Volunteers with Santa at Twinkle Shop in 2014.
Homelessness: in metropolitan areas across the country, it can seem like a problem too big to solve—a faceless, nameless community condition destined to always be with us.
Not so here in Cleveland, where we can not only count but name every individual and family experiencing homelessness.
Even more importantly, here in Cleveland ending homelessness is close within our reach.
“You can tell just by walking down the street that we are winning against homelessness,” says Eric Morse, Chief Operating Officer of FrontLine Service. “Fifteen years ago, there were 60 people sleeping on the streets of Cleveland on any given night. Today there are a handful.”
This progress is a result of effective collaboration between local nonprofits, the City of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County, as well as the caring spirit of the people of Northeast Ohio.
FrontLine is working with other Greater Cleveland nonprofits to end homelessness for people in our community:
Ending youth homelessness before Christmas: FrontLine is part of A Place 4 Me, a community coalition leading Cleveland’s 100-Day Challenge to house 100 homeless youth in 100 days and strengthen systems so no child in Cuyahoga County ages out of foster care and into homelessness ever again.
Ensuring no veteran is homeless: Next year, FrontLine will announce an end to homelessness for Northeast Ohio veterans as a result of expanding housing and services for veterans in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties.
Providing housing and support for families: FrontLine staff members interface with every family in Cuyahoga County who are in need of shelter, to make sure that no family spends even a single night on the streets.
“The holidays can be very hard for families without stable housing, especially for children.” Eric explains. “But people in Cleveland pull together and do their part to help one another.”
The generosity of the community will be on display on December 14th at FrontLine’s annual Twinkle Shop event. FrontLine staff and more than 100 community volunteers will welcome 52 families who are battling poverty and homelessness to enjoy a warm, festive evening where:
- Every child leaves with a new winter coat.
- Parents and children select gift items donated by local individuals and businesses so that every member of the family has presents to unwrap on Christmas morning.
- Families enjoy a hot meal, make holiday crafts, and experience a heart-warming holiday celebration.
Donations of holiday gift items and financial contributions are still needed to make Twinkle Shop a success and to provide support for homeless families and individuals all year-round. If you are interested in giving to FrontLine Service this holiday season or any time, please contact Director of Development Corrie Taylor at 216.274.3492 or Corrie.Taylor@FrontLineService.org.
FrontLine Service provides the largest and most comprehensive continuum of care for homeless individuals and families in Ohio. Its staff members go to the places where homeless children and adults are—on the streets and in unstable and unsafe conditions—and bring emergency housing and support services to more than 16,000 people every year. Learn more at www.frontlineservice.org.
About the Author
Dana Textoris is Chair of the Development Committee for the Board of Directors of FrontLine Service and an Executive Consultant at Grants Plus. She is an enthusiastic vegan home cook and proud resident of Lakewood who plans to cling to her “young professional” status in YNPN Cleveland until the membership committee decides to kick her out.