Friday, March 31, 2006

Latest Grapevine Gives Bullhorn to Homeless

Press Release
For more information call 216-432-0540
or email

A fantastic new issue of The Homeless Grapevine has just been dropped on Cleveland! Our front page explains the dangers faced everyday by homeless people and singles out Ohio as the 4th most dangerous state to be homeless. The article, based on the National Coalition for the Homeless’s Hate Crime report, mentions the beating of a homeless individual on Public Square by two young men with a stick, and another individual who had a brick thrown at him as examples of Ohio’s intolerance toward homeless people.

Further evidence of the dangers of homelessness can be found in our center pages, where we mourn the individuals who died from homelessness in Cleveland in 2005. Over 40 individuals were known to have passed away in 2005, and a candlelight vigil was held in December to honor them.

On a slightly more positive note, an interview with Rick Oliver and Ann Poston of Mental Health Services details the efforts MHS underwent to house approximately 850 men, women, and children who came to Cleveland last year in the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. According to the interview, Cleveland was the only area of the country to house 100% of the Katrina evacuees seeking assistance, and did so with a paltry $200,000 from FEMA.

But, for those in New Orleans, the situation is decidedly more grim. A commentary submitted via email details former staff writer Pete Domanovic’s experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans, saying at one point, “I have never witnessed so much corruption and mismanagement in my life.”

Domanovic’s commentary is one of several in Issue 75 that were submitted from distant locales, proving that Northeast Ohio’s street newspaper is a premiere venue for getting the voices of homeless people into the media. For instance, in this issue, we catch up with Joseph Smith, a man we interviewed in Issue 72 (“Local Homeless Man Lives Outside of Shelter System”), and he describes the struggles he has faced since moving from Cleveland to Kentucky last year. Additionally, former Grapevine writer and author Bridget Reilly (Real Life in the Marginal World) contributed a commentary to this issue in which she discusses the historical roots of US poverty policies and the negative effects they still engender today.

Inside, readers will also discover that Mayor Frank Jackson took an unannounced tour of Cleveland homeless shelters in an effort to better understand the issues facing the homeless community. Mayor Jackson met with elected representatives from the various shelters, and stressed that he would work with homeless people, care providers, and the Coalition for the Homeless on the large number of issues which came up during the tour.

As already discussed, The Homeless Grapevine always features original commentaries. An enlightening commentary about the Bush administration’s “six year old war on American Cities” takes the Bush administration to task for its efforts to “weaken cities politically and starve them by cutting finances.” The commentary brilliantly weaves a segment from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report to underscore its message.

One of the running themes of Issue 75 is the idea of grassroots democracy, and increased citizen participation. To that end, our Editorial asks homeless people and all of our readers to submit their ideas to improve Cleveland. Citing initiatives from Gateway to the controversial Convention Center, the Editorial derides the historic tendency in Cleveland to seek “silver-bullet” solutions to its woes, and calls for greater citizen participation in Cleveland’s future. The Editorial promises to publish all idea submissions on The Homeless Grapevine’s weblog (, and will reprint the best suggestions for improving Cleveland in future issues.

As always, Cleveland’s Voice for Social Justice has much more, including original poetry, feature articles, photographs, and more! Pick up Issue 75 at the West Side Market, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless offices, or from any licensed vendor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Street Slave has recently posted a new streaming media interview with Tim , A Houston Texas homeless man who has been living on the streets since November after a back injury, his interview is uncut and full of insight to the life of a homeless person. you can see his interview by clicking here

10:24 PM  

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