Ohio City Pizzeria

The building at 3223 Lorain Avenue, familiar to many in the neighborhood as the Ohio City Pizzeria Building, is adjacent to our current facilities. After extensive discussions and consideration by the Board of Directors and our leadership team, in March of 2018, the West Side Catholic Center entered an agreement to purchase this building. The transaction also included the purchase of  the pizza business located in that space, which has been an affordable dinner option for its neighbors for many years. The previous owner desired to step back from the business and sell the building, and WSCC, which had discussed this possibility with the owner for the past several years, was ready to purchase. 

WSCC is currently in the midst of an organization-wide strategic planning initiative, which we hope to have completed by July of 2018. During this process, we intend to look at potential uses for the space, which includes two apartments upstairs, some garage space, and the pizza business space.

As with every decision we make, our goal is to find a use for the building that fits with our mission to serve people in need of food, clothing, shelter, advocacy and a path to self-sufficiency, and to continue to be a good neighbor in our Ohio City community. Anyone who would have interest in the space, purchasing or operating the pizza business, or other considerations should email OCP@wsccenter.org

Executive Director Announcement

West Side Catholic Center, one of Cleveland’s premier social service agencies, today announced its Board of Directors has selected John Litten as the organization’s new Executive Director.  The announcement follows a four-month search undertaken after current Executive Director Anita Cook’s announcement in March that she would be retiring in September of 2017.  Litten currently serves as the Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  He and Cook will begin a one-month transition starting in September. 

“We believe that John will be a transformational leader for West Side Catholic Center as it continues to serve both the immediate, short-term needs of the clients and the long-term goals of putting them on the path to self-sufficiency,” says Christopher Koehler, Board President. “John immediately stood out as someone who has the experience in addressing the challenges that our homeless population faces on a daily basis.” 

“Anita has been a mentor to me for the past five years, so I know firsthand how good she is, and what a challenge I will have to rise up to the bar she has set for West Side Catholic Center,” remarked Litten.  “I welcome this opportunity with open arms, and look forward to working with the wonderful staff and volunteers.”

“I am excited to work with John as we transition the leadership of the WSCC,” says Cook.  “John is passionate about the work we do and will bring new spirit and energy to the organization. I am grateful to Chris Koehler, Board President, and the Search Committee for the time and effort put into this process. It was thoughtful and inclusive and resulted in an excellent choice.”

Prior to serving as Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Litten served as Director of Camp Christopher where he also was employed as Program Coordinator prior to being Executive Director.  Litten holds a Master of Public Administration from Cleveland State University and a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Ohio University. The eldest of six children, this Cleveland native is a graduate of St. Edward High School and resides in Lakewood with his wife, Carrie Anne, and three children. He is Ward 3 Councilman in Lakewood and is a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Church.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Highfield at 216-631-4741.

CARF Accreditation

WSCC was recently awarded a 3-year accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Founded in 1966, CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services in the following areas:

  • Aging Services
  • Behavioral Health
  • Business and Services Management Networks
  • Child and Youth Services
  • Employment and CommunityServices
  • Medical Rehabilitation

Achieving accreditation requires a service provider to commit to quality improvement, focus on the unique needs of each person the provider serves, and monitor the results of services.

A service provider begins the accreditation process with an internal examination of its program and business practices. Then the provider requests an on-site survey that will be conducted by a team of expert practitioners selected by CARF. During the survey, the provider must demonstrate that it conforms to a series of rigorous and internationally recognized CARF standards.

Based on the results of the survey, CARF prepares a written report of the provider’s strengths and areas for improvement. If a provider has sufficiently demonstrated its conformance to the standards, it earns a 1-year or 3-year CARF accreditation.

WSCC received accreditation for the following programs through July 2020:

  • Child and Youth Services
  • Community Employment Services: Job Development
  • Mentor Services
  • Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention Programs
  • Service Coordination

Executive Director E-News 12.30.2016

2016 was a very busy year at the West Side Catholic Center. The final numbers are not in yet I know we continue to serve many meals, provide clothing, and shelter the homeless all in an effort to help our clients continue on their path to self-sufficiency. The work is difficult and we have many successes as well as challenges. Thank you for walking with the clients and staff of WSCC. We could not do our work without your support and prayers.

Our Giving Tree program provided new hats, gloves, underwear, socks, sweatshirts and full size toiletries to 481 adults and 955 children over two days before Christmas. While this is about the same number of adults served in 2015, 306 more children received a gift package is year.  Again, this would not have been accomplished without our many donors and volunteers. My most sincere thanks to Anne Cleary who led the Giving Tree project this year!

Last Wednesday, December 21 the WSCC hosted the 30th Annual Homeless Memorial Day. This vigil is organized in Cuyahoga County by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. Similar events are held throughout the U.S. to commemorate those who died in the past year. The Resource Center was packed as we welcomed homeless providers, friends and clients.

Brian Davis, ED of NEOCH welcomed all and shared the history of the event. We were all honored with the presence of Senator Sherrod Brown. The senator visited with many of the clients. He also offered inspiring words about the importance of the work done in the provider community.

Opening prayers were offered by: Rabbi Joshua Caruso from Fairmount Temple, Pastor Doug Horner from St. Paul’s Community Church and Andrew Genszler, President and CEO of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.  We lit candles and Jennifer Kocan, NEOCH Board Treasurer read the names of the 103 homeless individuals who died in the past year. I was also able to say a few words about Sue Dinardo, Case Management Supervisor at WSCC who passed away suddenly on November 30th. Sue was an important and longtime member of the provider community and worked tirelessly to serve the homeless in Greater Cleveland.

The 103 names were almost twice as many as the 56 names read in 2015 and the highest in the 30 year history of the vigil. The following is a link to photos and a story in the December 22nd issue of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Thank you to Brian and NEOCH, Senator Brown and all who attended this vigil.

Speaking of success – Cleveland.com reported that between 2011 and 2016 homelessness in Cleveland decreased by 25%. See the article here for further explanation. There are many nuances to the numbers but this is still great news. 

I can also report that we have raised over $1.8 million of our $2.0 million Campaign for the Future. The campaign will be completed in early 2017 and we anticipate work to begin later in the year. 

I wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to a busy 2017!

Anita Cook
WSCC Executive Director

Upcoming at the WSCC:

Wednesday, January 8 – 6pm. Board of Directors meeting and dinner. Location TBD.