City Mission to Host Stand In for Homeless Children on Public Square June 29

On June 29, the nonprofit City Mission plans to occupy Public Square for a "Stand In for homeless children" to raise awareness on the issue of child homelessness in Cleveland. The organization hopes to turn out 3,000 participants, reflecting the number of homeless children currently circulating in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

"As we thought about the crisis and how to communicate this, we thought we need to do something visible, we need to do something a little disruptive and we need to do something that would get people's attention," City Mission CEO Rev. Richard Trickel said in an informational video (see above). "So we thought, what better than to rent Public Square, right in the middle of our city."

CMSD is the second-largest school district in the state, with a total of 38,949 students. Effectively eight percent of those students live without permanent residences.

"Most of them are living doubled-up," Trickel said in the video. "What that means is they and their moms are sleeping on somebody's couch or somebody's floor. So they're just floating in our city."

To call this a crisis is not unfounded: According to a December report from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), the number of people seeking homelessness services increased by 20 percent from 2012 to 2017. More startling, however, is the substantial increase in the number of infants seeking services, which increased by 53 percent over the 5-year period.

Trickel said the common denominator for the public is a lack of awareness on the issue. "As we started to talk about this, I always got the same response: 'I had no idea, I had no idea, I had no idea,'" he said.

The event runs from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 29. Kicking off with live music, the event features a poetry slam and speeches by city and community leaders, culminating at 6 p.m. with a "Stand in moment."

"This is our moment to stand in," Trickel said.

To register for the event and find more information, click here.

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