Program on Homelessness and Addiction in Licking County, Ohio
March 20, 2019, Denison Art Space, West Church St., Newark, Ohio
Moderator: Carol Apacki
Notetaker: Irene Kennedy
Newark Homeless Outreach: Trish Perry, Jen Kanagy; Billy McCall
For more information, see Facebook homepage: Newark Homeless Outreach
Harm Reduction Ohio: Dennis Cauchon, President and Carole Robinson, Administrator
For more information: See website: Harm Reduction Ohio: https://www.harmreductionohio.org/
Facebook homepage: Harm Reduction Ohio
2016 Licking County Housing Coalition Statistics about Homelessness in Licking County
- At least 215 people are homeless in Licking County on any given night.
- 91% of the homeless in Licking County are homeless for the first time.
- The average household is 2 paychecks away from becoming homeless.
- 40% of the homeless in Licking County are children.
- In Ohio, about 65% of the homeless are women.
- Nationally, about 16% of the homeless report chronic substance abuse
Key Points from the Meeting:
- Newark Homeless Outreach and Harm Reduction Ohio, two locally-based organizations, are actively working to address homelessness and addiction issues in Licking County. Both have recently been featured in news stories in the Columbus Dispatch, Newark Advocate, and on TV.
- There are mounting concerns about the criminalization and lack of compassion for homeless people in our community. See Newark Advocate: https://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/2019/03/19/outrage-removal-homeless-camps-shared-newark-city-council/3211122002/
- An effort to offer a clean needle exchange program in Licking County was voted down 8-0 by the Licking County Board of Health despite the support of Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, the Ohio Department of Health, Licking Memorial Hospital, and Mental Health America, and the CDC. See Harm Reduction Ohio: https://www.harmreductionohio.org/licking-county-health-board-rejects-syringe-program-in-unannounced-vote/
- The spread of blood born diseases that syringe programs control, including HIV, Hepatitis C & B has significantly increased here in Licking County.
- There are many ways citizens can help address the concerns raised. See “Ways You Can Help” Handout included in Meeting Notes below.
Newark Homeless Outreach: Concerns about the criminalization and lack of compassion for homeless people in our community.
Trish Perry and Jen Kanagy are community volunteers who worked together to form the Newark Homeless Outreach. With the help of other community volunteers, Trish and Jen have been handing out food and clothing to 60-80 homeless people on the corner of Buena Vista and East Main St. in Newark on Saturdays from noon to 3. They have developed ongoing relationships with the people they serve, many of who live under bridges, in tents, and in vacant housing. About half of them are dealing with addiction. The homeless have little food and limited access to clean drinking water since there are no public drinking fountains in the downtown area. They receive little medical care. Those with addictions often have abscesses and hepatitis from the use of dirty needles which are shared among users. Users are often hesitant to go to the Licking Memorial Hospital for treatment because of warrant checks that can lead to their arrest.
Jen described her experience at Newark City Council after a tent site used by the several homeless men was destroyed by the city. The Council denied knowledge of the destruction. Finally, Jen obtained the police report and confronted Council once again. Some council persons will be visiting Jen’s outreach to see the folks who are homeless and learn more about how to help them. In a somewhat fractious council meeting with a standing room-only crowd of concerned citizens, Jen called for the city officials to stop criminalizing homelessness and dehumanizing people. Mayor Hall did not speak to the issue during the council meeting.
Billy McCall, age 35, spoke from his perspective as a recovering addict. He said we need to listen to people, feed them, and house them before they can address their larger problem of addiction. This is nothing more than Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in which people need food and shelter first, and then can address other needs. He said with this kind of help, people can change their lives. Billy is now a small businessman earning a living in Newark and giving back to the people who helped him.
Harm Reduction Ohio: Licking County Health Board voted down proposals for a clean needle exchange program in Licking County despite concerns for the spread of hepatitis and other infections.
Dennis Cauchon and Carole Robinson of Harm Reduction Ohio called for forming policies based on health, human rights, and compassion. Their program models science-based public health policies shaped during the AIDS epidemic. One of the most important things we can do for addicted people is to meet them where they are at the moment, offering them help to reduce the harm they face and enable them to stay healthier. This means instituting a needle exchange program. People come in for needles, and this becomes a point of compassionate contact, where, when they are ready, they can receive more help. It also prevents the spread of hepatitis and other infections from using dirty needles.
