February/March 2012
bttopCleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 17
Local Shelters' Opinion Sought on Third-Party Grievance Process
Ban the Box




Cuyahoga County is currently working to craft a new system to handle grievances filed by residents against publicly-funded homeless shelters by employing the services of a neutral third party.  The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) has joined the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) in surveying shelters to gain their insight and input into this important issue.  


Although shelters provide a great service for the local homeless population, disputes sometimes arise over such issues of critical importance to residents such as disposal of personal property and admittance. Currently, when residents have a dispute with a shelter they have no recourse to appeal an adverse decision. It is NEOCH's and the County's hope that standardizing the grievance process by placing responsibility in the hands of a neutral third party will free up valuable resources for shelters, as well as address the needs of those experiencing homelessness.


This month, the CMBA will send letters to 40 local, publicly-funded shelters inviting them to submit their ideas, concerns, and suggestions for such a process. The Cleveland process will look to the shelters' input as well as best practice models across the country.

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Awards and Honors 

NEOCH Honors Subodh Chandra and Brent Stowe at Annual Meeting


At its 2012 Annual Meeting on March 15, NEOCH gave its Advocate of the Year Award to attorney Subodh Chandra and Volunteer of the Year Award to graphic artist Brent Stowe. 
Chandra is a former federal prosecutor and law director for the City of Cleveland whose is being honored for his significant efforts in Ohio protecting the voting rights of minority, low-income, and elderly voters. Chandra served as attorney for NEOCH in a lawsuit against the state of Ohio to protect the right to vote by homeless people who do not have identification, which lawsuit resulted in a standard for counting provisional ballots in Ohio that will help guide the upcoming presidential election.

Stowe, who works at American Greetings, donated his services to design the newly-revitalized Cleveland Street Chronicle, a street newspaper intended to give a voice to the homeless. His assistance has led to the Cleveland Street Chronicle's new, distinctive look and increased sales for the vendors due to the newspaper's professional appearance.
Upcoming clinics & events


Housing Ohio 2012

Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio Annual Conference
April 16 & 17 - Columbus
For a full listing of workshops and to register, visit COHHIO at cohhio.org or click here

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.
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 


Judge Agrees to Trial on Vets and Homelessness

On March 20, the Washington Post reported that a federal judge in California has agreed to a trial in a class-action lawsuit alleging that Department of Veterans Affairs' policies leave veterans suffering from mental disorders at risk of homelessness. Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California also dismissed portions of the suit, including claims alleging a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the VA. Otero said the plaintiffs had failed to explain how disabled veterans have been denied access to VA housing programs but agreed to allow attorneys to amend their claim with further information. The lawsuit, filed in June by several homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area and the group Vietnam Veterans of America, asks the court to order the VA to use empty buildings at a Los Angeles medical center campus to provide permanent supportive housing for some veterans, such as those who the plaintiffs argue require a stable home environment for successful treatment. David Sapp, an attorney for the homeless veterans, called the ruling "the first time a judge has ruled that the federal government has a legally enforceable obligation to ensure that veterans can access the benefits for which they [are] otherwise entitled."

Click here for full article, or here for article by CNN.


Cuyahoga, Stark Counties Want a Home for Veterans

On March 20, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that state and county officials are exploring the possibility of building a third state-run veterans home in Ohio, providing long-term residential health care for low-income, disabled vets. Two such homes, managed by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, are located in Sandusky and Georgetown, in southwest Ohio, with more than 700 residents. Both Cuyahoga and Stark county officials are interested in landing the new home, though the facility would join a state system that currently has unfilled beds. In 2010, a report by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission on the feasibility of building a home in Northeast Ohio found that roughly 40 percent of the state's 800,000-plus veterans lived in Northeast Ohio, most in Cuyahoga, Summit and Lake counties. That percentage is expected to remain the same, even as the overall veteran population declines, according to the report. 

Click here for full article.

Cleveland Homeless Families Given Evening of Song, Reading, Dramatization
On Feb. 23, News Channel 5 reported that Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Project ACT held The Reading Company, an interactive night of song, reading and dramatizations of a story.  The goal of The Reading Company is to provide an opportunity for students and parents, living in emergency shelters and doubled-up situations to come together and experience the fun of reading.  On Feb. 23 five actors at the Idea Center in Playhouse Square brought to life the book "Inspector Hopper" by Doug Cushman. Project ACT works to ensure that homeless children have the same access to education as housed students, and seeks to break down the barriers that may prevent these students from attending school.
Click here for full article; for more on The Reading Company click here.

In This Issue
Awards and Honors
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Cleveland Power Summit
2012 Intake Schedule
Archived Newsletters
Cleveland Power Summit
Working Together to End Poverty
Saturday, March 24
St. Ignatius High School (Lorain/W. 30)
8:30 a.m  - 3:00 p.m.

Please join Organize Ohio, NEOCH, and 40 more community advocacy and social justice groups for the Cleveland Power Summit.  Organize Ohio is hosting this event to lay out an agenda for housing, heatlh care, environmental justice, education, children's issues, and living wage jobs. They will hear concerns from the community and plan a strategy for change. The event includes free breakfast and lunch for attendees. 

To register please visit Organize Ohio at www.organizeohio.org.
2012 Intake Schedule
For the current 2012 Intake Schedule, please click here.  If you have not done so already, please review the posted schedule and contact Melissa Zujkowski if you need to make an adjustment.
Phone: (216) 583-7364
Archived CHLAP Newsletters

Issue 16 - January 2012

Issue 15 - December 2011

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 

CMBA Logo Clear
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: 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!