Friday, April 29, 2011

Homeless Support Collective Bargaining

May 6: Petition Drive to Allow Citizens to Vote on the Anti Collective Bargaining Law

People experiencing homelessness realize the value unions have in our society to protect wages so that workers who put a full day of labor into a job can afford a place to live that evening. There is a significant attack on the rights of workers to bargain collectively sweeping the country. People who are homeless and all lower income workers are concerned about these attempts to undermine unions in Ohio and the United States. On May 6, volunteers, people who are homeless and advocates will fan out throughout the state to gather petition signatures in order to get the recently passed Senate Bill 5 on the ballot in November. Homeless Coalitions in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus will deploy volunteers to local area shelters to gather signatures. The vendors for the three street newspapers in the three cities will be joining many others in collecting enough signatures to authorize a statewide ballot measure to decide the fate of collective bargaining for public employees in November.

Many people who are homeless are laid off members of a union, and most people who are homeless have a goal of one day working in a workplace protected by a union. “We all remember the words of President Ronald Reagan, ‘The [brave workers in Poland] remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost,’ and have come together to try to protect the rights of workers to organize in Ohio,” said Cleveland Homeless Coalition director Brian Davis. Vendors for the Cincinnati Streetvibes, Columbus Street Speech, and Cleveland Street Chronicle will gather petition signatures in the Downtowns of the three major cities in Ohio. Josh Spring, Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless director said, “We all believe that union organizing and the ability to sit down with an employer on an equal footing is a social justice issue, and must be protected in Ohio.”

Contrary to popular belief most people who are homeless do vote and are registered to vote. In fact, the Cleveland and Columbus Coalitions settled a lawsuit in 2010 with the State of Ohio over access to the ballot on Election Day for homeless people without identification. During the day of action, advocates and volunteers will be registering people who are homeless to vote. Advocates statewide need 231,000 legitimate signatures before the end of June 2011 to get the initiative on the November ballot, and allow voters to decide on the law before it becomes law.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Homeless Poetry Fundraiser

LMM Featuring the Work of Homeless Poets

From our Friends over at Cool Cleveland:
Voices of Homelessness
An evening of music + food to benefit the Poetry Book Project

This Sat 4/30 @ the Harp will be a night of music, food and spoken word poetry to support the Poetry Book Project, a collection of poetry written by the men of the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Homeless Shelter.

For a $25 donation, ($20 if you pay in advance online) you will enjoy an appetizer buffet, live music by Cats on Holiday, drink specials, a free raffle, and be recognized in the published poetry book as a supporter.

All proceeds from the party will go towards the publishing costs of a collection of poetry written by the men of the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Homeless Shelter. The book will be published this summer, and there will be several book signings/poetry readings around town to celebrate its publication.

If you can not attend the event but would still like to support the cause, you may make a donation by calling 216.658.7204, or by going online to

The 2100 Lakeside Men’s Homeless Shelter and the Poetry Book Project are programs of the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. Cats on Holiday will do a stellar job playing their unique blend of Cajun rock and swamp boogie music.

Be sure to attend Voices of Homelessness at 8PM on Sat 4/30 @ the Harp, 4408 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland. For more info visit

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Derelict Paradise Book Released

A History of Homelessness in Cleveland

Author and Cleveland activist Daniel Kerr is out with his book on the history of homelessness in Cleveland.

