I'm Back... Sorta.

This is my blog on homelessness.

To view my blog on personal stuff, i.e. life with a baby, daily mumblings about this and that and such, go here.

I'm not deleting this blog. I'll try to update more often than every few months, but that's no guarantee. I'm officially back at work so I'll have more interesting tales of homelessness to tell.

More to come...


Work Week Graffiti.

It's been a long week at work... I can't finish anything and I forget everything that I'm supposed to do... so.. yeah, not much gets done on my end. I've written my tasks all over the place in hopes I'll remember, but no. If I worked corporate I wouldn't give a shit if I did my tasks, but since I work for a homeless advocacy group I feel I gotta do my part. One of the things I'm supposed to do is recruit people (women, since we had none at the last mtg) to join the Homeless Congress. I've been helping with the Congress for a year + it's a way for homeless/formerly homeless people from all backgrounds + shelters to join together + make changes in the community. We invite people from the County, City, Mayor's office and even the State to talk with the Congress. It really is a great idea. I just haven't got around to recruiting more people so our numbers are sliding. I can't justify being lazy for a good cause... I can explain why I'm lazy, but I can't justify it.


I guess it's now obvious that I'm pregnant. A man at the bus stop said to me yesterday, "Hey lady, how long you've been pregnant?" He then asked if I know the sex and I said I should by next week [update: I now know it's a boy!]. To which he expressed his hopes that the baby will be a "guy." It was funny b/c the guy was homeless and was assured that I was a student at Cleveland State. Maybe I'll see him at 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter + he'll be set straight. It's always strange talking to a homeless person outside my work, especially when they ask for money to "help the homeless." I make pennies b/c my job is to "help the homeless."

Speaking of panhandlers...(and not all who panhandle are homeless and not all homeless people panhandle) the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (the street cleaners/safety patrol) have started a campaign to discourage people from giving to panhandlers. Will this really work? It's somewhat of a personal choice if a person wants to give up a buck or two. Instead, the Alliance plans to install boxes where people can make donations to homeless service agencies. I don't know who these agencies are or what they'll do with their dollar donations. In an article in the PD, it said panhandlers often beg for money for a bus pass but they can get free passes at local churches. ???? How come I didn't know of this? One of the biggest complaints is the lack of available transportation. I asked my supervisor about this + apparently the churches only give out like 4 passes a month to a person. So that really doesn't help.

And I'm sick of all this talk about tourists come to this city. Their virgin eyes!! We should ditch "Cleveland+" and advertise ourselves as the #1 City for Poverty. Come to Cleveland and meet interesting homeless people! Try to count all the abandoned buildings on Euclid Ave.! Which store will be the next to close? Just a thought.

It's Been Awhile:: An Update.

I haven't posted here in forever + I plan to change that (though I always say this). But first, here's what's up.

+ Still working for the homeless advocacy coalition in Cleveland so expect a lot more on homelessness.
+ I'm gonna be a mother in January. Yes, I'm gonna be an unschooling, cloth diaper using, welfare relying, breastfeeding in public, stereotype breakin' mother of one. A boy, and he's due in January.

That being said, I will probably cross post some old stuff and then keep this blog regularly updated.


New Blog.

I created a new blog about personal stuff:

New Blog

And no, I don't update it more often than this blog. Yes I know that's sad.


Half a Week.

It's only the middle of the week and so far too much has happened. We all know about the tragedy that happened at Virginia Tech so I won't say much more on that. I really don't have anything "new" to add other than that I keep hearing that Nickelback song play on and on and it depresses me.

I'm one of only a handful of people that know about a recent hate crime committed against a homeless person that happened in Cleveland. I personally spoke to the victim and he asked me to respect his privacy so there's not much I'm going to say other than that this is a full-out national epidemic. This man was beaten on the head with a 2x4 by some kids. Apparently the new trend in teenage entertainment is to beat/throw things at/set fire to people that happen to be homeless. Across the state, across the nation, it is happening all the time with many incidents not even reported to the police.

A few weeks ago, a man in Florida was beaten with a cinder block by three kids--one of them was seventeen and the other two were ten years old. The man nearly died.

The National Coalition for the Homeless released their 2006 Hate Crimes Committed Against Homeless People report. Check it out to get a full portrait of this epidemic.

Also this week: I got notice that ODOT is doing a sweep of a homeless camp. Why--It's located near a freeway in a marginal area. Who cares. If these people are safe, let them be so they aren't forced into a more dangerous area, making them become the next victims.


War on the Streets, War in the Garden.

A woman living on E. 71st gets cited for a fence she constructed around a homemade healing garden. In the St. Clair-Superior neighbor, officials are worried about a fence that surrounds a garden dedicated to the people who've been murdered on the street??? Our city officials at work, I guess...



Gray City.

[I started writing this last week....then stopped. I figured I should as least post what I have.]
Finally the sun is making an appearance over the snow engulfed city, reminding us that all gray skies must come to an end. For the past few days, it's been February all over again. The Indians have yet to finish a game and now they're moving their "home" games to Milwaukee. Easter was colder and more snow-packed than Christmas. We had one day of almost 80 degree weather only to wake up to below 30 degrees the next day. Some say "well that's Cleveland for you--don't be surprised."

We are a city of browns and grays.

[And I swear this was going somewhere... probably to my "Let's Be Positive, Cleveland!" rant, but I'm sure that will spill over into another post.]


Homeless Congress + the Press.

The Homeless Congress has gotten some press lately. On March 9th, the Congress was featured in the Plain Dealer's Metro section, complete with a photo of everyone at the Congress, even the people who said they didn't want to be photographed. Brian of NEOCH looked like Jesus. I, and my co-worker Josh, were the bewildered followers of this sweat shirted "Christ" staring at him in awe, or whatever. Funny photo.
The Congress was also written about in the Free Times in the "Rust Belt Report" which slightly bashed us. The Free Times has become annoying. It just seems like they want to bitch and bash rather than cover real events. The fact that the homeless shelters in Cleveland have NO minimum operating standards is--correct me if I'm wrong--scary. The Congress is actively trying to change this. Congress reps have written a list of proposed minimum standards to be adopted by all homeless emergency standards. This is big and exciting in the homeless community and I just hope some of the "alternative" presses will pick up on it. Hey, the PD caught on.