Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Council Challenged to Sleep in Shelter

Homeless Congress Asks Council for Help

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless on behalf of the Homeless Congress is challenging the City of Cleveland Council members to either spend a night in a homeless shelter or introduce a shelter standards bill. The Homeless Congress is a representative body of homeless people which meets every month, and feel that improving the protections within the shelters is a priority. This group of homeless people spent four months to prepare a potential piece of legislation for City Council to pass, but no Council member has taken up the challenge to even introduce this bill. At the January meeting of the Homeless Congress, the members voted to request Council members attend the next meeting to set a date for the introduction of the bill or schedule a time to sleep in the shelters.

NEOCH has asked Council members to pass a law to set a minimum standard for the shelters in exchange for their public funding. The challenge was issued after NEOCH and Congress members repeatedly requested movement on the bill to council members about the proposal and received little response.

Currently, there are no existing standards in law, instead there is a list of recommendations by the state of Ohio and there is no penalty for compliance. Between 2006 and 2007, the Homeless Congress drafted a proposal of Shelter Standards in an effort to ensure all publicly funded shelters are required to provide a basic level of care. The big issue that has repeatedly come up from homeless people is that there is no public agency that will receive complaints about the conditions or treatment that homeless people receive within the shelters.

The next Homeless Congress meeting is February 7 at 1 p.m. at the Bishop Cosgrove Center. Anyone is welcome to attend and Council members are invited to the Homeless Congress meetings. The center is located at 1736 Superior Avenue in Cleveland. Please enter through the back into the cafeteria and go upstairs to the gymnasium.

For more information please contact Brian Davis at (216) 432-0540.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.


Library Lackey said...

I wonder why CSU has never opened its facilities to the homeless. Most of them sleep on the streets near the school. CSU heats their building regularly, they have couches in their lobby, bathrooms, and space for cots. Why not open these facilities to the local shelters at night when they are not being used anyway? They could even have social work majors intern with shelters so if there isn't enough money for employees to be at the facilities at night, the students could get credit for it.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Good luck! I can't picture Springfield'sa city council taking up such a challenge.