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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.

The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event
Thursday
May182017

Women's Shelter Update May 2017

Wow, a lot has happened over the last two weeks with regard to the Community Women's Shelter on Payne Ave.  First, Dale Miller objected to a 3 year contract back at the hearing on May 3rd because of all the problems he heard about at the Homeless Congress.  He raised serious questions with Frontline by asking them to come to the front to answer those questions.   He made Eric Morse COO of Frontline Services come up and explain why the women’s shelter is so lowly regarded and their are so many complaints.  There were questions about the EMS calls, the lack of help for the mentally ill, and how this new partnership will work.  Eric said for the first time that almost all the women are either addicted or mentally ill and they just don’t have enough money.  Ruth Gillett Director of the Office of Homeless Services said that the complaint to the Inspector General over the process was found to be without merit.  (We will seek that complaint through an open records request).  In the end, the contract was redrawn to go from 31 months down to 19 months.  It was expected to be passed last Tuesday May 9 at the regular council meeting. This was a good meeting to watch on line, but it is three hours long so here is the run down:

  • 39 minutes 51 seconds:  Ramona Turnbull testifies about the conditions
  • 43 min 22 sec: Brian Davis testifies about all the problems with the Request/Contract
  • 46 min 37 sec: Rosie Palfy testifies
  • 54 min 10 sec: C. Loh once again talks about all the problems at the shelter
  • 1 hour: 54 min 02 sec:  Ruth Gillett gave her presentation and powerpoint of the Women's Shelter contract.
  • 2 hr 09 min 13 sec: Councilwoman Conwell comments on NEOCH and Brian Davis.  She mentioned it was disheartening to hear about the treatment of their director.  She claimed that this process was only after listening to the women.  She claimed that this was going to help the shelter residents and they took the time to make this work.
  • 2 hr 21 min and 20 sec:  Dale Miller starts his questions of Ruth Gillett
  • 2 hr 29 min and 54 sec: Dale Miller begins questioning Frontline Services staff.

Then the following week at the Council meeting, Dan Brady said, "We are going to send this back to the Health and Human Services committee to straighten out this legislation."    He sent it back to the Health and Human Services committee, which is highly unusual.  We heard that there were private discussions about extending the contract by only 4 months and just starting over. In the end, the contract was extended until the end of December 2017 with a new RFP issued soon. 

It turns out there was a provision in the RFP that said that a group had to get an 85 score to be "technically responsive."  The legal department said that since neither West Side Catholic nor Frontline Services got the 85 so the County could not proceed.  They have decided to go forward with an 8 month contract to expire December 31, 2017 for Women’s Shelter.  It will be the LMM/Frontline proposal but only through December.  They will issue a new RFP soon without the 85 score minimum provision in the grant.  So, Loh going to County Council every couple of weeks and talking about the poor conditions worked.  Dan Brady showed up at the May 16 Health and Human Services Committee when Ruth Gillett announced the eight month contract, and said that he wanted Council to stay informed throughout the process to avoid any future issues. 

NEOCH is going to press for a whole new committee that meets with the residents of both or all bidders. We also are going to press for an RFP that addresses the real issues facing the shelter.   It was a remarkable turn around.  It had to be humiliating County staff to see three County Councilmembers criticize the process and the outcome.  Ruth Gillett, the Director of Office Homeless Services was very defensive and respectively pointed out that she would have to start the process almost immediately if the committee approved a one year contract.  Gillett did not show up for the Homeless Congress because she said that she was so abused by the residents in April. 

We raised a couple of problems with the process over the last few months:

  1. 1. The RFP asked the applicants to answer questions that have nothing to do with addressing all the problems at the shelter.  "What is your understanding of the project?"  It is offering a bed and some food not a moon landing.  No questions around what are you going to do about overflow; or the huge number of EMS calls; staff mistreatment; a lack of effective grievances; and the inability to keep women safe.
  2. The committee that was designed to make the recommendation on who administers the shelter was all white in 2017.  The shelter houses 78% African Americans but the County appointed an all white committee to make the decision. 
  3. The committee never spoke to the women living in the shelter to hear their concerns.
  4. The committee obviously did not do a simple Google search on the conditions at the shelter.  They could have read thousands of words on the problems and issues associated with the shelter.
  5. The committee that made the decision had an intimate relationship with the current provider, but very little with West Side Catholic or Metanoia.  They were deciding between a close friend and a virtual stranger to run the shelter. 
  6. There was no plan for how to provide services to this deeply fragile population including the re-entry, mentally ill and addicted group trying to find help.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

 

Wednesday
May172017

NEOCH Suggests You Support Joseph's Home

Perseverance in Hope: The 2017 Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon will take place June 15 at Windows on the River. All funds raised will help acutely ill homeless men in Northeast Ohio regain their health and heal their lives.

