About Portraits of Homelessness

Photos and stories of men who are homeless

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside is the largest shelter in Ohio, serving over 4,500 men who are homeless each year. The Portraits of Homelessness collection has been showing throughout the Greater Cleveland area since 2010, including Cleveland’s City Hall. Full funding for the exhibit was provided by The Dominion Foundation and Community West Foundation.

According to Lydia Bailey, Volunteer Coordinator at the shelter and photographer of the collection, “When you see the expression on a person’s face; hear the inflection in a person’s voice; work with a person who is homeless and know their strengths, begin to know their challenges– you pick up on the individual. These are individuals with concerns and hopes like yours and mine. Through this show, I hope to convey their gifts and vital personalities as well as the confusing, fearful and damaging elements of homelessness.”

Michael Sering, Director of Housing & Shelter at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry said, “In this show we can see a powerful microcosm of humanity and society- strength and frailty, brokenness and resilience, hope and sorrow, and indeed potential.”

For further information on Portraits of Homelessness, contact Lydia Bailey at 216-649-7723.

The Portraits of Homelessness collection features 45 photographs and stories of residents from the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside

Read some of their stories below

Willie Maddox

Willie Maddox

Willie died in August of 2009. A friend remembers: One night we both were at a meeting. He missed his bus. I was driving, so I invited him to my place. I was worried about having to wrestle with him if he got intoxicated, but the next morning I found him sitting...

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Willie Griggs

Willie Griggs

I wrote Black poetry in the 60s to the mid-70s. It was a flavor of the times--about opening your eyes to who you were as a black person in America. I was with a group that combined poetry with singing and dance until we got it just right--juuust riiight. If you...

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Tim Mruk

Tim Mruk

I was the oldest son of 10 kids. I heard a lot of abuse in my family. After my dad died, my mom couldn't afford all us kids, so she pushed me out. When I got out of prison after 25 years, no one was happy to see me. I didn't feel wanted by family. I'd like to part of...

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Steve Golak

Steve Golak

My name is Stew Golak, but I never go by that anymore, only "Tiger." I'm 73 but don't feel that old. I was born in Buffalo. The winters there are terrible. Oh, man! You think you have a lot of snow here, you ought to go to Buffalo. We came to Cleveland, and I went to...

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Raymel Johnson

Raymel Johnson

I became homeless after a few wrong choices back on New Year's Eve, 1999. I put all my belongings in two large garbage bags and took them to a friend's house for safekeeping. That night I met someone who gave me her last $8.00--she's been my friend ever since. Because...

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Ralph Pack Williams

Ralph Pack Williams

There has been a strong upswing of people sliding through the cracks, becoming homeless. Thirty years ago there were tons of cheap hotels, cheap apartments, flophouses, around here in Cleveland ... these were the good days of homelessness. We all have to admit how...

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Marvin Harris

Marvin Harris

I was an issue, for years trouble at the shelter. You'd see me under the influence, raising hell, and good at egging others on. Then, and there's no way to explain it, you didn't see me in trouble. If the group was drunk and dumb, I was sober and working. I only had...

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Marco Henderson

Marco Henderson

Between living, volunteering, and now working at 2100, I understand these guys pretty well. There's guys here who have done time in prison, so their life is already full of bosses; guards, social workers, unit staff-authority that can put you in the hole. Some people...

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Jeremy Moses

Jeremy Moses

I'm 19, one of the youngest people here, and my 3rd time in a shelter. Before 2100 I was at Project Hope in Painesville, and before that Union Mission in Norfolk, Virginia-- I got left there by people who I thought were my friends. I've been in shelters because I have...

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Hector Castro

Hector Castro

I wanted to help at 2100. So this summer I oversaw the shelter’s vegetable and flower garden at 23rd and St. Clair. At 6 to 8 years old in El Salvador, I tried to work. I didn’t even have clothes, shoes, just a little ripped shirt. But I was able to help my mom in the...

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Frank Goulding

Frank Goulding

The old one sat there drinking his coffee. It should have been a joyous day. He had his housing voucher- that should have been enough to make him at least a little happy. A man who slept across from him lay there snoring. Booming over the loudspeaker was the...

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Eric Asazawa

Eric Asazawa

I was good with computers, but I didn't have a degree. People asked me for help with computer problems everywhere I worked. I learned the technology to help them, teaching myself. For years I helped with web development, support, systems administration, network...

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David Majka

David Majka

I started out in a little town on the west coast of Scotland. We had a fairly big family, 7 kids, and we got caught up in a rift with another big family. It was to the point where someone was going to get killed--so the families agreed to just stop. We moved down to...

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Benigno (Ben) Rivera

Benigno (Ben) Rivera

I was at the end of a vicious cycle when I arrived at 2100. For the last 25 years I was in and out of Penitentiary. Addicted to heroin, I'd be on the streets for 6 months, in the Penn for a couple of years. Finally I was homeless for the last 5-6 years, either living...

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Barry Harris

Barry Harris

Today I am happy for the simple things; fixing breakfast, clothing myself, seeing someone else smile, knowing God is in this day. I was born and raised in Cleveland with a twin brother by the name of Larry. I had 8 brothers and sisters. My mom worked hard to help us....

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Lynn Anderson

Lynn Anderson

2100, a place so supposedly dismal, is where I had the opportunity to garden and do murals. I always lived in apartments, never had the opportunity for gardening or for painting; I never had the space, never had the equipment. I learned about vegetable gardens - even...

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Robert Moncrief

Robert Moncrief

It's lingered in the back of my mind: I served my country, protected people, and now, being a veteran, nobody seems like they give a damn whether I do or don't. When I first arrived at 2100, I was so stressed out that I just wanted to end my life - go down to the...

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