Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collecting Your Shelter Stories

Have You Had Experience with Cleveland Shelters?

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Congress are collecting the stories from people who have previously lived in a shelter in Cleveland. We want to hear both the good and the bad experiences. We want to hear from you about your discharges from the shelter or the first day that you showed up at the shelter. We want to hear about staff treatment, and the things that surprised you while staying in a shelter. We would like to know if the shelter met your expectations, and if you felt safe. We want to know that your tax dollars were being used to effectively serve the population.

NEOCH and the homeless people who attend the Homeless Congress have been trying to convince City Hall that there is a need for oversight of the shelters. The Homeless Congress members decided to start collecting stories to present to local elected officials. We have made this easy on our website. Sprinkled throughout the site is the above logo. You can click on the logo and complete the form to easily send information to the Coalition about your experiences with shelter. We will keep your identity private, but we may follow up with you to verify the information. Please send this information onto others that you know who spent time in the shelters. We want to present an accurate picture of the shelters in Cleveland.

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

1 comment:

Sonja Leftwich said...

In preparation for the 2nd Annual Colors of Cleveland Pride's annual Thanksgiving Dinner, and clothing/coat and toiletry distribution for the homeless and those in need, held Sat., Nov. 20, 2010 at Old Stone Church where we served 323 people, I paid a visit to our local women's shelter located on Payne Avenue on Wed., Nov. 17, 2010 to provide a personal invitation to those residents. I distributed invitation flyers to all of the women that were outside and inside of the shelter upon my arrival. Upon entering the shelter to speak with a staff member, I was absolutely stunned as to how rudely I was treated by one of their staff members who indicated that the residents were limited as to how much clothing they could have. My response was that "I understood and that we would be limiting how many items each person could actually have due to our need to serve as many people as possible." The staff member then stated that she'd hate to see our nice clothing end up in a Salvation Army distribution box and that it would be best if we did not allow the female residents to have any clothing/coats. I explained to the staff member that we were not able to deny anyone an item that fell within our distribution guidelines and that we'd have no way to identify the residents of their shelter since all homeless adults and children were welcome to partake in dinner, as well as the clothing/coat and toiletry distribution. The staff member went on explaining how the facility was very strict as to how many personal items each resident was allowed. I stated I understood and left the premises. I could only imagine that if I were a guest in this facility and was treated in this manner, how the residents were being treated. After making the same visits to 3 men's homeless shelters where I was well received and thanked for the invitation to all their residents, I determined that visibly I saw more women that may have mental health concerns than in the men's shelter and maybe there is a need to employ more empathetic and skilled staff in the women's facility. I felt badly for women in this shelter only because it is enough to only have a shelter as a residential option and I was of the impression that the shelter was to provide you shelter, food and referral resources to improve your life situations. Maybe I'm wrong!