From the University of Massachusetts press release:
"Seeking answers to the question, “Who benefits from homelessness?” this book takes the reader on a sweeping tour of Cleveland’s history from the late nineteenth century through the early twenty-first. Daniel Kerr shows that homelessness has deep roots in the shifting ground of urban labor markets, social policy, downtown development, the criminal justice system, and corporate power. Rather than being attributable to the illnesses and inadequacies of the unhoused themselves, it is a product of both structural and political dynamics shaping the city. Kerr locates the origins of today’s shelter system in the era that followed the massive railroad rebellions of 1877. From that period through the Great Depression, business and political leaders sought to transform downtown Cleveland their own advantage. As they focused on bringing business travelers and tourists to the city and beckoned upper-income residents to return to its center, they demolished two downtown working-class neighborhoods and institutionalized a shelter system to contain and control the unhoused and unemployed. The precedents from this period informed the strategies of the post–World War II urban renewal era as the “new urbanism” of the late twentieth century. The efforts of the city’s elites have not gone uncontested. Kerr documents a rich history of opposition by people at the margins whose organized resistance and everyday survival strategies have undermined the grand plans crafted by the powerful and transformed the institutions designed to constrain the lives of the homeless."

Kerr is a founder of the temporary labor company in Cleveland as well as Food Not Bombs. Kerr did a ton of work organizing day laborers in Cleveland, and trying to protect them from exploitation. He was extremely helpful in the protests of the late 1990s to overturn the anti-homeless laws enacted by Mayor Michael White. Kerr spent years looking at homelessness in Cleveland and especially the tension between public and private sector forces to harness the displaced workers in our community. We will have more details on the book on this site and in the next Street Newspaper.

TO ORDER: Please use our toll-free number when placing or inquiring about orders: 1-800-537-5487. This number is available for customers in the U.S. and Canada only. Call Monday through Friday, 8:30–5:00 Eastern time. You may also order by:
going to the University of Massachusetts WEBSITE. ISBN 978-1-55849-849-5.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

New Street Chronicle is on the Streets

Just in Time for Passover and Easter...

Because of the publicity over the publication of the new paper in December brought in a couple of hundred dollars in donations and a printer stepping forward to save us a couple of hundred dollars, we were able to publish a second edition of the Cleveland Street Chronicle. Thanks PM Graphics out of Streetsboro for their deal on printing. Thanks also to Brent for all his help with the layout. The paper look has improved dramatically over the last few years. Vendor Raymond is on the front cover, and is only charging $1 extra for an autographed copy of the paper. It is on the streets right now just in time for the holidays. Support your friendly local vendor at the West Side Market or Downtown by purchasing a paper. They are all badged with a green badge that has their name in bold and most have a picture on the badge.

This edition features a number of profiles of homeless people, and a few pieces of poetry by people who have experienced homelessness. We also have a few pieces of Daniel Thompson's poetry that we had never published before. There are a bunch of statistics on homelessness as well as stats about veterans experiencing homelessness. Seven of the current vendors submitted work that was published in the paper. Plus there are some nice photos from the 2011 Homeless Stand Down. Pick your copy up today.

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Homeless Support Collective Bargaining in Ohio

May 6, 2011 Homeless will Collect Petition Signatures

Many homeless individuals were laid off union workers or certainly want to be part of a union in the near future. We all realize that union membership means social justice in the work place. Many are concerned about attack on collective bargaining taking place in Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Indiana. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless along with the Coalitions in Cincinnati and Columbus are proclaiming Friday May 6, 2011 as "Homeless Support Collective Bargaining Day in Ohio." Volunteers and advocates will work on May 6 to get Senate Bill 5 legislation on the November 2011 ballot by collecting petition signatures.

Vendors at the three street newspapers (Cleveland Street Chronicle, Cincinnati Street Sense, and Columbus Street Speech) will be collecting signatures for part of the day. We will also have volunteers go into the area shelters to gather signatures to overturn SB 5. Contrary to popular belief most people experiencing homelessness are registered to vote and a higher percentage then the rest of the population actually do vote. Homeless people are well educated on current events and are concerned about this attack on public employees. They have a special relationship with EMS workers, social workers at the Department of Human Services, Community College professors, and continuing education teachers who will all be impacted by these new rules. There is a big concern that this is only the beginning of a broader attack on unions in the state.

