There are approximately 2,000 people using shelters every night which includes families, and single adults.
This statistic comprises 85% of the homeless population of which 62% are adult males. The adult female homeless population is around 21%, and children make up about 15% of the homeless.
There is a typical preconception of homeless people as drug addicts or alcoholics or prostitutes or lazy, but this is not true of all. Many are the long term unemployed and the working poor.
Harry Boomer sets the stage in his TV show, 43 Forum, for a larger discussion about the population of our fellow homeless citizens.
Harry discusses homelessness in detail with Brian Davies of Hands on Northeast Ohio, a community based citizen managed volunteer initiative and Carol Anthony, coordinator of the Homeless Stand Down which is a leading homeless advocacy organization in Cleveland.
Northeast Ohio went through a rough downturn and for reasons including Federal dollars that flowed into the community; there was ability to serve everyone who came to the shelters.
That was an accomplishment. Those dollars have run out in 2012 and so now we're at the point where we're seeing increasing numbers, especially an increasing number in the winter.
More and more families become homeless over the course of each year.
According to Mr. Davies one reason for all the homelessness is the number of foreclosures that exits in the community. Also contributing to this issue is lack of jobs available.
Homelessness is especially difficult for a family. Trying to maintain a child's school during relocation is challenging and the bureaucracy of homelessness is often difficult. Agencies, such as Homelessness Stand Down, try to help with this.
Mr. Davies describes the emotional turmoil of being homeless in his interview with Harry Boomer.
The embarrassment and the stigma of being homeless along with the drastic fall from going from a safety net of having housing to seeking public shelter is steep and shocking, according to Davies.
So shocking that some choose not to reach out to family or friends due to this embarrassment and in lieu they turn to swallowing pride and having to seek shelters for support.
Handouts are great, but simply acknowledging a homeless person's very existence, according to Brian Davies and Carol Anthony, can go a long way to making the human connection.