May 2011
Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 9

THI LogoCHLAP is proud to announce the launch of a new site for regular intake at Transitional Housing Inc. on W. 25th St.  For nearly 25 years THI has worked to end the cycle of homelessness by providing women with a safe environment, programs and services that promote self-sufficiency and independence. 

THI is one of the oldest and still one of the largest transitional housing programs in the U.S., serving between 100-125 women annually.  In Cleveland, it is the only program of its kind that provides up to two years of supportive services to its clients.  All residents participate in a personal development plan that includes both on-site classes and access to community services, employment training, educational opportunities, and job placement.

Beginning in May, CHLAP and THI will partner to share resources and hold a monthly intake clinic limited to women currently in the program (currently about 60 residents).  CHLAP thanks Prof. Steve Werber, who since September 2010 has been coordinating legal assistance for these women and now will welcome the help of regular CHLAP volunteers.  Look for updates to the published intake schedule once regular clinic dates have been set.

There will be a launch pizza party for residents and volunteers in May - please email CHLAP Chair Melissa Zujkowski for more details if you are interested in attending.
Welcome new volunteers!

In recent months, the CHLAP volunteer pool has expanded to include the following new members:
  • Phyllis L. Crespo, Attorney at Law
  • Pamela A. DeGeeter, Ohio Lottery Commission
  • Teirra M. Everette, Dominion Resources Services, Inc.
  • Jessica Handlos, Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash Co., LPA
  • Katrice McCrae, Attorney at Law
  • Tamzin K. O'Neil, McGown & Markling
  • Lisa J. Sanniti, City of Cleveland
  • Deborah P. Warner, Attorney at Law
Thank you to all new volunteers for joining the program, and as always thank you to established volunteers for the work you continue to do on its behalf.

Cleveland Rehab Center for Homeless Veterans Opens in University Circle 

A new rehabilitation facility to house 122 homeless veterans opened in University Circle May 4, a partnership between Volunteers of America (VOA) and the VA Medical Center in Cleveland.  After five years of planning and construction, the 77,000 square foot Wade Park facility on East Boulevard opened to offer care and services to those in need following the closure of the Medical Center's Brecksville campus. "We can provide counseling, we can provide recovery from addiction problems and at the same time provide educational opportunities, provide new skills in daily living," said Dr. Murray Altose from the VA. The new facility cost upwards of $35M, but it's money well-spent according to the VOA, who help 7,000 homeless veterans each year in Ohio.
Click here for full article.

Eight NE Ohio Human Services Organizations Announce Plans to Merge

On April 12, the Plain Dealer reported that eight Greater Cleveland human-services organizations announced  that they will merge or affiliate as a way to cut expenses, a move seen as evidence of a growing cost-cutting trend among nonprofits facing a tough economic climate. The biggest partnership involves the Center for Families and Children, with its hefty $23 million budget and 325 full-time employees, and the West Side Ecumenical Ministry, with 132 employees and an $8.7 million budget.  Other mergers include:
Click here for full article.

Ohio to Expand Differential Response in Child Protective Services to More Counties

On April 25, the Ohio Supreme Court announced that the Court and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are expanding the Differential Response program to include eight additional counties, based on the results of a successful pilot project.  The counties selected to participate in the next phase of the project's expansion - which will bring the total number of participating counties to 33 - include Butler, Carroll, Delaware, Miami, Putnam, Sandusky, Scioto and Seneca. 

Differential Response gives caseworkers the freedom to use an alternative non-adversarial approach when investigating some reports of child abuse and neglect in Ohio, which helps keep families together and reduces the number of children placed in out-of-home care, all without compromising child safety. 

Click here for full announcement; here for the final pilot report and evaluation study; and here for a complete list of participating counties in 2010.
Upcoming clinics & events
Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Clinics
For a calendar of Legal Aid brief advice/intake clinics, please visit the Legal Aid website at

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.

Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition Meetings

The Coalition will meet at the State of Ohio Library in Columbus on July 13 and Oct. 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m..
The format for the all-day meetings will be general coalition business in the morning, and in the afternoon presentations by the National Institute of Justice as a part of the Ohio Learning Laboratory Series.
In the News

Busting Recidivism in Greater Cleveland: Editorial  

On April 26, the Plain Dealer published an editorial positing that ex-felons suffer an alarming recidivism rate, triggered in part by their inability to find legitimate employment or to connect with social services to address addiction and mental health problems.  They make up one of Cleveland's fastest-growing populations -- approximately 20,000 former inmates a year -- and their successful reintegration into society as productive, responsible citizens is a high priority for state, county, city and community leaders.  Cleveland boasts one of the best re-entry networks in Ohio, according to Edward Rhine, deputy director at the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.   


The Ohio Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition in partnership with the National Institute of Justice hosted a public forum in April that addressed the stigma ex-offenders face when they apply for jobs and how it can be mitigated.  It comes on the heels of the Re-Entry Resource Exposition that the Jackson administration hosted the week before, attracting approximately 550 ex-felons, and on May 4, Breaking the Cycle Inc. hosted its third annual Ex-Offender Resource and Career Fair at the Galleria.  