If you would like to volunteer on Friday May 6, please call the office at 216/432-0540 in Cleveland to help collect petition signatures. You will go out in pairs to the shelters and drop in centers to collect signatures. We need your help to protect collective bargaining in Ohio.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Death in the Homeless Community

Two Rough Stories for the Homeless Population

This weekend we heard two stories which only strengthen our resolve to continue our work to end homelessness in America as soon as possible. The first is the death within the shelter at 2100 Lakeside. A man we will call "Bobbie" had a seizure during dinner and never regained consciousness. He was transported to the hospital, but emergency staff could not revive him. This is nothing to do with the care he received in the shelter or a result of negligence, but it is none the less sad that a guy took his last breath in the crowded loneliness of a shelter. LMM's 2100 Lakeside shelter in fact has better access to health care professionals than most any other facility in the city with Care Alliance and the Cleveland Clinic operating medical clinics nearly every day at the shelter. Bobbie had long standing health complications and passed away at the facility without family or loved ones around him.

The other story was the bizarre tale of the Joseph Kopp being found buried in a backyard in Seven Hills. Kopp had been homeless and estranged from his family for five years. Kopp seemed to be living in a garage in Seven Hills, and many media outlets have said that the owner of the house wanted Kopp to move out and an argument broke out. Kopp's body was found near the house where he was allegedly residing. Police have arrested Frank Dienes and have stated that they are still investigating Charlya Dienes. It is dangerous being homeless. Sleeping in a large building with 300 people or sleeping outside without the safety of a locked door can have an negative effect on a person's health. A homeless person is constantly on edge and sleeping with "one eye open." There is sleep deprivation problems and the fear of being attacked. This is only going to put a new element of fear into the lives of homeless people. Will people be more likely to be fearful of accepting help from Good Samaritans? There are so many people sleeping at the shelter who are picked up by suburbanites from the shelters or downtown to do casual yard work or painting or other light work around houses. After this story, how many of the homeless population will be weary or will refuse to get in a strange car for work or an offer of housing?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Drumplay Supports the Cleveland Street Paper

Marking Daniel Thompson's Legacy

The band Drumplay is marking Daniel Thompson's 76th anniversary of his birth at the Algebra Tea House (on Murray Hill in Little Italy) on April 21. Daniel was a long time contributor to the Homeless Grapevine and was known as the Bread Man to homeless people who slept downtown. Daniel was a founding member of Drumplay from 1992 until his death. The band is trying to raise enough money at their concerts to print an upcoming issue of the Street Chronicle to honor Daniel. The newest issue will be published sometime this week.

Thanks to the following members of Drumplay who are donating their time at these events during April (National Poetry Month):

Matt Horwich, Rick Kodramaz, Tim Lane, Al Moses, James Onysko + Kip Volans.

Next shows include:

April 21 Algebra Tea House @ 7:00 p.m. Little Italy in Cleveland (celebrating the release of the "Big Book of Daniel")

April 23 Sandy Chanty @ 8:00 p.m. Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio (CD "Infinity" Release Party)

April 30 Perry Public Library @ 1:00 p.m Perry, Ohio (special program for children)

Word has it that Ernie Krivda will be joining us on Thursday, April 21.

Also, all proceeds from sales of Drumplay discs (past + present) will go to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless - specifically designated to go to the Cleveland Street Chronicle (the new name of the Homeless Grapevine). We continue Daniel's work in that regard.

The Big Book of Daniel is a new comprehensive collection of Daniel's poetry that Bottom Dog Press is publishing, and will be available at Mac's Backs Paperbacks in Coventry.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Budget Compromise Hits Poor People

Photo by Larry Whitted
Affordable Housing and Homeless Will Face Cuts in FY 2011 budget

The details of the compromise reached last Friday night were released on Tuesday. It is striking how disproportionate the cuts are on the low income households. There were no cuts to tax breaks that are enjoyed largely by the middle and upper income folks. There is no support for generating additional revenue. The burden will fall on vulnerable populations who are facing foreclosure, those living in public housing, and the elderly or disabled who may be seeking affordable housing.

