CLEVELAND — Cleveland's City Mission has staged an event set to take place on Cleveland Public Square in hopes it will spark change in curbing the growing number of homeless children in Northeast Ohio.
The mission has organized a Stand-In for Homeless Children on Saturday, June 29 starting at 4 p.m.
Some 3,000 volunteers will stand in public square to represent the nearly 3,000 children who are homeless in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
The event will be attended by representatives from 133 Northeast Ohio churches and 12 agencies that help with the homeless.
City Mission CEO, Richard Trickel said he's hoping the event will poignantly outline the growing problem.
“What we need to do is something dramatic, something a little disruptive, something attention getting to raise the awareness of this crisis in our city,” Trickel said. “We have a group of readers that will be doing a dramatic reading, outlining a number of statistics and comments from homeless moms and children. We have to help these homeless children advance normally in school, and then they can move forward with their life instead of continuing to recycle into a life style of poverty and dependence.”
City Mission Chief Operating Officer Linda Uveges said federal funding from HUD and other agencies needs to be increased and redirected to create more affordable housing.
Uveges said a lack of affordable housing is one of the root causes of this tragic growth in homeless children.
“Right now the federal initiative is focusing on chronically homeless single adults, well that doesn’t touch the women and children that we see,” Uveges said. “For many of these homeless mothers, their average wage is 10 to $12 an hour— to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment she’s going to have to work 100 hours a week, and that’s just not going to work.”
The event will continue until 7 p.m. and will also include music, food trucks and information stations.