A Recap of The Homeless Coalition’s Community Forum
On Wednesday, January 17th, The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition hosted a community forum to discuss the history of homelessness, communicate their 2018 advocacy plan, and answer questions from locals about the homelessness crisis in Hamilton County. In an effort to better understand how we might fit into this movement, we attended the forum seeking information on the extent of the crisis, as well as some insight into what is being done to fix the problem.
Mark Mussman, educational director of the Homeless Coalition, kicked off the forum by establishing that “homelessness is not a moral failing of the individual, but a systemic issue.” Mussman walked the audience through the changes in economic policy over the last 87 year that have ultimately led to the homelessness crisis of today.
Director of development for the Homeless Coalition, Mona Jenkins, followed with details on how the coalition works to eradicate homelessness through coordinating services, educating the public, engaging with grassroots organizations and advocacy.
Finally, Josh Springs, executive director of the coalition, took to the podium to inform the audience of the extent of the homelessness crisis in Hamilton County.
Springs explained that Cincinnati is among the top 10 cities in the country with the highest eviction rates, and how 70% of local families seeking shelter will be turned away due to lack of available resources.
Springs went on to outline what the coalition planned to do in 2018 to address the crisis, and how those in attendance could aid the coalition in reaching those goals.
The advocacy goals of the coalition include the achievement of the following:
Full funding for the Winter Shelter
Establishing an Affordable Housing Trust fund
Increasing Human Services funding
Drafting a Homeless Bill of Rights
Retaining and increasing safe and affordable housing
Organizing subsidized housing nearing expiry
Springs asked the audience to pick one of the advocacy goals, and pick a councilman or woman to email, call, or meet with to discuss the issue and the proposed solution.
“There will be some people we can’t convince, and that’s okay, but I think there’s a lot more of us that will see this is an issue,” Springs closed before opening the floor up for questions from the audience and from those watching on Facebook live.
The event took place in the Tower Room of the Cincinnati Public Library with approximately 60 people in attendance.