"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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NOT FUN FACT: Last year there were nearly 3,000 homeless students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Join me and Stand In on June 29th at Public Square with @thecitymission to show support + amplify the voices of thousands of children, and discover how we can help these hurting neighbors moving forward. ✖️Registration details in our story.