Friday, October 08, 2010

Homeless Congress Asks for County Help

Poor People's March in Downtown Cleveland in 2008

County Candidates to Meet with Homeless and Congress Asks for Support for Regulating the Homeless Shelters

After two frustrating years attempting to work with the City of Cleveland to get a minimum standards bill passed, the Homeless Congress is now asking Cuyahoga County candidates to support the development of a shelter standards bill for Cuyahoga County. In an absolute violation of the state standard, the County placed 100 women per night in a shelter that only had one working shower. The Congress is asking for local regulations that will be enforced by some office within the County with an ability for homeless people to file a grievance if the shelter is not performing. All of the publicly funded shelters are in the City of Cleveland, but the County takes the lead in the providing the funding for the shelters.

The Homeless Congress has asked every candidate running for the new Cuyahoga County Council and County Executive to support the adoption of some form of local shelter regulation that every publicly funded shelter will have to follow. We have also invited the candidates for the two downtown districts (7 and 3) to attend the Homeless Congress meeting. District 7 candidate Phyllis Crespo attended the September meeting and Yvonne Conwell and Jeff Kipp both candidates from District 7 will attend the October 14, 2010 Homeless Congress meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the Cosgrove Center to talk directly to homeless people.

The candidates who have indicated support for the Shelter Standards Bill include:

  • David Ellison and Ken Lanci candidates for County Executive
  • Ryan McGilvray candidate for District 1 County Council member
  • Dale Miller candidate for District 2 County Council member
  • Patty Gascoyne and Alan Crossman candidates for District 3 County Council members
  • Ann Marie Donegan candidate for District 5 County Council member
  • Phyllis Crespo and Yvonne Conwell candidates for District 7 County Council members
  • Laverne Jones Gore and C. Ellen Connally candidated for District 9 County Council members
  • Kathryn Gambatese candidate for District 11 County Council member


The Homeless Congress began in July 2006 with two representatives from each shelter and six from the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter coming together to put forward an advocacy agenda that serves the needs of those experiencing homelessness. The Congress meets with elected officials, social service providers and bureaucrats who hold the power of the pursestring. The Congress has worked on shelter standards, a hate crimes bill, a foreclosure recovery plan, and a recommendations for housing and jobs for homeless people. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless organizes the conference and takes notes and sets up the meeting, but the decisions are made by the members of the Congress. They meet on the second floor of the Cosgrove Center once per month in the gymnasium (enter through the back in the cafeteria).

Update 10/14/2010: Chuck Germana candidate for District 4 agreed to support the shelter regulations.

Brian Davis
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