Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Homeless Congress Next Week

Transformational Art at Cosgrove Center
State Officials to Meet with Homeless Individuals Focus on Shelter and Jobs

Cleveland, OH-The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless along with the Homeless Congress will host elected officials from the state legislature to hear concerns that include shelter standards, funding for shelters, transportation, and more access to housing in general.  The meeting is Thursday March 15, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the Cosgrove Center gymnasium. 
      The Homeless Congress, a group of members of the homeless community and their advocates, meets monthly to address the needs of homeless individuals and to bring those issues in front of County, State elected officials, and the media. It consists of two representatives from each Cleveland shelter and six from the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter and three from the Norma Herr Shelters.  It is organized by members of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
      While the State does fund a small amount of the budget for the local shelters, this funding has not changed in over a decade while the amount of people requiring shelter and assistance continues to increase. Though the problem of homelessness is overwhelming and funding is difficult to come by, the Homeless Congress has narrowed down some specific and immediate problems that with some attention could provide a small step in the right direction.
      The topic at the forefront will be that of our shelters, and making certain that they are abiding (and have the means to abide) by uniform health and safety standards. Additionally, transportation needs to be made more available, so that people needing to travel to job interviews and landlord interviews can do so safely. A special concern deals with housing, specifically for families due to the sharp increase in family homelessness during the downturn.  Due to overcrowding, the entry women’s shelters has been forced to close during daytime hours.  The Congress will also be asking for assistance in putting job-training programs in place that specifically serve homeless people, helping individuals to assess and improve work skills so that they may find gainful employment.
      This month’s Homeless Congress meeting will be held on March 15, at 1:00 PM  at the Bishop Cosgrove Center, 1736 Superior Ave.  (enter in the back and go to the second floor.)
      The State Elected Officials scheduled to attend the meeting include:
  • Ohio Representative Sandra Williams,
  • State Senator Shirley Smith,
  • State Senator Mike Skindell,
  • State Senator Nina Turner.
     The Homeless Congress looks forward to giving the local homeless community a voice at a state level. The meeting is open to the public and those wishing to support the Northeast Ohio Homeless Coalition as well other local elected officials are encouraged to attend.

Brian and Lauren the volunteer
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