Ohio City Incorporated works to get Irishtown Bend's homeless population permanent housing

Posted at 5:08 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 17:08:58-04

With no place to call their own, they've found a community and a spot to rest their heads along the Cuyahoga River.

But concern is growing for the roughly two dozen men and women who call Irishtown Bend in Ohio City home.

With redevelopment of that riverfront property moving forward, they'll soon be displaced yet again.

News 5 has learned there is a push to have those behind the project pay to have the homeless there relocated. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless estimates it will cost about $18,000. It's money the organization says is promised as part of the federal government's Relocation Act.

Since December, Ohio City Incorporated, the group behind the project, has been working with Cuyahoga County to get Irishtown Bend's homeless population priority access into permanent supportive housing.

"The county does have some dollars to help with that," said Carrie Miller with Ohio City Incorporated.

However, Chris Knestrick, Director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless said that's not enough.

"What we need, we need the money to be able to offer to these individuals to say, these are your options, what do you want to do," said Knestrick.

In order to make that happen, Knestrick said Ohio City Inc. will need to give them $18,000 so they can create an individualized relocation plan for each person.

"I want Ohio City Incorporated to come up with the money to relocate these people. It's their responsibility, they're coordinating the project," said Knestrick.

Ben Trimble with Ohio City Inc. said they are trying to secure funding from other sources.

"We've been proactively seeking a solution to this problem since this planning process started, even actually before," said Trimble.

By law, Ohio City Inc. is not required to provide funding, because it's not using any federal funding to complete the project.

"We're extremely concerned with the plight of the homeless that are on the hill now, and we are all trying to work together to come up with a great solution for this problem," said Trimble.

The process to help the homeless relocate is on the fast track.

That's because construction will soon start along the Irishtown Bend, but more importantly, the land along the river is very unstable and is a threat to those who currently call it home.