Dennis and Billy spoke of the Board of Health meetings they attended over several months to educate and explain how a needle exchange program could work in Licking County. Even though the Health Department itself, Licking Memorial Hospital, Mental Health America and many other agencies support this program, the Health Board voted it down 8-0, going against the recommendations of Joe Ebel, Health Department Director. Licking County is the only county in Ohio which has banned this program. McCall said that one addicted person with serious health issues can cost the health system one million dollars paid by tax payers. Prevention could save that much. This doesn’t even address the cost of the spread of disease, such as hepatitis because many users are working in food service in local businesses. Licking County has suffered increases in the types of health problems that syringe programs control. From 2016 to 2017, the spread of blood borne diseases rose significantly: 22% increase in new HIV cases; 13% increase in Hep C; 16% increase in Hep B.
League of Women Voters of Licking County
Homelessness and Addiction
Newark Homeless Outreach
NPartners: Trish Perry and Jen Kanagy
For more information, see Facebook homepage: Newark Homeless Outreach
Ways You Can Help:
Make a tax-deductible contribution: Ohio CAN (put Newark Homeless Outreach in memo line) Address: Ohio CAN Treasurer: Anna Zsinko, 7831 Diagonal Road, Streetsboro, Ohio 44241
Volunteer to bring food: On Saturdays bring food to the corner of Buena Vista and East Main in Newark, across from County Jail. Sign up on Newark Homeless Outreach Facebook page, Sign Up Genius. Hot dishes, fruit salads, macaroni and cheese
Write letters of support: Write letters of concern about homelessness/addiction to Letters to the Editor, local officials, Licking County Board of Health about the need for clean needle exchange. We need to stop criminalizing homelessness.
Donate critical items. These items include hoodies, jeans, boots, coats, camping equipment, such as tents, lanterns for people sleeping outside.
Support fund-raising events: Sign up for a 5K Run or Walk: “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes: May 18th, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Newark Courthouse Square. Bring a pair of shoes to donate in honor of those who are homeless, have died, or are struggling with addiction. All shoes will be given to those in need.
Harm Reduction Ohio
Dennis Cauchon, President and Carole Robinson, Administrator
For more information: See Facebook homepage: Harm Reduction Ohio
Ways You Can Help:
Make a tax-deductible: contribution to Harm Reduction Ohio at www.harmreductionohio.org/donate/ or send a check or money order to: Harm Reduction Ohio, 935 River Road, Suite G, Granville, Ohio 43023 (we’re above River Road Coffee Shop, stop by anytime and say Hi!)
Write letters of support: Write letters of support to Licking County Board of Health about the need for a clean needle exchange to reduce the spread of infectious disease, reduce syringe litter, protect police and EMTs from accidental needle sticks, and increase the likelihood of someone seeking treatment by 5 times! Send letters to Joe Ebel: Health Commissioner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get trained and carry Naloxone. You never know when you will be in the position to save a life of a stranger or a loved one. The Licking County Health Department offers a free naloxone kit to Licking County residents through the mail. To participate, just fill out an online survey and watch a training video by clicking https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCProjectDawn.
Meet the Candidates and Vote411 Profiles
Get ready for the primary election on May 7th!
We are hosting a Meet the Candidates night for the only two races where there are contested seats: Council At-Large, City of Newark; and Municipal Court Judge.
April 10th, 2019
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Licking County Library, Room A
For the Council race, four Democrats are running for three spots. You can find profiles and photos of these candidates now at Vote411.org.
If you do not have a Newark address, but still want to see the profiles, you can put any Newark address on the form to see at your “personalized” ballot. For example, 592 W. Main (43055) worked for me, which happens to be Trinity Lutheran Church. Click Find my Personalized Ballot and then select the race.
FYI, Jan Kanagy, a speaker at our event on Wednesday March 20th about homelessness (7:00 pm at the Denison Art Space in Newark), is one of these candidates, as is Seth Dobbelaer, LWVLC member. The two other candidates are Dan Crawford and incumbent Bill Cost.
The race for Municipal Court Judge has three Republicans and two Democrats running. Profiles of these candidates should be posted at Judicial Votes Count but was not yet when I looked. They are: Matthew George (R), James Hood (R), Deborah Lang (R), Phillip Proctor (D), and Max Sutton (D).
This will be neither a debate nor an exchange with the audience. Rather, candidates will each describe their qualifications and why they are running for office (3 minutes). Candidates in the same race will then be asked to respond to a common question (2 minutes). There will be opportunities to meet and mingle before and after the program. We hope this gives the audience a basic introduction to these candidates and provides an opportunity for comparison.
The program begins promptly at 6:30. Arrive at 6:00 if you wish to have some informal time with the candidates before the program starts.
Mark your calendars!
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR INAUGURAL GALA
As part of this year’s State Convention, LWVO will be kicking-off our year-long centennial celebration with our first ever GALA!
During the Inspiring the Next 100 Years Gala, we will be celebrating our first century of Making Democracy Work in Ohio, honoring those who have inspired and powered our journey, and publicly introducing our three-year sustainability campaign, Inspire!