The House and Senate To Vote Tomorrow and Friday. Here is the Release and summary from the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

On Thursday, April 14, the House and Senate will vote on the FY11 appropriations “deal” that was struck late last Friday between the White House and House Republicans to prevent a government shutdown. They agreed to $38.5 billion in spending cuts.

On Tuesday April 12, the details of the deal became public. They include deep cuts to many HUD and rural housing programs, as well as other safety net programs. Specific cuts are listed below. And all agencies will be required to take an additional .2% cut across the board.

The total cuts to HUD will be 6.4% below HUD’s FY10 budget.

If you do not agree with these cuts, NLIHC invites you to please contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY and urge them to vote against the budget deal. Tell them to send the negotiators back to do a better job of resolving the budget standoff. What has been billed as a compromise does too much harm to low income Americans and asks too little of people with means.

While in reality it may be too late to stop this vote, it is crucial that you make your objections known to your elected representatives.

To contact your members of Congress, call the congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351. You can also go to the NLIHC website to take action.

Cuts to HUD programs include:

Tenant Based Rental Assistance (housing vouchers)

  • Admin Fees: $125 million cut
  • FUP: $15 million cut (No funding)
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers: $25 million cut
  • Tenant Protection vouchers: $10 million cut

Public Housing Operation Fund (locally CMHA) -$149 million cut

HOPE IV (Public Housing renovation and replacement fund)-$100 million cut

Public Housing Capital Fund (public housing maintenance and building fund)-$456 million cut

Native American Housing Block Grants -$50 million cut

Community Development Fund -(funds city investment in housing, eviction help, safety, and poverty reduction) $942 million (CDBG reduced by $643 million)

HOME Investment Partnerships (City, County and State funding to build housing)-$215 million cut

Lead Hazard Reduction (Protection for low income residents from lead paint hazards)-$20 million cut

Section 202 -(Affordable housing largely for seniors) $425 million cut

Section 811 -(affordable housing largely for the disabled) $115 million cut

Housing Counseling Assistance -(Pays for advocates to assist those facing foreclosure) $88 million cut (No funding)

Brownfield Redevelopment -(Cleaning up abandoned industrial sites) $18 million cut (No funding)

Energy Innovation Fund -$50 million cut (No funding)

Cuts USDA housing programs include:

Rental Assistance Program -$24 million cut

Rural Housing Insurance Fund -$151 million cut

Other safety net cuts

LIHEAP (Heating assistance for lower income households) -$390 million cut

WIC -(Women's Infant and Children food program) $504 million cut

Community Health Centers (Care Alliance and Neighborhood Family Practices locally) -$600 million cut

Brian Davis

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Advocate Explains the State Budget

Bill Faith Reports to CAHA

Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio attended the April Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance to give advocates and housing developers an update on the thinking down around housing and poverty issues in Columbus. Faith is the leading lobbyist for housing programs and maintaining state support for anti-poverty programs in Ohio.

Faith talked a great deal about the change in tone and atmosphere since November and the election of John Kasich as governor. He talked about the strange day two days after the election when the Governor elect gathered 150 lobbyists and told them that they needed to get on the bus or be run over by it. Kasich told those gathered that two presidents (Clinton and Obama) and millions of dollars could not stop him so what makes these lobbyist feel that they could stop him? It seemed as though the new Governor is unwilling to tolerate dissension or differing opinions.

Faith described in detail many of the decisions that were made down in Columbus to generate the new budget. Kasich could have closed $3.7 billion in tax loopholes to close the budget deficit, but decided against this path. Faith specifically mentioned the corporate jet tax break that could have been closed, but was left intact. There were sales tax loopholes that would have closed $4.8 billion, but that was left in place. The promises made to communities when business taxes were changed in 2005 are no longer relevant, which hurts local government. There are many structural problems within the budget that push a huge burden onto the local communities. The new Governor was opposed to any change on the revenue side of the balance sheet, and focused entirely on the expense side.

