(Plain Press, July 2017) The Board of Trustees of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) announced on their Facebook page that they have named Chris Knestrick as the new Director of Operations for the organization. According to the announcement, “Knestrick brings over 10 years of experience working with the homeless community in Cleveland and directing advocacy efforts with international and local communities.”
The Facebook page also highlighted a “Goodbye to Brian Davis” event held on June 23rd at St. Ignatius High School’s Breen Center. Davis, who served as Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless for the past 22 years, announced his resignation effective June 1st of this year.
Davis, a strong advocate for the homeless during his tenure, in announcing his plans to step down in March of this year, also released a new strategic plan for NEOCH. He said the plan “will refocus the agency on convincing the private sector to shelter, house and provide supportive services to those who lose their housing.” In his comments, Davis praised the strong board of NEOCH and was critical of “bad decisions made by Cuyahoga County.”
Davis left NEOCH with some praise for its accomplishments as well as with a list of serious issues that still need addressing. Some of his comments follow: “NEOCH has become one of the premier civil rights coalitions in the country and has won many legal victories with the City and State of Ohio to protect the rights of those without housing. NEOCH has done a great deal to improve conditions, organize the population and protect them from unreasonable laws or harmful public policies in Cleveland. If we accept some credit for improvements, we have to take responsibility for the suicide attempts in the shelters and the rise in deaths among homeless people. The issues facing the Coalition in the next few years include the large number of families seeking help and the reality that many of these families have to split up when they go to shelter, disabled and elderly women sleeping on the floors, and pregnant homeless moms who lose their babies to foster care.”