The Grand Experiment Begins
North Point Transitional Shelter opened this week. This is a huge change in the shelter landscape and is a much different model. This facility is reserved for men who have some ability to earn income and therefore leave in 6 months. The shelter will not screen out those who are still battling alcohol or drug addictions. This is a noble experiment and treats the addiction as a health problem not a lifestyle choice to be "punished." The rough part will be the time limit for residents. Those with an addiction have markers on their path toward recovery and six months and one year are for some reason big milestones. Working on finding a job, putting your life back together, and dealing with a time limit may be an insurmountable obstacle. We shall see how this works.
There are big questions ahead for Greater Cleveland. Will we soon end the guaranteed access to shelter in our community? How soon will we need to open up another overflow? How long can the County/City afford this new transitional shelter? Will the men be willing to go into the facility? Will the women in the community demand a similar facility? Some of the guys that I have talked to are worried that they will go over and will not be able to find a job and will have to slink back to 2100 Lakeside and basically start over. The other tough part of making the move is that they are afraid that the temptation will be too much. The men have made some progress toward sobriety and are currently living in one of the sober communities at Lakeside. These communities do not allow addicted people to stay there. If a person falls off the wagon, they must go back to the entry community.
We shall see if all this works outs. They have hired some competent staff, and the County gave them plenty of resources to make this work. We need this kind of facility in the community. I hope that it works.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.