Faith mentioned the three biggest losers in the upcoming budget:
  1. Local and County governments including libraries.
  2. K-12 education throughout the state are big losers.
  3. And Higher education takes a big hit.
Others that would be hurt by passage of the Kasich budget include the community health centers, the Consumer’s Council, and nursing homes. One of the surprising aspects of Faith’s presentation is that other health and human services programs are not harmed as badly as was anticipated in the budget. Kasich made a commitment not harm the most vulnerable, and so homeless, mentally ill, developmentally disabled are not harmed in the budget anymore than the cuts taken by every organization across the board. How young children and the huge cut to public education are not considered a vulnerable population was not explained.

There was a lot of discussion about the privatizing of the Department of Development. It looks at this point that the economic development activities will be pulled out of the department and transferred to the private JobsOhio agency. The existing agency will then be changed to the Department of Community Development and will continue to administer block grant funds, heating assistance, weatherization, the community action funding, the housing trust fund, and the shelter grant. Faith discussed the threats to the State Housing Trust fund including the unwillingness by some County recorders to send the tax dollars collected onto the state to distribute.

Faith touched briefly on the upcoming HUD budget. Since the 2011 budget had not been finalized and the House had not introduced a budget framework for 2012, there was very little information available. One positive coming out of the federal government was the new funding and attention being paid to housing within the health care community. Faith talked about waivers being sought with the Medicare program to pay for housing. It is increasingly clear that a person’s health care suffers if they do not have a stable place to live, and communities around the country are beginning to factor housing into health care plans.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Peace Advocates Look at Budget Priorities

Forum at Trinity Cathedral April 16, 2011

Peace Action and the IRTF are holding a forum on budget priorities over the next year at Trinity Cathedral on April 16, 2011. Here is a link to sign up for the event
. The group is looking at the cost of war, incarceration while the country is facing a serious crisis in housing. Here is a statement from the committee organizing the event:

“We call people from all walks of life to come together in “a process to align and strengthen our communities, weaving ourselves into a movement that transcends oppression and opposition, increasing our collective power and resilience” (from the US Social Forum held in Detroit, June 2010).We recognize that all people are leaders. Progress and peace require inclusion of all people. We want to make special effort to hear the voices of those who are often ignored. We want to create a safe space for dialogue where everyone’s voice is heard—a dialogue that continues beyond this forum. We strive to embrace our commonalities and not focus on our differences. We invite each other to transcend our group affiliations and mindsets to make connections with everyone. We want to engage in a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect to build rapport and trust with one another.”

Keynote speaker is Bill Fletcher
Bill Fletcher is currently an editorial board member and columnist for and a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He was the former Vice President for International Trade Union Development Programs for the AFL-CIO, and also served as Assistant to the President of that organization. In addition, Mr. Fletcher is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and a founder of the Black Radical Congress.

We hope that you can make it. Please pre-register for the event using the Peace Action website or the IRTF site.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Calling Advocates in Cleveland Heights

Photo image by Pleasure Simmons from the Grapevine photo project of 2007

Advocacy Alert: Cleveland Hts. Spend Your Stimulus Money to Prevent Homelessness!!!

Overview of the Problem: In 2009, Cleveland Hts. received $715,000 to help prevent homelessness as part of the federal stimulus program. The city pooled their resources with Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland--$13 million dollars to serve any low income in the county facing eviction. Last year, there were approximately 500 people who faced eviction at the Cleveland Hts. Municipal Court. By January 2011 (16 months after receiving the funding), Cleveland Hts. has only used 12.2% of their available funding or $87,000. The Federal government says that the City must have 60% of their dollars expended by July 2011 or it is redistributed to other communities, and all money must be spent by July 2012. In July and October 2010, NEOCH contacted the Cleveland Hts. agency overseeing these funds requesting the hiring of an attorney to be stationed at the court to help with evictions and to refer those facing eviction to the Cleveland non-profit distributing the funds in order to spend down the Cleveland Hts funding. No one from Cleveland Hts. ever even acknowledged our letter.

