Josiah Quarles gives a comment in Cleveland City Council chambers
Josiah Quarles, who works for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, talked about the end of a federal rent assistance program. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Clevelanders continued to call for a participatory budgeting process during Cleveland City Council’s weekly public comment session. Several commenters also asked council to think about housing needs, including filling a gap left by rental-assistance programs that have ended, and passing what are called source-of-income protections aimed at preventing discrimination against residents who use housing vouchers to cover rent payments.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts edited by Cleveland Documenter Carolyn Cooper. Read more about the meeting, which was covered by Documenters Karima McCree-Wilson, Dorothy Ajamu and Dan McLaughlin.

Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.


Josiah Quarles speaks to Cleveland City Council on Nov. 28. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Josiah Quarles, of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), spoke about the ending of federal rental-assistance programs that helped people shelter in place. He called on the city and county and other local organizations to work toward more permanent solutions instead of relying on churches to fill in the gaps to house people.

“That has been the greatest tool that we at NEOCH and many others have had to keep people housed. And we will be losing that tool. So, it’s like if you have a table and you kick one of the legs out from under it, right? It’s very easy for that table to be upturned.”

Josiah Quarles, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

Watch Quarles’ full comment

Kyle Wright speaks in Cleveland City Council chambers.
Kyle Wright gives a public comment in Cleveland City Council chambers on Nov. 28. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Kyle Wright, a Ward 14 resident, urged council to pass what are called source-of-income protections, making it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants using federal housing choice vouchers or other assistance to pay rent. He also promoted passage of the Homeless Bill of Rights.

“The homeless are tired. I was recently homeless. My voucher, I cannot move from my place. And it’s causing me a lot of frustrations. There’s a lot of contractual things that the landlord is not doing. But I’m afraid to go and put money into escrow. Or to put him [the landlord] in housing court.

Kyle Wright, Ward 14 resident

Watch Wright’s full comment

Participatory budgeting

Cheryl Hardwick-Stewart speaks to Cleveland City Council during the public comment period on Nov. 28.

Cheryl Hardwick-Stewart, a lifelong resident of Ward 6, shared how excited she was at the idea of the city having a participatory budgeting process that would create ways for residents who aren’t usually involved to take part in setting priorities.

“[Residents] have the option to come and vote, and that brings nothing. You go, you stand in the booth, you click a number and then that’s it… But with participatory budgeting –they can submit ideas. Not all of them will be accepted, maybe not all of them would be looked at. But the fact that they have that opportunity to participate…. They don’t just learn what the process is, of the participatory budget, but they learn how council works.”

Cheryl Hardwick-Stewart , Ward 6 resident

Watch Hardwick-Stewart’s full comment

Clevelander Angelo Anderson speaking at public comment in City Council Chambers
Angelo Anderson, a lifelong Clevelander, speaks in City Council chambers on Nov. 28. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Angelo Anderson, a Mount Pleasant resident, said participatory budgeting could be the start of something great to help Cleveland.

“I don’t want it to be money spent the way politicians want the money to be spent. I want it to be money spent the way people of Cleveland want it to be spent.”

Angelo Anderson , Mount Pleasant resident

Watch Anderson’s full comment

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