Founded in 1986 as a response to the rising number of individuals experiencing homelessness in in Central Ohio, The Columbus Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is composed of a network of service providers, homeless persons and community residents. With a mission to empower homeless persons to achieve greater self-sufficiency, the organization concentrates its efforts in three areas: advocacy on behalf of those experiencing homelessness; education about homelessness offered to the greater Columbus community and empowerment to homeless individuals through employment and the publication of a street newspaper.
During its twenty-two year history the Coalition has maintained a monthly meeting designed to identify and remedy the gaps and problems within the local array of services. With a focus on creating feasible solutions the, the organization has addressed the most serious issues with provider agencies and funders. An example of this effort was CCH’s role increasing the temperature cutoff so that more persons could access shelter in the winter months changing the rules of shelter access during the winter months.
Since its beginning, the Coalition has provided information and referral for individuals and families needing housing, emergency shelter, mental health and chemical dependency services. This service evolved into the design and creation of the Streetcard, a two-sided page of critical resources needed by those who are unfamiliar with programs which could offer support. Published twice a year, the Streetcard is utilized by most agencies coming into contact with the homeless population as well as faith-based organization, libraries, and schools.
Aside from advocacy, networking and the provision of information, the Coalition’s most significant project at this time is the monthly publication of Street Speech. Developed by two VISTA Volunteers, the newspaper has focus on homeless issues and real life experiences of homeless individuals, Street Speech
Recognizing that collaborating with community based agencies is an essential ingredient toward improving the lives of homeless people, CCH has worked to establish relationship with the following groups, to name a few: The Community Shelter Board – participation on the Continuum of Care and the Rebuilding Lives program; The City of
Columbus – appearances before City Council, consultation from the Department of Development; The Columbus Foundation – receipt of grant funds to enhance the community education program; The VISTA Program – Five year grant allocation to place VISTA volunteers at CCH and to co-ordinate statewide homeless coalition activities; OSU and Capital University – provision of student field placements.
Although there is not space to record our long history, it is important to mention a few other annual events. This includes our yearly Homeless Memorial Service, where those deceased individuals who have been homeless or formerly homeless are memorialized on the coldest day of the year. In the spring we celebrate Mother’s Day for those women and their children who have struggled to end their homelessness and keep their families in- tact. This is accomplished through a banquet brunch with music, gifts, books and health screenings as well as free portrait family portrait framed photographs.
Founded in 1986 as a response to the rising number of individuals experiencing homelessness in in Central Ohio, The Columbus Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is composed of a network of service providers, homeless persons and community…