The Inspire! Leadership Fund will provide a sustainable source of support to ensure our continued success and impact as we move into the second century of Making Democracy Work in Ohio. t Tabl
Our Gala committee has been hard at work with the preliminary planning…but we need your help to pull off this big night. We are forming sub-committees to include:
- Attendee Services: responsible for onsite registration, guest services, welcome, nametags, seat assignments (if needed), information station.
- Marketing/Media: responsible for press releases, media coverage (print, television and social), photography.
- Program/Decorations: responsible for helping with gathering the information for the program, table and room decorations.
- Silent Auction: responsible for identifying and contacting possible silent auction donors.
- Sponsors/Donors: responsible for identifying and contacting possible sponsors/donors.
Do you have experience relating to any of these committees? Or want to be a part of planning the inaugural gala for LWVO? We would love to have you join us.
Our goal is to have all of our committees formed by this Friday, February 22nd! Please contact Sherry Rose at email@example.com or 317-409-2962 to learn more or to join one of the sub-committees!
THANK YOU for your dedication and participation,
Deb Peluso and Marlene Muse
LWVO Development Director
19 February 2019
League of Women Voters of Ohio | 614-469-1505 | www.lwvohio.org pri
Voter Registration Drive
Dear Members and Friends of the League,
Voter registration at high schools is best done in the spring when more students have reached (or are approaching) the age of 18. Anne Goodge is already starting to plan our spring registration drive, beginning with contacting the administrators for permissions.
Are you interested in joining the pool of volunteers who carry out this basic service? The work is typically done in groups of 2 or 3 and takes place over the lunch period. We have about a dozen schools in Licking County, although we may not be able to get to all of them. But let’s try.
Whether you can commit to do any will depend on the specific dates and times, I know, but Anne will communicate those to us later. For now we are just trying to rally a pool of (potential) volunteers for this big task.
Please respond directly to Anne to put your name on the list of volunteers: Anne.Goodge@gmail.com
Can you be a mentor to high school girls?
It’s been almost 100 years since women gained the right to vote, and yet women are a tiny minority among our elected leaders in Licking County. Let’s do something about that gender gap!
Funded by a grant from the Women’s Fund and the LWV Ohio, we are starting an exciting new citizenship/leadership development program for high school girls. We can support up to 20 girls working in small groups of two or three with an adult mentor. We will arrange a variety of opportunities for these small groups where the girls can learn first-hand about government or politics, and at the same time, begin to reflect on their own potential for engagement and leadership.
Typically, the mentor will accompany 2-3 girls to an event (e.g., a village council meeting, a political speaker, a feature film such as RBG, a march or rally) and then participate with them in discussion about what they saw and learned. Did they learn something about how local government works? Are they interested in engaging in such activities themselves in the future? Which of the participants they observed were the most effective and why?
The girls must commit to at least three such events/discussions over the course of the coming spring semester. All the students should be registered to vote by the end of the program if they are of age. Each will receive a complimentary student membership in the League, and those who fulfill the requirements will be awarded a certificate of completion.
The mentor will be a facilitator rather than teacher. Mentors should be good communicators, adept at texting as well as using email. Especially, mentors should be good listeners who encourage the students to explore and express their own ideas and opinions.
Mentors should commit to at least three events over the course of the spring semester. (Estimating no more than 5 hours for each event – communicating and organizing, attending the event, and the discussion afterward- you might estimate spending 15 hours in this work.) Mentors should consider whether they can offer to recommend these students if they apply for a job or some other opportunity in the future.
With an estimated 20 girls in this program from the Newark-Granville area we will need 6-7 mentors. Can you help with this initiative? Mentors will start by meeting among themselves to brainstorm about possible events and talk about how to be effective in the role.
Reply to this message or call/text me 740-525-2287 by Friday, January 11th if you want to participate.
Or contact me first to find out more.
Calling for Convention Volunteers
Members are the heart of LWVO’s success, and we need YOUR help with the 2019 State Convention! We need League members from Central Ohio to join the 2019 Convention Planning Committee (CPC). The 2019 State Convention will be held on May 10-12, 2019 at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center at Lewis Center, Ohio. Some of tasks of CPC include:
- Recruiting and training on-site volunteers (registration, set-up, etc…)
- Helping with space set up
- Finding sponsors for meals and snack breaks
- Other activities as needed
If you are able and willing to commit your time to the convention as a planning committee member, please contact Jen Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this exciting League event. Thank you! League of Women Voters of Ohio
League of Women Voters of Ohio | 614-469-1505 | www.lwvohio.org
MIGRANT WORKERS IN LICKING COUNTY:
The Hands That Feed Us
Key Points of the Presentation:
• Immigrant labor and families are essential to our agricultural economy. In the U.S. about 2.5 million farmworkers are hired annually. The average family income averages $17,000 to $19,000 a year. Most of the workers come from Mexico and bring their families, migrating to follow the harvest across the country. About 13,700 migrant workers travel to Ohio through the H2A visa program.
