January 2011
Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 5

Puzzle piecesAs we head into the coldest months of winter, please take the opportunity to spread the word about Homeless Stand Down 2011 (HSD).  HSD is a three-day event coordinated by InterAct Cleveland that provides access to the following individuals and services to more than 2,000 people facing homelessness and poverty: 55 social service providers, 15 health screenings, haircuts, massages, new winter clothing, non-winter clothing, breakfast, lunch, an RTA bus pass, live entertainment, professional portraits, and personal care kits.

One of the three events - the HSD Care-Van - is bringing services to various housing units in support of the HOUSINGFirst initiative of the Cleveland / Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, which focuses on moving people into stable, permanent supportive housing and then linking them with services on site.

Supporters are encouraged to join InterAct and make a difference by contributing to the HSD financially, through in-kind donations, or by volunteering their time.  For a full list of HSD dates, please see the calendar below in Upcoming Clinics & Events.
Upcoming clinics & events
Homeless Stand Down 2011
January 30
Winter Clothing, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Masonic Auditorium (3615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland OH 44115)

February 12 - HSD Care-Van

Pilgrim Congregational Church (2592 West 14 St., Cleveland OH 44113)

February 18 - Health Fair, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Masonic Auditorium (3615 Euclid Ave., Cleveland OH 44115)

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Clinics
For a calendar of Legal Aid brief advice/intake clinics, please visit the Legal Aid website at www.lasclev.org

Cleveland Lawyers' Initiative on Reentry (CLIR)
Brief Advice/Intake Clinics

North Star Neighborhood Reentry Resource Center, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
2011: Jan. 14, Feb. 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8
Periodic training sessions for new volunteers TBA - call Brian Lamb at (216) 566-5590 for more information.
In the News
New York Study on Who May End Up Homeless Called Cruel
On Dec. 8, the New York Times reported that the city of New York's Dept. of Homeless Services has begun conducting a study to assess one of its programs for preventing homelessness by tracking results for those who were given assistance and those who were randomly denied.  The move has drawn fire from civil liberties and advocacy groups, who have denounced the experiment as unethical and cruel.  The city says the study of its $23 million Homebase program - which offers job training, counseling services and emergency money to help people stay in their homes - is necessary to determine its effectiveness in tight budgetary times.  New York is among a number of governments and organizations turning to randomized controlled trials to evaluate social welfare programs: the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development recently started an 18-month study in 10 cities and counties to track up to 3,000 families who land in homeless shelters.  Families will be randomly assigned to programs that put them in homes, give them housing subsidies or allow them to stay in shelters with the goal of finding out which approach most effectively moved people into permanent homes, according to a HUD spokesman.
Click here for full article.

Columbus's $300,000 for Homeless to Be Matched by Anonymous Donor

On Dec. 14, the Columbus Dispatch reported that an anonymous donor has offered to match the $300,000 grant to help a growing number of homeless people in Columbus approved unanimously by the Columbus City Council the night before.  The donor is working through the Columbus Foundation, which recently started a special fundraising drive for charities that help struggling residents meet basic needs.  The dollar-for-dollar match was proposed after Council President Michael Mentel requested $300,000 last week to fight what advocates say is an alarming rise in homelessness, especially among families with children.  The additional money will be spent on winter overflow and street outreach and to move people into housing faster, said Michelle Heritage Ward, executive director of the shelter board.
Click here for full article.

Public Libraries Provide Refuge for the Homeless
On Dec. 20, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the combination of the faltering economy and falling temperatures has led more homeless people to take shelter in public libraries, which provide protection from the elements and resources to sharpen skills and find jobs.  While some libraries nationally have responded with open doors and outreach programs, others have questioned how far public libraries should extend their role toward that of a traditional social-service agency.  Library service in Ohio is dictated by community need, said Doug Evans, director of the Ohio Library Council: "If libraries determine that is their need, then that is their choice."
Click here for full article.

Homeless Families In America Increase By Nine Percent
On Dec. 22, the Huffington Post reported that Released Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2010 Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness in American Cities -- in their annual assessment of 26 American cities -- has tallied a nine-percent overall increase in the number of homeless families in the U.S in the past year.  Fifty-eight percent of the cities analyzed showed an increase in family homelessness.  Based on this survey, on an average night, 1,105 family members are on the streets, 10,926 find refuge in an emergency shelter, and 15,255 stay in transitional homes.  Seventy-nine percent of the households with children accounted for in the conference's report claimed that the main cause was unemployment, and 72 percent declared lack of affordable housing.  Among other causes claimed by these families (e.g. poverty and domestic violence), low-paying jobs was mentioned as the main cause by one fifth of the population surveyed.
Click here for full article.