Click here for full editorial


Job Cuts for Poor Seniors Could Up Homelessness

On April 17, the AP reported that in the budget bill recently signed by President Obama, the U.S. Department of Labor's Senior Community Service Employment Program was slashed by 45 percent, from $825 million to $450 million a year. Under the program, more than 75,000 elderly Americans living in poverty in all 50 states earn their keep by the slimmest of margins. Advocates say the cuts could mean as many as 58,000 fewer jobs if states or national groups are forced to discontinue the program because of the reductions. According to the Labor Dept., older workers who have lost a job are more likely than any other age group to face very long-term unemployment and remain jobless for 99 weeks or more. Proponents of the budget cuts say controlling federal spending is difficult but it's the only way to ensure major programs, including Social Security, are sustainable in the future.

Click here for full article.      


Breaking the Cycle Jobs Course Helps Prepare Ex-Offenders for Work

On April 13, the Plain Dealer ran a feature article highlighting the work of Breaking the Cycle Inc., a support group for ex-offenders, has held job-readiness courses since November at the Cleveland Hough Multipurpose Center. The group has helped about 100 people find jobs in fields that include food service, factory work and construction through weekly meetings that provide participants with tips on how to make themselves competitive in a job market where opportunities are scarce for ex-offenders. At each three-hour class, instructors teach participants the basics of using a computer, including how to set up an email account and fill out job applications online. They also learn about education opportunities, how to dress for job interviews, places to buy discount dress clothes and other interview skills.
Click here for full article.

Court Upholds Homeless Feeding Limits in Orlando

On April 12, the Orlando Sentinel reported that a federal appeals court ruled unanimously that Orlando's restrictions on feeding the homeless in downtown parks are a reasonable way to protect the city's parks and don't violate the constitution. The ruling from the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta reversing a lower court injunction means the city is free to begin enforcing a controversial five-year-old ordinance that's been ignored while a federal lawsuit wound its way through court. The city passed the ordinance in 2006 in response to business owners and residents near Lake Eola Park, who complained that frequent feedings at the park drew dozens of transients who would later disburse into surrounding neighborhoods.  The rules effectively limit the number of feedings in any single park by requiring permits for each one, and by allowing a group only two permits per park each year. Anti-poverty group Orlando Food Not Bombs joined a church with a largely homeless congregation in challenging the ordinance in federal court, arguing that the rules infringed on their free speech rights.
Click here for full article.

Lawsuit Claims Homeless Paid $50 to Be Beaten on Video

On April 12, MSNBC reported that a lawsuit filed recently in a Florida court claimed a video company paid homeless men $50 to be filmed while scantily clad women punched, kicked and whipped them so badly that they were hospitalized. Lawyers for two homeless men said the company sells videos on the internet of the so-called "beatdowns," arguing the beatings violate a state hate crimes law that specifically protects the homeless and that the producers are exploiting the poverty of transients for whom any cash is hard to come by. In an email to the Associated Press, website manager Jeffrey S. Williams said his accusers are trying to pressure him through public attacks.
Click here for full article.

Enrollment Surges at Schools for Homeless Students

On April 11, Education Week reported that a small number of schools across the country that serve students affected by unstable housing conditions, along with other schools nationwide, are seeing a growing number of students who are homeless.  Experts say the economic recession has exacerbated youth homelessness, and schools serving this vulnerable population are now being challenged to keep up with the students and offer the unique services to which they are entitled under federal law.  One school in Arizona has seen a 12 to 18 percent enrollment increase for students in the past three years, an estimated 40 percent of whom hail from out-of-state - particularly from Midwestern states hit hard by the recession. 
Click here for full article, including an in-depth review of some of the schools serving homeless children.
In This Issue
Welcome new volunteers!
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Volunteer Spotlight
Volunteer Manuals
The general CHLAP Volunteer Manual will be updated soon for distribution in the summer.  If you have suggested changes or additions, please email Melissa Zujkowski.
2011 Intake Schedule
Please click here for the updated 2011 Intake Schedule.
Volunteer Spotlight
Lisa Gasbarre BlackLisa Gasbarre Black
GC, Catholic Charities Health and Human Services, Diocese of Cleveland

Lisa is an active volunteer with CHLAP as well as a member of the program oversight committee.  She recently took over intake at the Cosgrove Center to temporarily fill a gap in coverage, and has been instrumental in recruiting new volunteers to the program.  Lisa is the author of a widely-cited article on Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center and by the National Lawyers Association.  Lisa can be reached at (216) 334-2904 or by email.
Nominations for the Volunteer

Please contact CHLAP Chair Melissa Zujkowski by email or by phone at (216) 583-7364.
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 8 - April 2011
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
CHLAP Oversight Committee
Melissa L. Zujkowski, Chair
Brian Davis, NEOCH Executive Director
Robert D. Anderle
Lisa Gasbarre-Black
Jessica Handlos
Nicole E. Braden Lewis
Patrick A. McGraw
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: 

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

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Email: 

We welcome your comments and suggestions!