Painseville, OH votes shelter permit at packed Council, despite

Tom Boland (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:21:20 -0400

3,000+ posts by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
FWD  Cleveland [Ohio] Plain Dealer - Wednesday, November 18, 1998

  By James Lawless - Plain Dealer Reporter

PAINESVILLE - For nearly two hours, Painesville City Council watched an
unprecedented parade of witnesses bearing the same message: It is more
blessed to give than to receive.

For the fifth consecutive year, city leaders were being asked to allow a
shelter for the homeless to operate for six cold-weather months in
Painesville United Methodist Church in the heart of the city's picturesque
Veterans Memorial Park. They eventually approved the shelter's permit,
despite initial misgivings about Painesville being the only community in
the county willing to host the shelter.

Not only was the room crowded Monday night with people filling every seat
and standing against the walls, but still others were outside in the
hallway where they could not hear the discussion.

About 150 people came to urge good deeds.

Capt. Michael Sheriff of the Salvation Army said he wholeheartedly
supported Project Hope for the Homeless, the name given to the shelter that
housed 15 to 25 people every night last year.

"We put some of our money in motels, but the people need more than just a
place to stay," he said. "There are wonderful stories coming out of Project

David Pinkston, a former shelter resident, said the shelter helped him get
a new start in life.

"I'm back on my feet now and went to Kent State," he said, as he urged
council to support the shelter. "If your car has a little tick, you don't
want to shove it away."

Loud applause followed Pinkston's emotional speech.

There were priests and ministers, and one woman who said she was the only
nun in the group. They were from Mentor and Willoughby and Geauga County,
Fairport Harbor and Painesville. Most were from Painesville.

The message over and again was that everyone is only a couple of paychecks
away from being homeless.

Judy Cognata, who runs the Senior Center restaurant next door to Project
Hope, said the homeless had caused her some problems but she still supports

One Painesville woman told council she is proud to "live in a town where
the homeless are taken care of." She said her son spent weeks building a
fort in his back yard and, when he was done, offered it as a shelter for
the homeless.

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