Hundreds of viewers wrote in and responded to the story of Judith Durham, the mother of two-year-old Jonah, who was walking the streets of Cleveland in 43 degree temperatures.
Jonah was sick and was coughing during the interview where Durham responded to our questions about not having somewhere to go during the day.
“Most of the mothers, we just walk around and try to keep the kids busy,” Durham said.
Durham and close to 50 other women and children, some as young as infants, were forced out into the cold that day because the family shelters were all full.
The waiting lists for a bed are long, and no one was eligible for any government help at all until they could get a bed in a shelter that would give them an address for paperwork.
Durham had been waiting for two months for a spot in a family shelter.
The mother and other moms and their children were allowed to sleep on the floor of the gymnasium at the City Mission on Euclid Avenue, but had to leave at 7 a.m. because of other programs that the City Mission sponsors for the homeless.
The women and children would then go on a bus to the Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center, where they would wait for 45 minutes for the doors to open. They could then have lunch and stay at the Cosgrove Center until 2:30 p.m., when the center closes for the day. Then, they would walk the streets and wait until 7 p.m., when a bus would take them back to the City Mission to spend the night.
On the weekends, the situation was worse.
The Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
The women and children had 12 hours where they would walk the streets, without a place to get a meal or seek shelter from the weather.
According to Rich Trickel, the CEO of the City Mission, the county has just announced it has budgeted for a permanent overflow solution.
“The county is going to fund a much better overflow site: Haven Home, and that should come online sometime next week,” Trickel said.
And, a caseworker is now available to work with the women and children at the Cosgrove Center, so that they can receive services immediately that include finding permanent housing.
Supplies have been funneling in from all over Cleveland and in other parts of the United States.
“The numbers of people that have responded and are sending supplies, we are getting things from California, Pennsylvania, all over the country,” Trickel said.
Trickel said this is just the beginning of what needs to happen to help homeless women and children in Cleveland because the numbers of homeless women and children are increasing at an alarming pace.
The City Mission needs more volunteers.
“Just imagine someone coming alongside of you, sitting with you, being there once or twice or three times a week, talking to you, encouraging you, helping you, that kind of support, you can’t even measure the value of that,” Trickel said.
Other donations like underwear and socks are needed.
To find out how you can help click here.
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