Cuyahoga County book club initiative takes aim at child homelessness

County executive Chris Ronayne loves a good book club. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

Ever wanted to be part of a book club with a million-plus members? You’re in luck.

Driving the news: One Community Reads, an annual countywide initiative designed to instill a lifelong love of reading while engaging the community in important social issues, launched yesterday at the West Side Catholic Center.

This year’s selection, “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City” by New York Times investigative journalist Andrea Elliott, is a “vivid and devastating portrait” of a girl who grew up homeless in New York City.

What they’re saying: County executive Chris Ronayne said he hopes the book will drive important conversations and lead to action on poverty and homelessness in Cuyahoga County.

  • “There’s a lot of power in book clubs,” Ronayne said. “There’s a lot of power in reading — to grow as individuals, to develop character, to learn to become citizens of the wider world.”

Between the lines: Chris Knestrick, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, said 90% of local families entering homelessness are Black.

  • He encouraged readers to have the conversation about homelessness and the enduring legacies of structural racism.

What’s next: One Community Reads will culminate March 6 with an appearance by Elliott at the Mimi Ohio Theater.

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