Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Cleveland Heights Gives Away Their Homeless Dollars

Cleveland Heights Can't Find Enough People In Danger of Homelessness

From the minutes posted on the Cleveland Heights Website for City Council Meeting April 20, 2011:

"Previously, council authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Cuyahoga County for expenditure of funds received by the City from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. The agreement actually provided for the County to administer Six Hundred Ninety Nine Thousand Eight Hundred Ninety Four Dollars ($699,894.00) in funding that was to go to Homeless Prevention services to qualified Cleveland Heights residents. During the course of administering the program we expended less money than we expected to and there has not been enough demand to use all of those funds just for Cleveland Heights residents. Although I will say we have spent over $136,000.00 that have helped 67 Cleveland Heights households and 200 persons. It has been a good expenditure of money, we are just not able to spend this all for Cleveland Heights residents by the deadlines imposed by the program. We believe it is in the best interest to enter into a revision of this agreement.

Section 1 of this resolution authorizes the City Manager to amend the agreement with Cuyahoga County to allow the County to administer the remainder of the funds by giving priority to Cleveland Heights residents but also provide Homeless Prevention services to eligible persons in portions of Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland Heights. We are providing a minimum of 20% of the remaining funds be utilized for Cleveland Heights residents. I offer Resolution No. 40-2011(PD) for passage tonight.”

Mayor Kelley accepted Resolution No. 40-2011(PD).
Roll Call: Ayes: Montlack, Stephens, Tumeo, Wilcox, Caplan, Kelley
Nays: None
Resolution passed.
This is incredibly sad that with 500 evictions a year in the Cleveland Hts. municipal court, they could not figure out a way to distribute the funds to keep people from leaving the City. Anyone that has faced or will face eviction between November 2009 and July 2012 living in Cleveland Hts, should be angry that the City could not figure out a way to keep this money within their borders. City officials requested these funds so what was the plan for distributing the funds? It is a shame that Cleveland Hts. does not have an infrastructure like Lakewood Service Center to help prevent homelessness. These funds could help with rental assistance. They could pay back rent to avoid eviction, and help with the rent during a temporary setback with income to support housing.

NEOCH tried to reach out to the City and the Mayor last year to offer our help to get these funds to residents of Cleveland Hts. and we were ignored. Not enough people knew that these funds were available, and those who did find out had a hard time with the bureaucracy that was constructed to get the assistance. The City of Lakewood was able to figure out how to use their funds, so why couldn't Cleveland Hts set up a process? We proposed a system that would meet people at the court house door, and inform them that there was help available. It is unfortunate that we could not work with Cleveland Hts officials to keep people from being evicted within the city.

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

No comments: