Homeless PROTEST police sweeps in Cleveland, Ohio, USA FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 15:01:15 -0800 (PST)

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S VIEWS, News, Alerts, Actions & Research
7,000+ ONLINE POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn
INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>

If you've been involved in protesting Cleveland's Street Sweeps,
please email your comments & alerts To: <HPN@aspin.asu.edu>.

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Dec 10, 1999 02:00


     Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) _ The mayor, trying to keep city streets safe,
orders police to tell panhandlers and people sleeping on sidewalks
to move along. Those who don't cooperate can be arrested.

Social activists and the homeless protest. They say the city is
criminalizing the plight of street people and making their lives

That's not the latest news in New York City.

It's the situation in Cleveland, where Democratic Mayor Michael
R. White has come under some of the same criticism as his
Republican counterpart in New York, Rudolph Giuliani, for starting
a program to get homeless people off the sidewalk.

There are some differences between the programs, among them the
size of the homeless population. In New York, it's about 23,000 and
in Cleveland about 3,000. About 100 people have been jailed in New
York's crackdown, compared with two arrests in Cleveland.

And White says Cleveland's program, which started on Nov. 26,
wasn't influenced by Giuliani's efforts. Still, many of the
objections are similar to those heard in New York.

``The intent of the policy is to move poverty out of sight so
they will have a peaceful shopping season,'' said Brian Davis,
executive director of the nonprofit Northeast Ohio Coalition for
the Homeless. ``The effect is homeless people are further alienated
from the community.''

White announced the policy on the day after Thanksgiving _ the
traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.

``As we move forward with plans for the millennium celebration
and upcoming holidays, we want to ensure that everyone knows our
intention to keep our streets safe for our citizens,'' White said
at the time. ``This year is like no other.''

White said he was trying to balance the rights of the homeless
with the rights of citizens walking down the street. Cleveland has
an ordinance that prohibits people from blocking the sidewalk.

White, who declined a request for an interview about the policy
this week, also ordered that police hand out information cards
telling the homeless where to find shelter.

But that does little good, the homeless and their advocates say.

Cleveland has only about 1,000 emergency shelter beds, so on any
given night 2,000 people have no choice but to stay on the street,
Davis said.

And if homeless people don't make it into a shelter by about
9:30 p.m., the shelter won't let them in.

So if someone is sleeping on a warm steam grate late at night,
as is often the case in cold weather, and gets rousted out, all
that person can do is walk the streets or find someplace to sleep
out of sight: an alley, an abandoned building or under a bridge,
said Robert ``Ron'' Igoe, 31, who has been homeless off and on for
about six years.

Igoe said he prefers to sleep on a downtown sidewalk because it
is lighted and therefore relatively safe. Places out of sight are
more dangerous, he said.

The policy ``amounts to cruelty,'' he said. ``If they're going
to clear the streets they could do so with a little humanity and

Ron Reinhart, director of a Salvation Army program for
chronically homeless men, said the policy has resulted in homeless
people retreating ``farther back into the shadows, where they are
much more difficult to find.''

When it's harder to reach the homeless, it's also harder to help
them, he said.
</p><p>So far, homeless advocates have had only limited success
bringing attention to the city's policy.

About 40 street people and activists protested the program at a
City Council meeting this week but the legislative body did not
discuss the matter.

However U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat and former
Cleveland mayor, held a fact-finding hearing about the homeless
problem in Cleveland on Thursday and pledged to pass on the
testimony he gathered to congressional leaders. Kucinich helped
secure funding for the Salvation Army's homeless program earlier
this year

``Right now we're in a season where people celebrate the finest
aspects of human nature,'' Kucinich said. ``It's particularly
poignant at this time to learn of families out on the street.''

End advance for release PMs of Friday, Dec. 10, &amp; thereafter

AP-CS-12-09-99 1402EST
Received  Id AP9934470F5A59B on Dec 09 1999 13:02


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material
is distributed without charge or profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information
for non-profit research and educational purposes only.**

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn>
7,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy