History of Nonprofit Agency Community Service Alliance
Community Service Alliance

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Administrative Offices
3387 Fulton Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
Phone: (216) 351-0655
info@comservealliance.org

History

That there is currently a homelessness crisis in Cleveland, Ohio is a certainty to those talented and caring individuals who work with the homeless, and to the homeless themselves.  To those not directly affected, or who think they are unaffected, it is generally an “unknown” phenomenon – something that happens away from me, my family, my life.  It is “out there”.

There are, of course, exceptions.  Some homeless people seem to accept their lot, although it is generally accepted that no one wants to be homeless.  And some people who are not homeless seem to know that they are affected by it and they also seem to know that we, as a people, a society and a culture, are only as human as all of those around us are allowed to be.  It is on these principles that Community Service Alliance was based.

Community Service Alliance celebrated its inauguration with an Open House on July 28, 2005. Two months later, on September 15, 2005, the first resident entered Procop House. Others followed, and by year-end we had 15 residents.  Since our first resident came to Procop House, many others have come and gone.  Some have moved into their own apartments; others returned to the shelter; while still others relapsed or violated a rule of the house.  And since those humble beginnings almost 10 years ago, more than 700 men have benefitted from the programs, services and support of Procop House.

Community Service Alliance is engaged in a process focused on service and leadership. Within an approach that values Choice, Change, Contribution, Commitment, Community, Conciliation and Charity, participants are involved in a transition dynamic that provides access to targeted training, subsidized low-rent housing, and transitional job opportunities.  The business of CSA is to provide ongoing consultation to and oversight for a community building transformation process, while also serving as a catalyst of strategic alliances that focus on structuring opportunities for homeless individuals and providing a context where ongoing challenges of all partners can be mutually addressed.

The early success of CSA led the agency to open its second housing program, further enhancing the mission of the organization and reaching out to more individuals in need.  Fulton House is a 13-room facility located in the convent building at the former Blessed Sacrament catholic parish on the west side of Cleveland.  The additional site, opened in August 2012, provides additional capacity to meet the growing need for short-term housing and work experience for men transitioning from homelessness to independence and self-sufficiency. As importantly, Fulton House enables CSA to focus services at this location to meet the needs of Veterans emerging from homelessness, and provide an organized approach to address their housing, work experience, and personal and behavioral needs, and work in partnership with the VA and other existing providers to offer connection to a wide range of support services including, but not limited to: employment assistance, financial literacy and credit repair services, legal services, medical, health and mental health resources, food and nutrition programs, family and children’s services, and other social services and support.

Less than a year after the opening of Fulton House, the organization began to notice a number of residents who were staying with CSA for a longer period of time than the average stay of 10-11 months.  While our goal is to encourage, support and be a part of a transition to permanent, independent housing, some men, for a variety of reasons, are not fully prepared to make that transition as quickly.  The challenges they experience are often financial in scope, and require the resident to pay off prior debts, get on track with child support, or simply save enough money to manage a budget on their own.  The barriers can also be personal in nature, and frequently involve issues of trust, insecurity, and fear and anxiety of being on their own – something many of these men have not had to face for a long period of time.  In response, the Board of Directors began discussions about a third housing site that would address the needs of men who require the support of CSA for a longer stay.  At the same time, an opportunity presented itself for the agency to develop and renovate a vacant multi-family home on Cleveland’s west side and convert it into a facility to address this need.  The Board seized the opportunity, and launched a plan to develop the site into a third housing program.

The plan to renovate the house into a six-room longer stay housing site came to fruition in the summer of 2013 when CSA formally dedicated Sandy’s House – named in honor of Mrs. Sandra Sullivan, one of the founding Board members of CSA, a loving and long-time supporter of our mission, and a selfless advocate for disadvantaged and underserved populations throughout our community.

This brief history of our unique organization is meant only to whet your appetite, as well as to generate other questions that will hopefully be addressed in the pages of this web site.  Most importantly, it is intended to get you to act – learn more about us … make a donation … volunteer your time and talent.  With God’s help, we know you will figure out how you can help and what part you will play – now and in the future!

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