Emergency Overflow for Mothers & Children

Please note: Because of the community’s phenomenal response to our calls for help, the status of emergency overflow and the housing crisis is in constant flux. We’re in an exciting time of transition of emergency overflow from our gymnasium to a better suited facility, and we know that this is only the beginning of a solution hundreds of families. The answers and information on this page could change day to day, so we ask that you continue to visit our site and stay in touch with us for the latest updates.

What is the Housing Crisis?

Beginning in September 2016, The City Mission had an average of about 30-50 women & children sleeping on our gym floor, because every available shelter bed in the Cleveland area is full. The City Mission believes that every mom and child should have a safe, warm place to sleep, so we opened up our doors to these families – over 300 in the course of the year. We stood by our commitment to operate entirely on the generosity of private donations (The City Mission does not accept government funding) and volunteers, even in this developing area.

Thanks to your voices and the media’s coverage, the County is beginning to listen and act. On Saturday, November 11th, we held a community discussion about the emergency overflow crisis, and it was announced that the County will fund a new emergency overflow shelter called Haven Home, assisted by Elizabeth Baptist Church. The community discussion covered a wide range of topics, and you can read a full recap on our blog. Emergency Overflow transitioned to Haven Home the evening of Thursday, November 16th.

What is Our NEW Goal?

Now that we’ve met our initial goal of a decent place with adequate showers, lockers for their belongings, laundry facilities, and a place where they are not left to wait for hours outside to secure a bed, it’s time to turn the focus to the bigger issue – affordable, sustainable housing. In March 2017, we held a forum on this very topic and began discussions with the faith community in the hopes of finding solutions. This is a complicated situation that requires creative solutions. Learn more about the crisis and follow two women through the housing journey by reading The State of The Women & Children’s Homelessness Crisis. 

The size of the overflow crisis only points to the deep need for a housing solution specific to women and children, and we hope that Cleveland will rally around these families once again in order to find a solution that’s not just a band-aid, but a complete healing of generational poverty.

Haven Home Emergency Overflow

The introduction of the idea of Haven Home came to us on Friday, November 10th – meaning this is a developing situation. What we know is that Cindy Rios from from Elizabeth Baptist Church will be leading the Haven Home space, and that the County will fund the ability to offer expanded services. Haven Home can fit 36 people, families can have their own rooms, and there will be access to bathrooms and showers. As those of you who have been following the situation know, room for 36 people is not enough to handle the numbers we’ve been seeing in overflow at The City Mission. At times, the number of women and children reaches above 60. Elizabeth Baptist Church next to Haven Home has a gym with classrooms that can be used for an overflow space. Large families could stay in these rooms, and then head over to Haven Home for meals.

The City Mission and Haven Home will also be working to transfer the donations the community has so generously given to the new space. The City Mission is completely willing to work together with the County, Haven Home, and other organizations in order to make this transition as successful and comfortable for the women and children, including supplying volunteers and the material resources we’ve garnered from the community.

Emergency Overflow transferred to Haven Home on Thursday, November 16th.

Click Here for FAQ's

What will happen to my overnight kits that I’ve donated? If I’ve already prepared overnight kits or am hosting an event for overflow, where should I take them?

We have been overwhelmingly blessed and are incredibly grateful for the support of the community in this time! Many of you have donated or are in the process of donating overnight kits for overflow. So much has developed in the past week, and we’re doing our best to communicate the latest updates. Moving forward, if you would like your kits to be sent specifically to emergency overflow, please drop them off at Haven Home: 2971 E. 61st St. Cleveland 44127.

We are working to transfer resources we’ve collected (hygiene, clothing, food kits etc.) will be transferred to Haven Home where they will continue to benefit the moms and kids in overflow. Please email cindy.thehaven@gmail.com about overflow donations moving forward.

And as you think of the families in overflow, please still remember the 165 women and children at Laura’s Home and 110 men at Crossroads. These clients are currently in their journey to recovery and stability at The City Mission, and we covet your continued financial and material gift support. Thank you for your kindness to our neighbors in need. Together, we are making Cleveland a bright light in a hurting world.

Why don’t these women just find jobs?

Employment is key to escaping homelessness, however if you have no place to live, no where to take a shower, no where to wash your clothes, no where to put your stuff, no transportation, you sleep every night on a gym floor, and your children are with you on the street, your chances of finding solid employment are slim.

Not to mention that at minimum wage (what most people in this situation are qualified for) you have to work about 100 hours a week to afford a basic two bedroom apartment. When you factor children and childcare into that, it’s near impossible unless you have stabilizing relationships in your life.