Lakewood received over $900,000 from the federal stimulus. They kept their money within the City and partnered with Lakewood Christian Services to spend the funds. In January 2011, Lakewood had allocated 67% of their funds to help prevent evictions.

Why is Cleveland Hts. not spending their money? Why are they not responding to partner agencies in the community that offer to help?

What can you do? Ask your elected official?

Mayor Ed Kelley

Vice President Phyllis Evans

Nancy McLaughton
CDBG Program Administrator

Or attend the Cleveland Hts. City Council meeting on the First and Third Monday of the Month.

They take questions and comments from the public at the beginning of the meetings. Check out the schedule here. The Next meetings for the Committee of the Whole are:
April 11 at 5:45 p.m.
Wednesday April 20 at 5:45 p.m.
April 25 at 5:45 p.m.

If you get any reply, please let us know since no one is talking to us. Thanks to the Sun Press for publishing our letter two weeks ago, and thanks to Channel 5 WEWS taking up the issue.

UPDATE 4/7/2011: Last night, Channel 5 WEWS did a nice report on the Cleveland Hts. issue, and the reporter was able to interview a resident of Cleveland Hts. who could not get enough assistance to stay in the city. The end of the story was interesting in that it seems that the City is content to give the money over to the County to use. As a resident of Cleveland Hts., I object. The City took the money from the federal government, but has done very little to make sure that people facing eviction will be able to stay in place. Why accept the money and then give it to some other community for help when there are residents of Cleveland Hts who are facing homelessness? It does not make any sense.--Brian Davis

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Voter ID Headed to Ohio

Limiting Access to Voting 2011

After seeing all the opposition to the end of collective bargaining for public employees that was met with deaf ears, it is probably a waste of time contacting your state legislator at this point. So, this is just for information purposes. The State of Ohio is proposing another reform of voting procedures in Ohio. Remember that this was tried in 2005 and a number of organizations including NEOCH sued to protect access to the ballot by homeless people, seniors, immigrants, college students, and people interested in the smooth operation of government. So the state does not have the best track record for reforming voting laws in Ohio. This time they are going to require state identification in order to vote (Ohio HB 159). Most of the state legislators in Cuyahoga County oppose this voting identification law, because they realize that this will suppress voting.

The legislation will allow "indigent" individuals a free state ID, but they are not considering the basis of all ID is the birth certificate. The birth certificate can cost anywhere from $5 to $60 depending on the state an individual was born. So, paying for the state identification does not guarantee access to a government identification card. There is a vague definition in the potential law describing how a person establishes themselves as indigent. It is unclear how to prove the negative of not having any money. The other issue is that for many homeless people it is difficult to establish residency in the state. Ohio will only give identification to individuals who can prove residency within the state. Some homeless people who live in shelters or on the streets are turned away from receiving identification because they can’t prove they are a resident.

Advocates claim that one fourth of African Americans, 18% of those over 65 years old, and 15% of low income individuals do not have government issued identification. According to the US Census there are 830,000 people living in Ohio who fall below the poverty level. Many of those very low income individuals will have a difficult time voting because they may not have a government issued identification. Over the last major election in Ohio in 2010, there was only one documented case of voter fraud, and there were 3.9 million votes cast. The state is proposing paying for the state identification, but not the birth certificate or guaranteeing access to homeless people who may have a difficult time proving residency.

This is another horrible reform of the election law that will do nothing to protect the ballot. The only thing that this does is to discourage fragile populations from attempting to vote on election day in person. It also destroys the settlement that we had with the state last year over identification procedures for voting in person.

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Local Reports from Around the US

National Coalition for the Homeless March 2011
Local Reports

Minnesota still has General Assistance and they may reform it.

