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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

Friday
Feb052016

Women's Shelter Needs Immediate Reform

NEOCH has put together a group of pages on the website dedicated to changing the Community Women's Shelter (which has been named after a previous client who passed away).  The shelter is in such a state of disarray that we choose not to disrespect the legacy of this older woman by having her name tied to a shelter which mistreats its residents. We have set up a web page called "House of Payne" to document all the problems identified by the women and recommended solutions.  This is a list of the problems that have come up over the past year.  We provide a separate page on the state of the food at the shelter.  Finally, to be fair we have offered the shelter staff a page to respond to the concerns

This must be getting to the staff who work in this oppressive environment, because they went through the pictures on the site and found the women pictured and asked her to call NEOCH to have her picture removed.  Read the page and see all the problems that need to be addressed, and then realize the absurdity that they spent time attempting to protect the privacy of one person from the 200 in the shelter.  Imagine all the people that they have improperly discharged and threatened with retribution for speaking up, and yet staff took the time to prompt this woman to demand we remove her picture.  She had given her permission at the Hand Up Gala (a public event) for a posed shot, but now wanted to revoke her permission at the urging of staff.  The staff was kind enough to go through the entire website and find the other picture of her from 2014.  Thanks for the help with our website and lack of help in finding housing for this woman who has been in the shelter since at least October 2014.   We removed the offending picture entirely from the site.  Now, Mr. Staff person, you can get back to changing the rules without warning and searching the women so that they do not commit the high crime of bringing food into the cafeteria because they did not get enough food at night.

We have included a photo with this blog post that we hope no one will find offensive and we know that the flower will not revoke the permission granted over the summer even at the urging of the shelter staff.  Check out the House of Payne website and let us know what you think in the discussion section or by leaving a comment in the moderated comments section. We hope that a County Councilman or County Executive will see the page and do something about the shelter. All the complaining that we and the women have done has not changed the culture over at the shelter.  It is still an unhealthy environment with regular violations of the rights of the residents.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Feb042016

CAVS Iman Shumpert Gives Out Donations to Guys Struggling

Denise from NEOCH along with Tyrone of Care Alliance were asked to escort Cavaliers starter Iman Shumpert out to meet some of the men living on the streets of Cleveland.  This was not the typical visit by a celebrity who serves a meal at one of the shelters from the safe distance of a soup ladle.  Shumpert approached the Cavs on his own after seeing the guys gathering at St. Malachi everyday on his way into work.  He wanted to give something out to the guys and saw the SocksPlus website about the greatest need on the streets being socks.  Denise told me that he seemed genuine about his concern and wanted to meet people where they were living as a friend. 

Shumpert visited a couple of campsites, St. Hermans, Metanoia and St. Paul's Community Church drop in to interact with the men and women who will not be in housing tonight.  He was really anxious about getting on the streets to deliver socks.  Shumpert told Denise that it was in his heart to give out the clothing out of his own funds.  Denise reported that he was sincere and seemed like a gentle guy, and she appreciated taking him around the streets of Cleveland. 

Thanks to the CAVS for the help and putting us together with Mr. Shumpert. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Feb022016

Discharge Procedure in Cuyahoga County

NEOCH and the Homeless Congress pushed for an improvement in the procedures for discharging people from the shelters.  We are not sure if the shelters are following the directions of Cuyahoga County in how they kick people out of the shelters.  We regularly get complaints from people who were not ever given anything in writing about why they were discharged from the shelters. 

Imagine that your suburb or City decided that they were never going to enforce parking and traffic laws.  They issued a statement that all drivers are responsible enough and the municipal government trusts people to act in good faith to stop at stop signs and stay under the posted speed limit.  For the first couple of weeks nothing would change much, but speeds would begin to creep up and street lights would become suggestions and not solid stops.  Even for the most honest people would start to wonder why they are the only people stupid enough to stop after 10 p.m. at the Stop sign at the end of the block.  Then the accidents would begin, children would be hurt, and the public would rise up and demand the police to start enforcing the law.   This is the situation that we have in Cleveland with the shelters. 

They have a list of rules that the Executive Director signs that they will follow, but no one ever checks to make sure that the shelter is following those rules.  There is no threat to your funding and no problems if you discharge men for arguing with staff.  There is no one from the County who ever checks to make sure that you are not making women miss meals and have to stay outside until 9:30 for trying to sneak food into the shelter.  Staff are routinely blowing through metaphorical stop signs and hurting the residents.  There is no oversight and no punishment for not following the rules.  There is also no one to report problems if staff are mistreating you or if there is retaliation for talking to NEOCH or the media about problems. The County says it is too expensive to provide proper oversight and they would rather spend that money on beds or food.  I wonder if they will have the same position when a woman commits suicide at the shelter after being tormented by staff or when a man freezes to death after an improper discharge from one of the shelters?  Will someone lose their job or be charged with a crime or will the rules be enforced?  We need some of these rules put into law and not leave them up to chance and the good will of staff.

Here is a copy of the above flyer that you can print out and distribute.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Monday
Jan182016

New Video on the Importance of Outreach

We were able to tape Jimbo before he passed away and posted that video last week here. We have the Toni Johnson Video on the front of our website right now.  We also have Dennis our current outreach trainee below.  We have  a Youtube channel (search NEOCH on YouTube).  These videos are an attempt to convince the public and elected officials how important outreach is to the community. The federal agency (HUD) is not funding outreach as much, but it is so critical to building trust and maintaining contact people with fragile people.  All of these are archived on our outreach page as well.

Friday
Jan152016

Homeless Stand Down 25th Anniversary Celebration

We believe that there is still space for this important event.  Click here for the RSVP card.