A group of community members concerned about the growing homeless population in Cleveland and Bradley County recently established a fund at the Community Foundation to benefit the Cleveland Emergency Shelter. Their goal is not only to provide funds to the Shelter, but also to educate other community members on the issue of homelessness and how they can help move toward a real and lasting solution to the problem.
Who Are the Homeless?
While our society often stereotypes the homeless as lazy or complacent, they are almost always victims of the same circumstances that affect many of us and those we love (reduced job opportunities, lack of affordable housing, domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction disorders). Today, 40% of American households are 1 missed paycheck away from poverty.
Approximately 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year. Among them:
- 39% are children, with 45% of those children under the age of 5
- Approximately 40% are currently or recently employed
How Do We Care for Them?
We Don’t Give a Hand Out…. We Provide a Hand UP
The first priority of the Cleveland Emergency Shelter is to provide the homeless their daily, basic physical needs (food and shelter). However, we are not about giving a hand out but rather a hand UP. We must address the cause of homelessness for each family/individual to move them toward the goal of permanent housing.
Our comprehensive program offers support that promotes, empowers, and nurtures families and individuals. These services include, but are not limited to:
- Case management
- Family/individual counseling
- Job search
- Life skills training
- Budgeting training
Once a family or individual finds employment, we have the opportunity to provide transitional housing next to our current facility on Wildwood Avenue. Transitional programs allow families and individuals who need services to further develop the stability, confidence, and coping skills needed to sustain permanent housing.
What Will Your $ Help Accomplish at the Shelter?
Additions to our job search and life skills program including:
- Computer stations available where clients can create resumes, search for jobs, and search for housing with the help of our trained job and life skill coaches.
- A van to shuttle homeless persons to and from work during second and third shift hours. The local public transportation system, Cleveland Urban Area Transportation System terminates early in the evening preventing residents from having access to jobs after those hours. This prevents a significant percentage of our homeless residents from maintaining evening employment.
Structural improvements including:
- A new workspace specifically for case management and counseling. This workspace will help us provide people with plans on how to lift themselves out of poverty sustainably, without compromising their privacy.
- Basic maintenance of facilities (roof repairs, appliances, etc.) to ensure it is a safe and healthy environment.
To learn more about Cleveland Emergency Shelter, visit their website.
Donations are made by simply writing a check to the Foundation designated to the Cleveland Emergency Shelter Fund or online through the Donate Button.