Austin, Texas
The House the Homeless group could not get the city to agree to do away with the prohibition on sitting and lying on the public sidewalk, so instead they convinced City Council to provide an exemption for disabled homeless people. White Noise was introduced at the shelter to try to reduce noise and help people sleep.

New York City
All time record shelter population—40,000 people including 16,000 children—the agencies are struggling with recession and government policy changes that also has impacted services. 113,000 spent time in the shelters in 2010 in New York City. This does not include specialized populations (people with AIDS, Domestic Violence victims, etc. or those sleeping on the streets. There are some rough budget battles ahead in New York with historic levels of need. So far, there is not any proposed cuts to supportive housing because of budget shortfalls. The time limited rent subsidy program that advocates were not big supporters of is being cut because it is a revolving door back to homelessness, but the problem is that there is nothing to replace the program proposed. The rent regulations that put a cap on the local rental market is up for expiration in June 2011. 1 million apartment units fall under this law, which translates to 2.2 million people who could see a large rent increase this year.

Puerto Rico
Hate crimes legislation passed in December to include homeless people. HUD is trying to clean up the use of federal funds by the City of San Juan including problems with CDGB. Housing task force created but did not include homeless advocates. There is a great deal of fighting by many organizations over which group will oversee supportive housing projects.

The Anti-Defamation League sponsored a forum on hate crimes for homeless people—five different police forces attended to learn more about the issue. Boston healthcare providers are trying to work on the issue of housing. They have selected the top 35 homeless users of the emergency room at Boston General, and they are working with other partners in the community to house those individuals. There is going to eventually be a showdown between the criminal justice system with the proximity housing limitations for sexually based offenders and the shelter community who are forced to housed people for long periods of time.


Homeless Management Information System problems with the state demanding social security number as a requirement for getting a bed. HUD stepped in to stop this practice. HUD is going to visit Jeffersonville next week to look at a number of issues regarding homelessness, funding, and planning activities in rural communities. Criminalization efforts on the rise throughout the state of Indiana.

Atlanta, GA

8,000 people attended a rally at the capital around the anti-immigration bill that is making its way through the legislature. Lawsuits expanded to include Emory and United Way about the effort to shut down all services downtown to homeless people. Also, there is a pending HUD complaint that alleges that there is a pattern and practice of discrimination in Atlanta. HPRP is not working and anyone who comes back into the shelters are labeled “not compliant” and are denied any services.

Stimulus money was spent and did a lot of good. Housing Trust created but put no money in it. There is a law making its way through the legislature to demand identification in order to vote.

US. Congress
There is a budget proposal being proposed which will have a cap on welfare programs—including the student loan pell grants, Earned income tax credits, Medicaid, and others. The only thing that progressives are doing is playing defense, and trying to protect programs for the poor. Probably one more continuing resolution and there will be big cuts. Big cuts expected for 2012 budget. Emergency food cut for 2011 and VASH was cuts.

South Carolina
An attempt to cut to Medicare/Medicaid within the state to eliminate all non-essential services. Asked their federal representatives to not cut CDBG because it was so important to local communities, and they got almost the same letter back from both Senator and federal representatives. They basically said, that the deficit is such a threat to America it is worse than a terrorist attack. So brace for massive human services cuts—asking business community/religious community to pick up the slack. Businesses and religious groups are already tapped out and have no more money to help out poor people. The state is also proposing an voting ID provision.

Eviction prevention dollars were cut, but advocates got it restored but were only able to get back 50% of the funding. There was an introduction of legislation to ban discrimination based on source of income/SSI/Section 8. There is also a movement to “Ban the box” provision to prevent employers from asking about criminal background and credit checks in order to get a job. Bill to propose zoning of shelters within Baltimore for any shelter with over 20 people (use regulations). There is a 10 year plan in Baltimore and the city is trying to increase the amount of money for services in order to accomplish these goals.