Now if there was a safe, stable place to stay and some support structures in place, your child is in school, you’re not worried about where you’ll be at night, everything changes. Could you then find employment – most likely yes. Would that lead to independent housing – most likely yes. That’s why our goal is for the County to provide an emergency overflow shelter for families instead of sleeping on mats in our gym; a decent place with adequate showers, lockers for their belongings, laundry facilities, and a place where they are not left to wait for hours outside to secure a bed.

How can I help?

We will work hard to keep you connected in this area throughout the transition. As we learn more from Haven Home about their needs, we will update this page. Right now you can help us turn the focus to solutions for more permanent housing solutions. Check out the links and ideas below.

  • Join the housing crisis task force in our Facebook group
    • Implement creative opportunities for homeownership or housing assistance with local faith community members
  • Join a support team by emailing besocial@thecitymission.org with your interest
    • Advisory/Steering – paint the big picture for our emergency overflow goals
    • Overflow – volunteer time, meals, material gifts, etc. to those staying in emergency overflow
    • Agency – act as a liaison and collaborator between Cleveland crisis agencies
    • Student – mentor and engage children and students of all ages
    • Ongoing – build lasting relationships with families who transition to housing
    • Advocacy – continue encouraging the media and government to pay attention to this crisis
  • Give financially to organizations like The City Mission
  • Continue to contact your government officials about doing more to create a lasting solution

Ways to Help

  • Donate
    • Financially
      • While our involvement in emergency overflow will slow after November 16th, we still have Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center that hosts 165 women and children in long term programming and has been full since 2012. Giving to our general fund means that 90 percent of your gift goes toward feeding, sheltering, and providing counseling and casework for over 300 women and children every year. At Laura’s Home, women and children are prepared to make a healthy transition to employment, income and housing, so that they do not become homeless again. The City Mission is committed to financial integrity – a gift of any size makes an impact on the lives of these women and children. If you want to help in this way, head to our online donation page. Information for calling or mailing in donations can be found on this page.
    • Material Gifts (food, clothing, toys, etc.) Acceptance is On Hold!
      • THANK YOU CLEVELAND! We have been overwhelmingly blessed and are incredibly grateful for the support of the community in this time! Many of you have donated or are in the process of donating overnight kits for overflow. So much has developed in the past week, and we’re doing our best to communicate the latest updates. Moving forward, if you would like your kits to be sent specifically to emergency overflow, please drop them off at Haven Home: 2971 E. 61st St. Cleveland 44127.
      • We are working to transfer resources we’ve collected (hygiene, clothing, food kits etc.) will be transferred to Haven Home where they will continue to benefit the moms and kids in overflow. Please email Cindy at cindy.thehaven@gmail.com about overflow donations moving forward.
      • And as you think of the families in overflow, please still remember the 165 women and children at Laura’s Home and 110 men at Crossroads. These clients are currently in their journey to recovery and stability at The City Mission, and we covet your continued financial and material gift support. Thank you for your kindness to our neighbors in need. Together, we are making Cleveland a bright light in a hurting world.
      • Feel free to email us at besocial@thecitymission.org if you have any questions.
  • Continue Contacting Your Community Leaders
    • City Hall
      • By phone: 216-664-2000
      • Twitter: @CLEMayorJackson & @CityofCleveland
    • Office of Homeless Services
      • By phone: 216-420-6844
      • Twitter: @CuyahogaCounty
  • Join Our Task Force & Be a Part of Advancing Permanent Change
    • The Cleveland Women & Children Housing Crisis Task Force exists to inform, challenge, and empower the Cleveland Faith Community as it seeks to fulfill its God given responsibility to care for the hurting, hungry and homeless women and children in our city. This group is made up of people from all demographics and denominations, and is working toward permanent solutions that break the cycle of poverty for women and children currently experiencing homelessness or crisis.
    • Email The City Mission’s CEO, Rich Trickel, to receive information on the next Task Force meeting, and request to join our Task Force Facebook Group to catch up on the conversation.

Have more questions or want to get involved?

Questions for Haven Home: cindy.thehaven@gmail.com

Questions for The City Mission: besocial@thecitymission.org

Learn More

Don’t just hear it from us. Dig deeper into the realities of this crisis by reading, watching and listening to pieces from both The City Mission and local media.

Articles from The City Mission

The State of The Women & Children’s Homelessness Crisis

Does Cleveland Still Need The City Mission?

Articles & Video from Local Media

Channel 5 News

The City Mission provides emergency overflow shelter for women, children

Channel 19 News

Dozens of homeless Cleveland women and children left to roam the streets in the cold

Cleveland Scene:

Temporary Overflow Shelter Reveals a Growing Homelessness Problem in Cuyahoga County

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

Family Homelessness Crisis Needs to be Addressed

We Add Our Voices to the Concerns Raised by The City Mission

Radio Broadcasts from The City Mission 

The State of Homelessness in Cleveland with CEO Rich Trickel

The State of Affordable Housing in Cleveland with COO Linda Uveges