#PovertyTruths

Most people living at Cogswell Hall live below the poverty line. Since society sometimes harbors assumptions and myths about poverty, we want you to know a few things about our low-income residents.

  • They pay rent. Each resident pays rent equal to 30% of his or her income. This income comes from sources such as social security, small pensions, current work, or retirement benefits.
  • Some work. Some of our residents work, usually at low paying, part-time jobs. Other residents volunteer in the community, some as often as daily. About one-fourth to one-third of them regularly do.
  • Some worked but now cannot. Police officer, nurse, social worker, sailor, musician – these are among the professions our residents had to leave because of a mental or physical disability that arrived in adulthood.
  • They take initiative. Residents initiate programs and activities such as a chair-exercise group, have written and been awarded a grant for a summer lawn party, and joined neighbors in controlling feral cats.
  • They are persistent. We have survivors of abuse, homelessness and trauma, including traumatic brain injury. We have people born with physical or intellectual disabilities. We are truly amazed with all that they do while coping daily with conditions and memories more intense than most of us ever experience.

In 2017, we at Cogswell Hall will be talking about poverty. We invite you to follow the #PovertyTruths theme in our blog, social media, print resources and other forums. Whether we’re profiling a living, breathing myth-buster or looking at social policies that affect people who are poor, we hope you will find the topic as important as we do. And we know we are not the only people with poverty experiences to share. Join the conversation!


A Cleveland mental ward discharged Doreen to the street at age 18. She spent years homeless, in dreary group homes and even a nursing home, re-hospitalized frequently. Since moving to Cogswell Hall in December 2017, she has set a personal record for staying out of the hospital, returning just once for her shortest stay ever. She credits Cogswell's dignified, permanent housing and professional support for her progress -- and for time and space to pull her life together.

Fighting homelessness: A new, 3-minute video on affordable housing features a collaborative effort on Cleveland's West Side -- and two military veterans who find support there.

Paula Pratt, Cogswell Hall's new property manager, has seen some unforgiving evictions in the world of for-profit housing. It's different at Cogswell Hall, she says.

Don’t believe every myth you hear about poverty or every claim you hear that anti-poverty programs don’t work, Cogswell Hall Executive Director Diana Cyganovich told a local service club this week.

At Cogswell Hall on Cleveland's West Side, decorating the naming tree -- a yearly tradition since 2008 -- is one way for residents to cope with the mixed emotions the holidays bring.

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