New Cleveland Newspaper for Homeless Launched
On Dec. 29, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that The Homeless Grapevine, a newspaper for homeless people, stopped publishing in 2009, but a reconstituted tabloid with a new name, the Cleveland Street Chronicle, debuted in December.  Editor-in-Chief and NEOCH Director Brian Davis said hard economic times killed the Grapevine, as sidewalk vendors faced more and more tight-pursed pedestrians.  Davis noted that the goal is to publish every month, but acknowledged that finding the money to do so is very challenging.  The cost of publishing the first issue - 6,000 papers currently being circulated by six vendors - was $1,600, raised by a group of Cleveland-area poets.  Like the Grapevine, the Street Chronicle is 16 pages of profiles of homeless people, poetry, photography and news about local homeless issues.  It also publishes a list of where people can volunteer to help the needy.
Click here for full article.

Alaska Homeless Camp Raids Ruled Unconstitutional
On Jan. 5, the Washington Post reported that an Alaska Superior Court judge has ruled Anchorage's policy for raiding homeless camps is unconstitutional in a lawsuit brought by the state ACLU, which argued homeless people have the same rights as everyone else and the raids violated their property rights.  The city passed an amended ordinance last June giving the homeless five days' notice to leave the camps, after which time property in the camps was to be seized and destroyed, the ACLU said.  The judge found that giving the homeless five days' notice was not sufficient, and that a longer notice would provide the homeless  time to "gather their belongings and find another place to live, either through the help of social service agencies or independently."  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dale Engle, a disabled Vietnam War veteran who has been homeless for decades, and other homeless people in Anchorage.
Click here for full article.

National Report Shows Ohio's Homeless Population Dipped in 2009

On Jan. 12, the Columbus Dispatch reported that a national report recently released shows Ohio's homeless population declined slightly - by about 1.6 percent, to 12,700 people - in 2009, a dip advocates attribute to the fact that some newly homeless move in with friends and relatives before turning to a shelter. The report, by the Washington-based National Alliance to End Homelessness, shows the state with a 17 percent increase in the number of families and single adults who were "doubled up," or living with someone else, that year because of economic hardship. However, shelter officials said, many of those arrangements fell apart in 2010, contributing to a recent spike in homelessness that isn't yet reflected in national tallies. Nationwide, overall homelessness grew by about three percent from 2008 to 2009, to more than 656,000 people, the alliance reported.
Click here for full article.
In This Issue
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
CHLAP online
Volunteer Spotlight
CHLAP in the News
Crain's Cleveland Business (Dec. 6-12 issue) featured an article highlighting CHLAP's re-entry efforts: "Lawyers boost efforts to ease ex-cons into society."  Click here to read the full article, now available free to non-subscribers.
CLE Materials
To view materials presented at the Oct. 27 CHLAP CLE ("Common Issues & Resources for Homeless or At-Risk Individuals"), visit the Newsletters & Materials section of the CHLAP page by clicking here.
Find out more
For the most current list of community events and resources, check out the CHLAP page of the CMBA website by clicking here.
Quick Links
Volunteer Spotlight
Patrick McGrawPat McGraw
Attorney at Law
Pat has volunteered with CHLAP since 2001, conducting monthly intake sessions in his spare time while he worked at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and after his 2003 retirement from OCRC. After many years volunteering monthly at the Community Women's Shelter, Pat now covers monthly intakes at the Volunteers of America men's shelter in Collinwood as well as Wednesday weekly intakes at May Dugan Center in Ohio City. He can be reached at (216) 213-5585.
Nominations for the Volunteer
Please contact CHLAP Chair Melissa Zujkowski by email or by phone at (216) 583-7364.
Archived CHLAP Newsletters
Issue 4 - December 2010
Issue 3 - November 2010
Issue 2 - October 2010
Issue 1 - September 2010
Annual Meeting Logo
Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
This partnership between the CMBA and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless aims to serve those in the community in need of help but least able to access legal assistance. Volunteer lawyers staff regularly scheduled sessions at many locations throughout Cleveland, including homeless shelters, to provide legal advice and assistance to homeless or at-risk individuals. Attorneys volunteer at varying levels of commitment, from helping with intake interviews and providing brief advice to accepting referrals for direct extended representation.

A program of the
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
1301 East 9th Street, Second Level
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel.: 216.696.3525