**See video of a rally on Thursday in the video, above**
CLEVELAND (WJW) — A group who is homeless gathered today to speak out about their demands for alternative shelter during the pandemic.
They gathered outside the Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters at 2079 E. 9th St. in Cleveland.
As of last night, 30 men experiencing homelessness are refusing to leave the Ramada Inn on Rockside Road in Independence where they’ve been staying for the past three months, according to a release from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
The guests were required to leave the hotel after Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry ended their contract with the hotel after providing temporary housing and supportive services there for 150 men experiencing homelessness.
On Wednesday night, NEOCH sent a letter to county leadership on requesting they keep the Ramada Inn as a designated, de-congregate emergency shelter location.
Thursday, LMM proceeded with their original plan to leave the premises and worked through the day to discharge the 70 guests who agreed to return to the shelter at 2100 Lakeside Avenue or other locations.
The county unveiled a plan to financially support the construction of a new shelter near 2100 Lakeside Avenue.
The men refusing to leave the hotel are looking for a different response from the county because they have concerns about covid-19 and its spread for those who have no other option but the streets or a large congregate shelter.
The mayor of Independence issued this statement:
Earlier this month, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries (LMM) informed the City of Independence that they would be transferring the 155 homeless men staying at the Ramada hotel since April 15 to a downtown shelter on July 15, 2021. LMM, not the city, determined this date.
Today, the Northern Ohio Coalition for the Homeless announced that 50+ current residents at the Ramada have decided to stay at the hotel, citing safety concerns at the downtown shelter.
The owner of the Ramada, LMM, and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, are solely responsible for determining what the appropriate action is to address this situation.