National Coalition for the Homeless Opening First-Ever Field Office in Cleveland

click to enlarge Rally for Metanoia/Denison UCC, 1/6/2020 - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Rally for Metanoia/Denison UCC, 1/6/2020

The National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy coalition based in Washington D.C., is opening its first-ever field office in Cleveland.

Brian Davis, the former director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) was hired to lead the office earlier this year. It will focus on grassroots organizing and civil rights protections for the poor and unhoused and will work to establish relationships with homeless organizations across the Midwest. 

The office will be located at the CleWorx space on E. 105th Street, near the University Circle VA. To formally launch the office, the national organization's executive director, Donald Whitehead, will host a forum on racial equity, homelessness and housing segregation at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Brian Davis spoke with Scene last month about the opening of the field office. He said Cleveland was selected, in part, for the strength of its existing advocacy and for the important gains NEOCH has made under the leadership of Chris Knestrick during the pandemic.

Between March and December of 2020, for example, there was a 30% decrease in unsheltered homelessness in Cleveland, due largely to expanded street outreach and an increase in bed capacity through a county program to temporarily provide socially distanced shelter at area hotels. (That program earned most of its publicity when Independence mayor Gregory Kurtz pressured County Executive Armond Budish into aborting a contract there.) 

In a press release, the National Coalition for the Homeless said it selected Cleveland for its first field office because the city has been among the five poorest in the country for the past 20 years but has been home to some of the most innovative approaches in the battle against homelessness. Cleveland has scored "historic [legal] victories with national implications" in the areas of voting, panhandling and preventing sweeps.

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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