State hate crimes bill proposed again. $9 billion dollar cut to human services expected because of budget deficit. Eliminated community re-development agency, which was a $1 billion dollar cut. Agencies are trying to scramble to figure out what to do. Safe Ground (Sacramento tent city) is still going strong. Second Chance Act to help those coming out of jail has been used to provide additional housing/services in Sacremento. Trying to create a re-entry center. 95% of the HPRP referrals are to unsubsidized housing. 111 SRO units are sitting empty. Lots of communication among the three big tents cities in the Northwest.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Governor is cutting everything in Florida. ID is a growing problem. Problems with people storing their items without funding. HPRP is not working because the agency does not have any familiarity with working with homeless people. Lots of tension among advocates, and competition among the social service providers.

South Dakota
Government moved significantly to the right. There are budget woes at the state level with debt issues. Expected 10% cut across the board human services cut. There are big cuts to education including cuts at the local level. ID is a problem within the state. Pushing for a housing trust fund and the banks are supporting it and pushing for it to be created statewide ($10 million total, but only expected to get $1 to $2 million). Local groups are trying to creating community awareness about homelessness.


Legislature also move to the extreme right. They have proposed a nullification law that would allow the state to withdraw from federal programs like Medicaid and health care system. They are expected to have massive medicaid cuts, education cuts, senior cuts.


Hate crimes bill passed the house. There is a $1 billion dollar state budget shortfall. Got $3 million restored to the budget for Healthcare for the Homeless in 2010 through federal funding. Colorado Coalition is opening a 98 unit development and a 102 unit apartment is in development (both are supportive housing project). Kreske Foundation has helped fund a Renaissance work program as part of the supportive works program. They will have a Pizza fusion program that employs formerly homeless people. HPRP only measures status after leave the program and not six months down the line, which is a problem with the program. Prevention requests overwhelming the system may not make a difference may only forestall homelessness for a couple of months.


HPRP is working well in the state and they are using it effectively for the mostly rural state.


Massive state budget cuts coming. In order to fund Homeless and Prevention at the same level they need a fee recordation fee increase. Landlords are supporting it the increase because it can help people stay in their apartments. Housing Trust fund unlikely to be funded—50% cut to the program because of the budget deficit. $100 million last year—typically only help other tax credits funded. Hate crimes measure introduced, but unlikely to get out of a committee. State is now helping out with funding the tent city in Seattle.

Brian Davis
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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Rally on Tuesday in Columbus

"Don't Make Homelessness Worse in Ohio" Rally!!!

NEOCH, ABLE and other advocacy organizations in the community will be attending a rally down in Columbus organized by One Ohio Now. Buses are leaving from Merrick House in Tremont at 7:30 a.m. for the rally, but anyone can carpool down to show support for a sensible budget for the State of Ohio. The budget was announced on March 15, and we still are having a difficult time figuring out how individual program are going to be impacted by the cuts. So, for example, we do not know how much money will go to the Ohio Housing Trust fund in the much larger Department of Development budget. We know that the State will close the mental health facility behind MetroHealth and move it to Summit County. We know that the planned state hospital will not be built in Cleveland, but we do not know if there will be money to serve new patients in Cuyahoga County. We know that the Cleveland and suburban schools will take a hit, and be forced to layoff personnel which could lead to future homelessness.

We know that city and county funding will decrease by 33%, but we do not know if that will mean a cut to the shelters or outreach teams. There is a $100 million proposed cut to the human services budget, but it is difficult to tell if that will prevent access to child care, child support enforcement, or medical care. It is likely that public colleges and universities will be more expensive. Higher education is often the ticket out of poverty. Many advocates will be going down to Columbus to the noon rally and to meet with their legislators. So get on the bus down to Columbus before the Kasich bus runs you over. Call Merrick House to see if there is still space available: Brian Larson at 216.771.5077 ext 135

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