Whenever Robert Carlisle leaves his modest apartment on Cleveland’s near west side, he turns off the heat so he can save a little money on his gas bill for a pair of shoes or a bus pass. He does the same at night when he climbs into bed under an extra blanket.
Turning down the heat is an easy step to take, Carlisle said after breakfast Dec. 30 at the West Side Catholic Center, a few blocks from his home. It’s especially important, he said, when he’s “budgeting down to every penny.”
What little money Carlisle earns from odd jobs is used for necessities, mainly rent and utilities, leaving little for food. So he visits the West Side Catholic Center for meals and even to shower. The money he saves on heating water and on a light breakfast or lunch can mean the difference between having a roof over his head or living in the streets.
“I come here because it does help offset my income,” said Carlisle, 42.