April 2011
Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 8

VeteransNEOCH has applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hire a full-time attorney to handle legal matters for homeless veterans, who as any CHLAP volunteer will confirm make up a significant number of those seeking assistance from the program. 

The addition of a VA attorney could allow the program to implement as many as three additional intake clinics each month solely for veterans, as well as allow CHLAP volunteers to refer new and ongoing matters to the designated attorney.  NEOCH's application for the grant in March was made with the full support of the local VA as well as U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich.  Look for updates on this exciting opportunity in future newsletters!
Homeless Advocacy Alert
In 2009, the city of Cleveland Heights 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 to serve any low-income residents in the county facing eviction.  Last year, there were approximately 500 people who faced eviction at the Cleveland Hts. Municipal Court.  As of January 2011, Cleveland Hts. has only used 12.2% of their available funding ($87,000).  The federal government says that the City must have 60% of their dollars expended by July 2011 or it will be 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.  The letter went without response or acknowledgment.

As an example of a community that received and utilized similar funding, Lakewood received over $900,000 from the federal stimulus and partnered with Lakewood Christian Services to spend the funds.  As of January 2011, Lakewood had allocated 67% of their funds to help prevent evictions.

To learn more about the issue, including what you can do to help, please click here to be directed to the NEOCH website, here to read a letter to the editor published in the Sun Press, or here for News Channel 5 coverage (video and print).

Ohio AG Vows to Continue Fugitive Safe Surrender Program

Plans are under way to carry out Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine promise in March to continue the Fugitive Safe Surrender program in Ohio after funding from the federal Marshals Service was cut nationwide. Plans include hiring a staff member to coordinate future events, at which thousands of mostly non-violent offenders with warrants for their arrest meet at a safe, neutral space to surrender and seek legal help while avoiding the violent confrontations that can accompany forceful arrests. A U.S. marshals spokesman said the decision was made to cut funding to the program, which cost the service $250,000 annually, because it didn't fit with its mission of catching violent fugitives.

Real estate magnate Sam Miller last week donated $100,000 to support FSS in Ohio, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is pushing legislation that would keep the program on a national level under the office of the U.S. Attorney General.  Judges, clergy and law enforcement officials also have said they plan to work to continue the program on a statewide basis.

FSS began in Cleveland in 2005 and spread to other states, leading to the peaceful surrender of more than 34,000 people in 19 U.S. cities. In September 2010, the program in a Cleveland suburb set a national record by drawing 7,431 people looking to resolve outstanding warrants for their arrest.

For more about current plans, see the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
For more about DeWine's March announcement, see the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch.

New Judgment Entry Forms for Divorce and Dissolution 

The Domestic Relations Court will begin using new Judgment Entry forms for Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage officially on May 2, 2011.  You may view and download the new forms from the Domestic Relations Court website here. The forms as posted are interactive.
Upcoming clinics & events
Employer Awareness Workshop on Re-Entry

Legal Rights and Obligations in Hiring Practices Regarding Job Applicants with Criminal Backgrounds

for attorneys, HR professionals, and business employers
May 11, 2011 - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Corporate College East
- 6.0 hours FREE CLE requested -
Topics related to the hiring of formerly-incarcerated individuals to include:
  • Employer Liability/Negligent Hiring and Supervision 
  • Background Checks
  • Free Bonding and Tax Incentives
  • Employer Assistance Programs/Model Hiring Practices
  • Advanced Workshops in Managing Legal Risks of Hiring     
Click here for full brochure and to RSVP.

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: 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
"One Homeless Veteran is One Too Many"
Editorial by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

On March 22, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown published an editorial in the Hillsboro Times-Gazette criticizing the Republican plan to cut funding for the Housing and Urban Development - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD/VASH) grant program.  Said Brown, "The federal budget isn't merely a financial document; it is a confirmation of our country's priorities.  We should not add budget cuts to the burdens already carried on the backs of some veterans."  Brown noted that as a member of the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee, he has heard directly from Ohio veterans who have benefitted from the program, which he called "a service worth fighting to protect."
Click here for full editorial.

Reid, Brown: Extreme GOP Spending Plan Denies Housing to Nevada, Ohio Homeless Veterans

On March 16, Real Estate Rama reported that during a news conference call, Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown were joined by a former homeless veteran to denounce the extreme Republican spending proposal that slashes 10,000 housing vouchers that would keep homeless veterans off the streets next year in Ohio, Nevada and across the country.  The Republicans' proposed cuts would eliminate new funding for the successful HUD/VASH voucher program, which has kept 750 veterans in Ohio off the street in the last three years.  "Servicemembers across Ohio and the nation face too many barriers upon return from active duty," Brown said.  "We're prepared to negotiate and reduce the deficit responsibly. But we won't balance the budget on the backs of those who have already given so much to our nation."
Click here for full article.
In This Issue
Homeless Advocacy Alert
Fugitive Safe Surrender Program
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Volunteer Spotlight

Internship Opportunity 

CHLAP and NEOCH are seeking a law student for the position of Legal Assistance Intern for summer 2011. Please click here for a flyer with details, or contact Brian Davis at (216) 432-0540 or by email.   Applications must be received by April 15, 2011.

2010 Client Intake Totals

Please click here for a spreadsheet of client numbers at CHLAP intake sites from Jan.-Dec. 2010.
Annual Plan
The CHLAP oversight committee met in January to review the past year and discuss plans and goals for 2011.  For meeting minutes, click here.
Volunteer Spotlight
Prof. Stephen WerberStephen J. Werber
Prof. Emeritus, Cleveland Marshall College of Law  
In addition to heading intake at Transitional Housing, Inc., which recently joined the list of CHLAP legal intake sites, Steve handles sealing of all records matters and serves on the nonprofit's Board of Directors.  Since he began the program in Sept. 2010 he has reviewed issues for approximately 18 residents and former residents of THI and was able to help a substantial number of those women.

His research interests are in the areas of products liability with current emphasis on the constitutional issues surrounding legislative reform, as well as a long- established interest in comparison of Jewish and American law.  Steve can be reached at (216) 687-2337 or by email at stephen.werber@law.csuohio.edu.
Nominations for the Volunteer
Please contact CHLAP Chair Melissa Zujkowski by email or by phone at (216) 583-7364.

Community Partnership

Legal Aid honors the law firm of Thompson Hine LLP for its support of the Community Advocacy Program (CAP), a medical-legal partnership between MetroHealth and Legal Aid. Through CAP, Legal Aid attorneys work as part of the healthcare team, educating healthcare providers about legal issues and helping to remove legal barriers to health. Since its launch in 2005, CAP has received nationwide recognition for best practices in the medical-legal community.

When prior expansion funding ended last year, Thompson Hine determined the firm's support should continue: to date, Thompson Hine attorneys have contributed more than $10,000, an amount matched dollar-for-dollar by the firm.

Read more about this unique partnership on the Legal Aid website 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.
Archived CHLAP Newsletters
Issue 7 - March 2011
Issue 6 - February 2011
Issue 5 - January 2011
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, Web: www.clemetrobar.org 

CHLAP Newsletter author:
Jessica Paine, Assistant Director of Community Programs & Information

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Email: jpaine@clemetrobar.org

We welcome your comments and suggestions!