December 2011
bttopCleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 15
Tough Times Ahead for Homeless People

Guest article by Brian Davis, NEOCH Director of Community Organizing


gavel1Always in the past when housing programs or welfare programs were cut, the federal government would boost funding for food and shelter with the thinking that many more people will need emergency services.  For the first time since the early 1980s, the federal government is cutting in a dramatic manner housing programs while giving level funding to the shelters for three straight years.  The overall 2012 Housing and Urban Development budget has been cut by $3.7 billion, or 9% less than the agency received in 2011. 

Some of the lowlights include a cut to the voucher program of $130 million less than is needed to renew all the housing contracts, which means 12,000 to 24,000 fewer vouchers will be paid for nationally.  The family self-sufficiency fund was cut by 32% from the 2011 funding.  The Public Housing Capital fund to build or renovate existing housing was cut by 8% from last year.  There is no funding for Hope VI, which renovates and replaces older Public Housing units.  The HOME program which funds new housing development for the City and County was cut by 38% from the 2011 funding.

The Section 202 program (housing for seniors) was cut by 6% over 2011 levels. This is in addition to 55% cuts from the 2010 levels.  Funding for the Community Development Block grant program, used by the City of Cleveland to assist housing and homeless programs, was reduced by 6% on top of a large cut in 2010.  

The cuts do not reflect a lack of need in the community.  When the housing voucher program waiting list was opened in August for one week 65,000 people applied.  Only 10,000 names were selected in the lottery, and if the federal HUD budget keeps getting reduced that waiting list could last seven years.  Finally, the large federal stimulus funding that provided around $5 million per year to Cuyahoga County to serve those in danger of becoming homeless or who are currently homeless ends in early 2012.  Last summer, the women's shelter had to close during the day to redeploy all the staff to the evening in order to accommodate the large crowds seeking shelter.  It looks like 2012 is going to be one of the most difficult in 40 years for those struggling with their housing.  

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Upcoming clinics & events


Homeless Memorial Day and Candlelight Vigil

Dec. 21 at 5:00 p.m. (St. Patrick's Meal Site, near West Side of Cleveland)

Homeless advocates read the names of those who have passed away over the last year and light a candle to memorialize those struggling with poverty. All are welcome to attend for the 25th Homeless Memorial Day. 

Details here. 


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.
Second Friday of the month
Periodic training sessions for new volunteers TBA - call Brian Lamb at (216) 566-5590 for more information.
In the News 


VA Announces $100 Million in Homeless Prevention Funding

On Dec. 5, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will make $100 million in grants available to community agencies to prevent homelessness by assisting low-income veterans and families at risk of homelessness, with the intention of helping more than 35,000 veterans and families. The funds are offered for fiscal year 2012 through VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, a homeless-prevention and rapid re-housing program established by VA in 2011. Last year, VA provided $60 million through the SSVF program to community providers, affecting about 22,000 people through 84 non-profit community agencies in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The program provides community organizations with funding for counseling, training, education assistance, direct time-limited financial assistance, transportation, child care, rent, utilities, and other services aimed at preventing homelessness or providing homes for participating veterans and family members. Private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives interested in the grants have until February 15 to submit completed applications.

Click here for press release.

Poverty, Homelessness on Rise in Akron-Canton Schools

On Dec. 5 the Akron Beacon Journal reported that last year, the number of students in the Akron school district officially labeled "homeless" because they lack permanent addresses jumped to 951 - nearly 60 percent more than in 2005 - while this year's estimate could be as high as 1,200. Last year, 13,278 Ohio students did not have a permanent residence, which is less than one percent of the state's students but the largest number in the past decade. School officials blame the economy and high unemployment for the increase in homeless families. According to the latest census figures, poverty is hitting harder in cities: among Ohio's Big Eight city districts, Cleveland's poverty rate is the highest at almost 45 percent.  When families become so poor that they lose their homes, the school becomes a much-needed psychological anchor for children.  That notion led to the 1987 federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which funds Akron's Project RISE program to coordinate with area shelters and organizations to get kids back into school as soon as possible, even if their home school is in another city.

Click here for full article by Beacon Journal, or click here for related article by Columbus Dispatch.

Governor, Ohio Lawmakers Begin Talks on Removing Employment Barriers for Non-Violent Felons

On Nov. 29 the Plain Dealer reported that Ohio Gov. John Kasich convened a meeting that week of lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges to begin talking about how to knock down "collateral sanctions," or road blocks to employment for non-violent ex-cons written into Ohio's constitution, laws, administrative codes, and court rules. The administration has reviewed a report that surveyed hundreds of Ohio judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and parole officers who generally agreed that it was time for the state's criminal justice system to address the unintended impact of some collateral sanctions.

Click here for full article.

Study Finds Homeless Veterans Stay Homeless Longer Than Others, More at Risk for Serious Health Problems

On Nov. 8, the New York Times reported that a new report by national advocacy group The 100,000 Homes Campaign found that once veterans become homeless, they are likely to remain homeless longer than non-veterans, and that they are also more likely to report having serious health problems. The report is based on surveys conducted over several years with 23,000 homeless people, of which nearly 3,500 were veterans. Officials with the campaign said the surveys were drafted with the intention of finding out more about why veterans are disproportionately represented among the homeless population. Like the federal report from October, which found that homeless veterans were more likely to have disabilities, the 100,000 Homes report found that homeless veterans in its sample more often reported health problems, including liver or kidney disease, emphysema, tuberculosis, heart disease or hepatitis C. The survey also found that veterans who had been homeless for two years or longer were substantially more likely to have served time in jail or prison, and to have a substance abuse problem, than veterans who had been homeless for less than two years.

Click here for full article from NY Times, or here for article by LA Times.


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In This Issue
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Welcome New Volunteers
Archived Newsletters

Welcome New Volunteers!

Kari Lewis, Lisa Gold-Scott, Scott Heasley, David Watson, Lisa Sanniti, and Leslie Johns recently joined the ranks of CHLAP volunteers.


Ms. Johns is now volunteering at the Salvation Army, Mr. Watson is volunteering at the 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter, Mr. Heasley and Ms. Sanniti are handling ongoing matters, and Ms. Lewis and Ms. Gold-Scott are awaiting placement.

Archived CHLAP Newsletters

Issue 14 - November 2011

Issue 13 - October 2011

Issue 12 - September 2011
Issue 11 - August 2011
Issue 10 - June/July 2011
Issue 9 - May 2011
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 

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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.

Visit CHLAP online - click here for the latest updates, volunteer materials, and other information.

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!