CLEVELAND — The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and its Cleveland Street Chronicle are looking to take on the growing problem of local homelessness with a special holiday edition of the newspaper.
The publication has launched its "Wrap Up Homelessness" campaign with a newspaper that has stories and information on homelessness printed on the front of each page and Christmas gift wrap printed on the back.
With the help of PM Graphics in Streetsboro, the wrapping paper is adorned with the art work of homeless and formerly homeless Cleveland Street Chronicle vendors.
Vendor Kim Goodman told News 5 the special gift wrap edition is giving new meaning to holiday gift giving while spreading critical awareness on the current status of homelessness in northeast Ohio.
“They can unwrap the present, and instead of throwing the wrapping paper away, they can read the article in the back,” Goodman said. “We write for the paper, tell our own stories. We use the paper as a form of art to just share information, knowledge, our experiences, art work, poetry, whatever we want.”
Vendor Angelo Anderson, who helped to create the Cleveland Street Chronicle in 1991 said the special edition is hoping to help turn around a growing problem with homelessness in greater Cleveland.
Families are the fastest growing sect of the homeless, with a 35% increase in just the past few years.
“Even with all the help we get here in Cleveland, the numbers are not going down,” Anderson said. “Rents have to come back in line, so that people who work everyday can afford a place to live.”
"Donations generated by the newspaper have helped, it's definitely a bridge out of homelessness."
"I’m telling you, without the paper sales that a lot of our vendors get, they would probably homeless.”
Molly Martin, Communications Coordinator with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, told News 5 some 7,000 people stayed at local shelters over the past year.
Martin, who brought the "Wrap Up Homelessness" campaign from Nashville, said 23,000 people have been touched by some form of homelessness in the past year.
“We have people that we know will get turned away from shelters, who won’t go to the available shelters," Martin said. “People are at risk for losing their lives, and we know that over the past two years, 6 people died due to the freezing temperatures outside.”
The Cleveland Street Chronicle thanked its current distribution locations, including the West Side Market, Public Square and Dave's Supermarket on Chester Avenue.
The special edition will be available through the end of 2019, additional distribution locations can be found here.