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September 21, 2023

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Homeless man finds his law degree useless in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – Henry Navin lumbers along the streets of downtown Cleveland like an urban gypsy, lugging white plastic bags – one or two at a time – to and from the homeless shelter.

Navin, 61, hauls his eight or 10 bags everywhere he goes.

Inside the bags are work boots, copies of his resume and cover letters, a tattered winter jacket and everything else he owns.

Navin moves one or two bags 25 or 30 yards, then goes back for one or two more until he has moved them all to his final destination.

It takes him three hours, just about every day, to walk five city blocks from the men’s homeless shelter on Lakeside Avenue to Cleveland State University.

His credentials have become irrelevant. Navin holds a law degree from CSU, an undergraduate business degree and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

“You see someone poor and you look away,” said Navin, who has been homeless for nearly a year and a half .

He also is burdened by poor health. He said he has a hernia, chipped and broken teeth and problems with his eyes.

Navin’s downward spiral sent him to the doorstep of the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s homeless shelter at 2100 Lakeside Ave. in Cleveland.

To its residents, the shelter is known simply as 2100.

Navin’s predicament does not surprise David Titus, who heads the Women’s Community Shelter on Payne Avenue downtown.

“Everyone has their time when the biorhythms seem to be off and they have trouble managing their life and they end up in these situations temporarily,” Titus said.

Henry C. Navin was born in June 1946, in a small suburb of Detroit. His mother, Julia, was a talkative housewife, and the complete opposite of his father, Charles, a cook whose trademark was silence.

He held business administrative positions in Chicago and New York before joining the Cleveland Clinic in 1978 as an assistant administrative director, he said.

Navin never quite recovered from his 1982 dismissal from the Clinic.

A few years ago, he worked for Triangle Machine Products in Cleveland and his boss, Mike Casper, said Navin was a good worker, got along with fellow employees and was well-spoken.

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