Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting List Info Delayed

CMHA Housing Voucher List Will Not Be Released until November

For those who have been waiting to see if they won the housing choice voucher lottery, you are going to have to wait another few weeks.  There were 65,000 people applied, which is a 20,000 person increase from 2005-2006 lottery.  The company running the lottery and CMHA are cleaning up from the applications, and announced that they will delay the drawing until mid November.  The lottery was supposed to be announced last week.  There will be 10,000 names drawn, and so the applicant has a 1 in 6 chance of winning the lottery.  Then they just have to wait a couple of years for their number to come up, and their homelessness will come to an end.  This huge demand for a voucher shows the need for housing locally, and the self declared housing emergency we are experiencing.  With this huge demand for help, what is happening in Washington DC?  Right now all the talk is cuts to housing, static funding of homelessness, and severe cuts to community development block grant funding.  It is going to be a rough couple of years.

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Still Time to Donate

Over 30 local Businesses Have Donated Items to the 2011 Auction

The Hand Up Gala opening event took place Friday October 21, 2011 at lunch time.  You may have seen the event featured on WEWS Channel 5.  Above are the two chefs from the Renaissance Hotel, Mark Lyons (left) and  John Aldewereld who prepared a fantastic meal of spinach quiche, stuffed chicken with roasted garlic, rice with sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, and dutch apple pie.  We were able to serve 215 hungry individuals, and we want to thank City Councilperson Mamie Mitchell and Laurie and Morris from Congressman Kucinich's office for helping.  Board members and staff of Catholic Charities as well as the NEOCH all helped to serve and seat people.  There will be more pictures on our website soon. 

We are not doing the drawing for this event until November 7, and so you have a couple of weeks to get your donation in to participate in the auction.  You can donate online at or by sending in a donation of $45 to NEOCH indicating the Hand Up Gala in the memo line.  For every $45 donated, we will enter your name into the auction to win some of the great prizes.  Just to name a few of the auction items:  tickets to Hale Farm, Lake Erie Captains and Akron Aeros tickets, a gift basket from Trader Joes and $150 gift certificate to the Pine Lakes Lodge Bed and Breakfast.  Get your donation in now to help NEOCH with our winter blanket drive!!!

Thanks to the committee who put this together including Holly, Larry, Luke, Dorothy, Nicole, Dominica, Michelle and Colleen. 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NY Times Story on Cleveland Suburbs

Not News But National Recognition

The New York Times today posted a story about the huge increase in suburban poverty.  This is not news for readers of this blog or those familiar with homelessness in Cleveland.  We have reported that 24% of the people utilizing the shelters in Cleveland had their last address outside of the City borders.  A large number of those with a last address outside of Cleveland are not from Cuyahoga County.  There are very few services available to those struggling with poverty in Lake, Medina, Geauga, and Portage Counties.  What does a person do if they lose their housing in these surrounding communities?  They have to figure out a way to Lorain, Summitt or Cuyahoga Counties to find help.  A single male without a job has very few options in most of the counties surrounding Cuyahoga or even the cities surrounding Cleveland.

The New York Times story focused on cities such as Warrensville Hts, Parma Hts., and Wickliffe.  The study cited shows that 55% of the nation's poor now live outside Metropolitan areas.  The story quotes our good friend, Steve Wertheim of First Call for Help about the sharp increase in suburban poverty.  NEOCH along with ESOP will be releasing a survey of the suburban communities response to homelessness and foreclosures over the next two months. The results will show that suburban communities are not prepared for the influx of people struggling.  They have a very good infrastructure for seniors and certainly seniors struggling, but very few are prepared to respond to other populations. There is still not one homeless shelter outside of the City of Cleveland, and if you need any kind of help beside food, you must make your way down to Cleveland.  It is eyeopening and disturbing the large increase in poverty over the last few years in the suburbs. I don't remember a similar story in the Plain Dealer.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

NEOCH Hockey/Homeless Awareness Night

NEOCH Invites You to Enjoy a Hockey Game and Support the Homeless Coalition

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is introducing a unique event as part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness.  On November 19, 2011 at 6 pm we will feature a talk by Neil Donovan, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, who will talk about homelessness before the Lake Erie Monsters game.  This is a fundraising event as well as an opportunity to learn more about homelessness on the national level.  You can buy tickets from the Q arenas at:

The Lake Erie Monsters are the minor league hockey team for Cleveland, and the event will be downtown at the Quicken Loan Arena.  Make sure that you click on NEOCH when buying your tickets.  NEOCH will receive $5 from every ticket sold through the above link.  If you bring food or winter blankets, you can receive a "chuck a puck" to throw on the ice and win prizes.  The entire evening will provide you a look at the national picture of homelessness, a good professional hockey game, and a chance to support NEOCH.  We hope that you will be able to attend.

