Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) was honored to host a table at yesterday afternoon’s City Club forum, ‘Safe and Sound: Addressing the Crisis of Family Homelessness‘. We are grateful to the panelists for sharing their experiences with family homelessness and educating attendees on the magnitude of the problem we face today in Cleveland. As partners in providing the County’s family overflow shelter, and budding affordable housing developers ourselves, we want to take this opportunity to continue the discussion by highlighting some promising solutions to family homelessness being advanced in our region.

  1. Various non-profits have created innovative affordable housing solutions for people in crisis, including LMM’s own ‘Breaking New Ground’ initiative and the City Mission’s ‘New Horizons’ program, which was mentioned during yesterday’s forum. Additionally, we congratulate the work of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Building Hope in the City, and others to advance efforts to end homelessness and housing vacancy in Cleveland.
  2. Our local Continuum of Care, headed by the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, has increased permanent housing opportunities through Rapid Rehousing for families leaving homelessness. These time-limited vouchers are accompanied by case management thanks to collaboration between FrontLine Service and EDEN, inc.
  3. Several advocacy items have made headway in recent months. Legal Aid discussed their Right to Counsel initiative at today’s forum, which LMM supports. LMM also commends the work of our partners in the County Housing Stakeholders’ Fair Housing Working Group, including Enterprise and the Fair Housing Center, for advancing Source of Income protections locally. Other advocacy items LMM will continue to support include banning the box on housing applications to prevent disparate impact on households with criminal records and increasing the minimum wage to be a living wage ($10.80 in Cuyahoga County for a single person).

Moving forward, we must continue to build on the resources that are already available and work together as a community to address the crisis of family homelessness.