• In Ohio and Licking County, many small farmers depend on migrant labor, such as Branstool Orchards and Shipley’s Dairy Farm. Many of the same families have been coming to Licking County for years and are seen as “dependable and hardworking employees.”
• The work is hard and farmworkers average 14 hour days, from sunrise to sunset. Many under-age children are also working in the fields, working alongside their parents. About 25% of our food picked in the U.S. is by children as young as 6. Children go to school and then join their parents in the field through the afternoon and weekends.
• In 2011, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization, launched the Fair Food Program. It is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. Large companies such as Taco Bell, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s have signed on to this agreement. Other companies, such as Kroger’s and Wendy’s have not.
• Rabbi Jessica explained that we need to do our best to ensure the food we put into our mouths is clean and free of human exploitation—and workers’ basic rights have not been violated—that those who tend the crops weren’t sprayed by pesticides, have adequate living facilities and shade access, and are free from sexual assault in the fields.
• Bryn Bird pointed out that you can help create a fair good system with your food dollars every day. Simple choices make a difference, such as buying in-season produce, avoiding imported and out of season berries. Buy directly from local producers who respect worker rights and where you can ask about farmworker conditions. You can also join a local CSA program and purchase meat and dairy products from those who use independent meat processing facilities.
Thanks to Bryn Bird, here is a list of Farmworker Justice Resources:
– Books, – Support Organizations, – Documentaries
LINK: Farmworker Justice Resources (004)
Please note that unlike many large companies, both Kroger’s and Wendy’s –have not signed on to the Fair Food Program. Out of concern, League member Karen Semer did some more research and wrote the below letter to Kroger about her concerns. You can help by writing a similar letter to:
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1100
Wendy’s Customer Relations
1 Dave Thomas Blvd.
Dublin, OH 43017
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1100
I am a frequent Kroger shopper (we really like the new store in Newark Ohio). I recently attended a community discussion about the people who harvest our food; the agricultural workers in Ohio and elsewhere. I heard some sad and disturbing stories about the working and living conditions of these people.
I would gladly pay a few cents more a pound for produce, if I knew my store supported the conditions of the Fair Food Standards Council. I have looked over the info on your website about your social responsibility audit program, but that program only appears to apply to the last link in the supply chain.
I ask you to please join the Fair Food Program. I’m sure it is not perfect; but it is a largely successful program. Elements of the Fair Food Program that are important to me include the following that Participating Growers have agreed to:
- Compliance with the human rights-based Code of Conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor, child labor and sexual assault;
- Health and safety committees on every farm to give workers a structured voice in the shape of their work environment;
- Specific and concrete changes in harvesting operations to improve workers’ wages and working conditions, including the provision of shade in the fields, and the use of time clocks to record and count all compensable hours accurately; and
- Ongoing auditing of the farms by the Fair Food Standards Council to insure compliance with each element of the program.
Please leverage the massive buying power of the Kroger to ensure that farm workers are fairly treated. It is the right thing to do.
July Fourth Festival Report and Thanks
Dear Friends in League,
Our “haul” for working at the Granville Fourth of July Festival and Farmer’s Market, July 4 – July 7, was 17 new registrations and 3 updated ones. Those are only the most obvious results. Harder to enumerate are the number of times we asked people if they knew about the Special Election (SO many did not!) and proceeded to explain, the absentee ballots we handed out, the times we addressed concerns about purging and other matters.
For one couple who were updating their address to Granville township, I was able to explain where their polling place was. Of course, we also pointed people to our LWVLC website and handed out a few membership forms as well.
We need to imagine our Voter Services tables more expansively than simply registering new voters, although that is very important. From now on, we will include in the tub of supplies a folder of FAQs on various topics — election security, voter purging, absentee voting — so that volunteers will be supported when answering such questions.
I had hoped for “a small army of volunteers” and that is exactly what we got. Thank you to everyone who played a part.
• Thanks, above all, to Anne Goodge, who organized the time slots and handled the logistics of setting up and taking down each day.
These contributions were also key:
• Anita Carroll gave us space in front of the Granville Public Library
• Steve Matheny and Christine Ramsey let us use their tent. Essential in that hot weather!
• Maija Bamfordlet us stash the tent and table at her house over night.
Finally, thanks to that small army of volunteers who showed up to share the work and the camaraderie under the tent. You made it look like fun:
Cathy Dollard Burczak
Michelle Newman Brady
Anne and I will be sitting down together soon to see what we learned from the experience and how to do it better going forward. If any of you volunteers have experiences or ideas along those lines, please reply to share them with me.