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NEOCH Board Urges a No Vote on Issue 3

NEOCH Supports Universal Health Care By Any Means

The NEOCH Board voted to urge our Ohio members to oppose Issue 3 this November.  The board cited the confusing language on the ballot and the unknown repercussions it could have for other mandated government services.  The Board worried that the constitutional amendment declaring Ohioans could not be forced to obtain insurance could result in unnecessary lawsuits.  There is real concern that the amendment would make it impossible for a judge to order that a non-custodial parent to buy health insurance for their child.  Finally, there was concern over the State's ability to regulate insurance companies if this amendment is approved.

We believe that the Affordable Care Act will benefit our constituency, and should be expanded in Ohio.   At this time, very few of our constituents are eligible for Medicaid, because they are not determined to be disabled.  If we can enroll an additional 20 or 40 or even 60 percent of the homeless population in Medicaid, those resources would be freed to provide additional health care services to the population.  We may be able to provide additional mental health services or additional alcohol and drug services to the population when the law is fully implemented in 2014. 

The NEOCH Board understands that the only way to get close to universal health care in this current environment is to require individuals to maintain health insurance.  We do not believe that Issue 3 is unconstitutional and so this measure is largely symbolic.  The message with a "yes" vote is a statement that Ohio citizens do not believe that every citizen has a right to health care.  A yes vote means that crippling, life long debt should be a part of our health care system for one third of our population.  A yes vote is purely a cynical attempt to attack the President and supporters in Congress who passed the Affordable Health Care Act.

While we recognize that the American Health Care system is not perfect.  We believe that this is a small step toward universal health care in order to join the rest of the developed economies in the United States.  The symbolism of voting "NO" is that the United States needs to take a leap forward toward more health care coverage for those in the service sector, those living below poverty and without a disability, and we need expanded coverage for the Moms working two part time jobs. 

NEOCH urges a No vote on Issue 3.
Posted on Behalf of the NEOCH Board of Trustees
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

We have to pay to vote by mail?

A Bad Deal for Cuyahoga County Voters 2

I received my absentee ballot last week, and found that for the first time I have to pay to mail the ballot back with my 64 cent stamp.  Was this part of the deal that Fitzgerald struck with Husted over not sending out absentee ballot request forms?   We have already expressed how this was a bad deal for the Cuyahoga County voter, but it gets worse.  We save money if a person votes by mail over going to a polling place and voting on election day. Why can't we pay to get a voter to return their absentee ballot?  I know that the post office charges around $1.20 for postage paid mail, but that is cheaper than employing a poll worker for 16 hours and all the processing and transportation of those ballots.  It is better for voters to vote by mail over standing in a long line at the polling place or feeling that their government is broken by witnessing polling places opening late or poll workers not understanding provisional ballots.  We believe that any barriers to voting should be minimized in order to encourage the other half of the population to actually participate.  Going out and finding a 64 cent stamp or wasting two stamps on a ballot is a barrier for the fringe voters.  Help people vote with free return of the ballot to the board of elections.

Brian Davis
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Sunday, October 02, 2011

NEOCH Urges a No Vote on Issue 2

Homeless Support Collective Bargaining

The Board of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless decided last week to urge our membership to vote No on Issue 2 which would then overturn SB 5 passed in April by the state legislature.  Why does the Coalition want to get involved in a collective bargaining bill?  The mission of the Coalition is to empower and organize those experiencing homelessness.  The backbone of organizing is allowing homeless people to act  and speak collectively.  We construct resident council (similar to tenant unions) to allow those living in shelters to speak collectively with management of the shelter.  If collective bargaining disappears for public employees it is a slippery slope before collective bargaining would disappear as a value in our society.  We strongly support collective bargaining as a means to solve problems with our Homeless Congress as an example and we appreciate collective bargaining in the employment sector.

We believe that a healthy work force especially in the public sector keeps people from becoming homeless.  It is not an accident that only 1% of the homeless population are age 65 or older.  It is because we have social security and the pension programs that employees bargained for to keep them safe in their retirement years.  SB 5 would eliminate government contributions to public sector pensions, and thus destabilize future seniors increasing the number who become homeless.  There may be some valuable items in SB 5, but taken as a whole it would harm public sector employees and strike a blow to collective bargaining in Ohio.  It is for this reason, NEOCH urges a no vote on Issue 2.

It is legal for non-profit organizations to take positions on issues in the United States especially if they have such an impact on our constituents.   We believe that collective bargaining needs to be expanded and not limited in Ohio.  The board of the Coalition believes that fewer people would become homeless if all workplaces were organized.  Our constituents would not face daily exploitation if the temporary labor companies were organized and homeless workers belonged to a labor union.  We could significantly reduce the number of homeless people if these men and women were paid a fair wage for a fair days work.  If anything, we should expand collective bargaining and not limit it in Ohio.

Please vote No on Issue 2 in order to repeal Senate Bill 5 the anti-collective bargaining law.

Brian Davis
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