NewsChannel5 viewers come to aid to help Cleveland homeless during cold snap

Homeless in need of new blankets as cold moves in

CLEVELAND - Cleveland area homeless are in need of new warm blankets.

When NewsChannel5 first reported Cleveland homeless shelters are in need of new blankets Thursday at 5 and 6 p.m., viewers didn't wait to help, said Brian Davis director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

Friday afternoon Lisa Melinsky from Rad Air Complete Car Care on North Court Street in Medina called the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless saying she wanted to donate a lot of outdoor blankets to help the homeless in Cleveland.

Those who are able to help can call Davis at 216-432-0540 or drop off donations to 2100 Lakeside. Davis told NewsChannel5's Paul Kiska Friday morning that the phone started ringing early Thursday evening and hasn't stopped with calls from people who want to help.

Also, like Ted Williams who was homeless in Columbus, Cleveland's homeless have talent as well.

Beautiful music echoes down the halls of the Lakeside Men’s Shelter in Cleveland on a snowy Thursday afternoon.

Thomas Prinn is a talented piano player and so is Dezmond Mitchell. Both men are homeless, but are also inspired by the story of Ted Williams, who was homeless in Columbus until fate and the Internet changed his life .

“The Cavaliers offered me a two-year contract ," Williams told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday.

"That was beautiful, a beautiful thing that happened to Williams," said Mitchell, who is living at the Lakeside Men’s Shelter in Cleveland, just a 5-minute drive from where Williams was offered a job at Quicken Loans Arena because of his deeply rich radio voice.

Twenty-year-old Mitchell is homeless, but he's now the first to earn a GED through the Lakeside Men's Shelter and he's starting college, planning to become a registered nurse.

Lakeside is associated with the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Program.

Justyn Anderson likes music and recently enrolled at Tri-C. He wants to work for a newspaper as a computer graphic designer.

"I would like to edit and design a news page, and do some cartoon work," he said.

Anderson said he likes watching NewsChannel 5 and reading the Plain Dealer. Anderson is very interested in working for a newspaper in the future and said he's working hard toward his goal.

Brian Davis heads up the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. Davis wrote a blog Wednesday about Williams called “What Is The Big Deal? Davis said Cleveland shelters have homeless people with great voices, carpenters, painters, artists, woodworkers, but because they're not overnight celebrities thanks to the Internet so they don't get job offers.

"So they do menial jobs during the day and they’re back in the shelter at night like they were the day before," Davis said.

"It's seems like a lot of people just don't recognize us," said Anderson.

Davis said there are 4,000 homeless people living in shelters every night in Cleveland. Most of them can’t get a job even though they never committed a crime or haven’t committed a crime in 10 or 20 years, but because they’re not a celebrity – no one is handing them a job or a house, Davis said.

Davis said homeless shelters are in need of new blankets to help keep Cleveland’s homeless warm during the cold winter months.

If you’re able to help you can call the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless at 216-432-0540 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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