMM and Lydia Bailey for an interview about the project. It is a very good overview of the project and had some good stories about the men in the shelter giving back to the community. Mike mentioned a group of men who are repairing the school bus and even working to transport the men to the current overflow every night.

The show is available to view every day at CSU at the Levin College through March 31, 2010. Check it out.

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Rules for Receiving Identification

New BMV Rule Places Additional Burdens on Homeless

COHHIO is very concerned about a new rule adopted by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in September that places an undue and unfair burden on Ohio’s homeless population. The rule requires proof of residency to qualify for a driver’s license or state ID, effectively denying people who are homeless the ability to obtain this essential form of identification.

COHHIO has joined six other agencies in requesting that the acting registrar of motor vehicles issue a directive approving a signed, witnessed statement from an Ohioan without a residence as a genuine and reliable document under Administrative Code 4501:1-21 (H) (24); and that the BMV-approved statement form be issued to all BMV locations in order to be completed on site.
Under the new BMV rule, people who are living in cars, on abandoned property, on the streets, temporarily with friends or family, or in other nontraditional residency venues are prevented from obtaining the identification necessary to improve their lives. Because state photo IDs are required for employment, housing, health care services and registration for voting in person, homeless people are prevented from meeting their basic human needs.

The ability to produce identification is often the final step into subsidized housing, to a good paying job, or into a government office to clear up a problem with access to public benefits. By making it more difficult to obtain identification, the BMV is often extending the stay by Ohio residents at a shelter or on the streets and forcing communities to pay the additional costs associated with homelessness.

We feel that as currently written, this new residency rule places an additional and formidable burden on our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Look for updates in future issues of Breaking Ground (COHHIO's newsletter).

Editor's Note: This article appeared in the COHHIO newsletter today. NEOCH fully supports this advocacy effort, and has been active along with the Cleveland ID Collaborative to get the State of Ohio to see how harmful these new rules are toward homeless people. We will keep you up to date.

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cleveland Media Forgot About Homelessness in 2010

Top 10 Homeless Stories Missed by the Cleveland Media in 2009

There were so many stories in the homeless community from 2009, and below are the top 1o that were missed by the local media. I was thinking back to 20 years ago and how many options there were to get stories into the media. Every radio station had at least one reporter and there were magazines that featured news, and we had weekly newspapers from all over the community. Now there are blogs but very few feature general news stories that are not opinion driven.

Here are the stories that were missed in 2009:
1. Despicable Process for Distributing Stimulus Dollars. President Obama helped get $1.5 billion out to the states and communities for preventing homelessness. Cuyahoga County received $14 million. There was one story in the Plain Dealer that focused entirely on a NEOCH vs. the County dispute over these funds. The story was much bigger and was the prime example for why voters distrust County government. The City let down their constituency by just giving their $10 million from the Stimulus over to the troubled Cuyahoga County. A good plan was developed by homeless people, service providers and advocates which was set aside by the County and for some inexplicable reason a different plan was funded. So far in the first 2 months only 10 people were given housing help. So much for stimulating the local economy.

2. Homeless Memorial Day 2009. We read the names of 45 people who passed away over on the first state designated homeless memorial day. This was the 23rd time we have presented the homeless memorial day, and the first time no media showed up to cover the event (except the Grapevine).

3. Homeless Stand Down 2009. Again, an important event with over 2,000 homeless people in attendance. This year no media showed up to cover this huge social service fair. We had entertainment, 60 health care/social service groups, and hundreds of volunteers. No television, no radio news reporters, and no special interest coverage.

4. Huntington Bank Help with North Point Transitional. Introduced in late 2008 and early 2009 was a new effort to get homeless people to start using the banking system. There are so many poor people excluded from the banking system, which manifests itself in the proliferation of payday lenders. Huntington Bank has stepped forward to help guys who are trying to rebuild their lives with support in getting a bank account. A good program that has received no publicity.

5. County Publishes Blueprint for Change. As part of the stimulus dollars and the new focus on prevention efforts, the County Office of Homeless Services published a new strategy for how to end homelessness on July 1, 2009. This document got ZERO coverage in the media, and is a fairly radical departure from what was done in the past. The document had zero input from homeless people and very little input from homeless shelter providers. It was also unfortunate that it came out one and half months after all the groups submitted proposals for how to use the prevention dollars. Maybe it is better that this got no coverage, so that it will be easier for this document to quietly fade away.

6. Shelters Overflowing even in the summer. The New York Times, Washington Post and other papers did stories about the overflowing shelters in their cities due to budget cuts and the instability in the housing sector. There was a brief mention on WCPN, but for the most part the story did not get any coverage in Cleveland.

7. Many work while living in the shelters. This is on the list every year, but it is a good story that never gets enough attention. The mythology is that most people living in a shelter or on the streets are lazy. No one ever does a story about how these guys get up at 4 a.m. to try to get sent out to work at the Temp. company. No media tries to dispel some of these horrible myths about homelessness in America.

8. Failures of the Alcohol and Drug System and its impact on the Imperial Ave. murders. It was said over and over that most of the women killed on Imperial Ave. were substance abusers, but I never saw one story breaking this down. What happened to the alcohol and drug addiction system and the safety net that we pay for as tax payers? Where was the breakdown? Did these women try to get help? Why do we base most of our treatment on outpatient assistance? Why does the alcohol and drug system not follow people long term and why don't they help with housing? How does this system work or how does this system fail poor people? There was such a wealth of stories about the failures of government to protects its citizens from this predator that just never got any coverage.

9. Tough Decisions Made By the Shelters in this Bad Economy. There were a number of stories this past year about the problems of suburban hunger and the growing issues with pantries. I never saw similar stories about the struggles within the shelter community. Cleveland has seen a loss of six shelters in the last six years, and none of the shelters have seen a cost of living increase from government. They should all be given metals for the ability to keep costs under control in the face of flat funding from the government. Despite the rumors, no shelters gets paid based on the number of people entering the building. All the shelters get a set yearly budget and have to figure out how to make that work.

10. The Ability of Social Service Providers to keep the Outdoor Homeless Numbers Down. Over the last three years, despite increases in the number of people sleeping in shelters, the numbers sleeping outside in the downtown area have remained steady. This is a testament to the social service outreach units that go outside every night to build relationships with those who are resistant to shelter. The Volunteers of America, Care Alliance, Veterans Administration, Mental Health Services, Salvation Army, and John Carroll's Labre Project all provide a valuable resource to Cleveland. The media did not do any stories about these wonderful people who earn the trust of those disenfranchised from government and "the system" and in fact save many lives.


Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.