CLEVELAND — The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Cleveland's City Mission are both working to fill a void in helping our area's most vulnerable populations during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Maggie Rice, Education Coordinator with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, told News 5 the agency has launched a Mutual Aid program that allows local community organizers to apply for microgrants of up to $500 if they're interested in providing COVID-19 support.
Rice said the homeless, low income households, inner-city African American families and the LGBTQ community have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
She said sadly, these groups don't often get support from federal and state coronavirus programs.
“Anytime there is a large crisis, the response that comes in a large scale response leaves people out,” Rice said.
"The microgrant application process is simple, they fill-out a short form, a google form, with a couple of questions, we do a follow-up call and they hear back from us in 48 hours.”
“There’s going to have to be a more grassroots response to this problem if we’re all going to make it through.”
Gabi Mirelez, Owner, Queer Tailor-Sweetlime Alterations in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, qualified for a microgrant and teamed up with Miranda's Vintage Bridal to produce dozens of masks for the local homeless population.
“These are people that we see without homes, we know that they don’t have homes, we see them often because it’s a small neighborhood," Mirelez said.
“Whether they have a home in the neighborhood or not, they’re our neighbors, right, and whether they’re your family members or not, they’re somebody’s family members.”
The Facebook live event take place on Tuesday, May 5, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will take the time to thank its donors, spread awareness and raise funding for the homeless, who are facing an additional burden during the COVID-19 health emergency.
Linda Uveges, COO of the City Mission, told News 5 she's hoping people will log-in during the Facebook event, have fun, and learn.
"During the stay at home order, when you don’t have a home to stay in, whereto they go," Uveges said.
“Now this just magnifies that issue, that these problems are rising even higher to the surface.”