City Mission CEO says homeless numbers soaring, expansion being considered to help more

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's estimated that there are close to 900 homeless families in the Cleveland area, and that number is growing according to The City Mission's CEO, Rich Trickel.

"I've been in Cleveland now going on 13 years. I've never seen anything like this right now," Trickel said.

The City Mission is right now looking into a major expansion so that they will be able to help more people, and try to keep up with the demand.

One of the City Mission's programs not only gives women and children a place to stay, but works to make sure the family is never homeless again.

Laura's Home can house over 100 women and children at a time, and is always full.

Families that stay at Laura's Home typically stay six to nine months.

Dominique Harris and her three children are staying at the shelter currently.

Harris is receiving all of the help she needs to get herself a job and permanent housing for her and her kids.

"When I finish the program, I want to get a good job so I don't have to be in this situation again and eventually find housing, but I'm just taking the process day by day, one day at a time so that I don't have to be in this situation ever again," Harris said.

Harris said she became homeless when her hours got cut at her sales job.

She said that from what she's seen with the other women and children she's met at the shelter, the lack of good paying jobs for people without four year degrees is one of the number one reasons that the numbers of homeless are increasing in the Cleveland area.

"You are redecorating all the roads and doing downtown, build some factories, you know, build some more schools. There's a lot of teachers out here who are out of work - there's a couple of ex-teachers who are out of work who live here because schools are closing down," Harris said.

Trickel says that there just isn't enough affordable housing because the women that complete the program at Laura's Home are finding jobs.

"But the jobs that they are finding 10, 12, 13 dollars an hour are no where near sufficient to provide for housing.

So affordable housing is the key. If housing was affordable, that would solve a big issue," said Trickel.

In the past year, 50 women who have come through Laura's home left with permanent housing and close to 44 left with jobs.

To learn more about the City Mission click here.

Editor's note: Cleveland 19 News has partnered with The Haven of Portage County to help the homeless with a phone bank from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21. In Portage County, 16 percent of the population lives in poverty with around 100 homeless people in Kent and Ravenna. The Haven of Portage County is a faith-based organization that is helping provide rest and restoration to the vulnerable in Portage County through holistic healing in the name of Jesus. To donate now, click here

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