Dan Moulthrop of The City Club of Cleveland will serve as emcee and moderator of a panel discussion.

Please consider a gift in support of the Perseverance in Hope 2017 silent auction. Contributions from friends like you helped us to raise more than $5,000 in the 2016 silent auction and raffle.

All auction item donors will be acknowledged on the bid sheets for their items. Donors will also be listed in the event program book, website and slide show (donation must be pledged by June 3, 2017 to guarantee listing).

Any contribution you can make will be deeply appreciated and will make a huge difference for the men of Joseph’s Home.  Here is a link to the event for more information.

P.S. Your gift in support of the Perseverance in Hope 2017 silent auction will help raise funds to provide vital healing care for the acutely ill homeless men of Joseph’s Home. Thank you for your consideration!

Brian Davis

Wednesday
May172017

Open Doors Cleveland Will Display Homeless Art Project

Open Doors CLE emerged as a result of the projectFIND students from the Cleveland Institute of Art surveying the landscape of homelessness in Cleveland.  They met with the vendors of the paper, members of the Homeless Congress, and residents from both shelters.  The students decided to work with the population to decorate doors in an attempt to bridge the gap between the homeless community and those in stable housing.  They finished their project and are now ready to display them.  They will be at the Rooms to Let: CLE event this weekend in Slavic Village and then at Willard Park/Free Stamp on May 27 from 11 to 5 p.m.  Here is a brochure that you can print out and distribute.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
May162017

Michael Stoops Memorial Announced

Michael Stoops

Written by Annie Leomporra on May 1, 2017.

The Board and staff of the National Coalition for the Homeless are heartbroken to share the passing of long-time organizer Michael Stoops. Michael passed away on May 1, 2017, due to illness incurred while recovering from a stroke.

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There will never be anyone like Michael, with his dedication to others, his tenacity, his quiet leadership and quirky humor. We all loved Michael as a mentor, a colleague, a brother and a friend.

Michael began his career in the early 1970’s, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in social work. His Quaker community encouraged him to travel from his native Indiana to Portland, Oregon to assist veterans. This is where Michael found his passion for ending homelessness. He was a founding board member of NCH, and joined NCH’s staff in 1988. Since 1988, he has worked to establish and provide ongoing support to local/statewide homeless/housing coalitions, and homeless self-help and social justice/action groups. In 2004, Mr. Stoops took on the role of Executive Director of NCH. Working to mobilize NCH’s grassroots network, Mr. Stoops traveled nationwide giving workshops, providing technical assistance, and testifying before state and local legislatures. Mr. Stoops was one of the founding members of the North American Street Newspaper Association and served as Board Member of Street Sense, Washington, DC’s premier street newspaper.

We will all remember Michael as a caring friend to each one of us. He has mentored us, and thousands of other advocates across the country. Michael could see potential, and did not waste time in getting us all to work. He has been steady, being the rock of NCH, through financial, political and personnel upheavals. Though he might have cut you short, he returned every call he ever received. He made time for each and every student doing research, for every mother crying because she couldn’t find shelter for her family, for every filmmaker wanting to make a difference, for each traveler who happened upon our office looking for help, and for every advocate looking for a way to fight for change. For many of us, Michael was a super hero. For the 10 years that I have had the honor to know Michael, he has worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. We could never get him to go home to rest, and he would at most take off one week a year to go visit his family (stopping at shelters and visiting advocates all along the way).

This is the Michael Stoops that we know, the Michael Stoops who we will remember lovingly, and the Michael Stoops who will continue to inspire us to work tirelessly until all of our neighbors, friends or family can sleep safely in their own homes. Rest in power Michael, we will keep the fight going.

-Megan Hustings, NCH Director

A Memorial will be held Thursday May 25, 2017 at 12:00p.m. at the Church of the Pilgrims, 2201 P Street, NW Washington, DC (map). A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Memorial organizers would appreciate any photos or stories you would like to share. Please email them to info@nationalhomeless.org.

Please visit the National Coalition for the Homeless to make a donation in the name of Michael Stoops and see more information about Michael Stoops. 

Here is the link to this page as it appeared on NCH website.

Saturday
May062017

When Will the Women Be Considered?

My biggest concern about Frontline Services continuing as the provider for the women’s shelter is the total lack of empathy, consideration, and failure to take responsibility for their actions.  After all the complaints that were made, no one seems to be listening!  The problems that have been presented were totally ignored and all the grievances that have been filed were not even considered. 

There is either a lack of communication here or the people making the decisions have no regard for human life, specifically the lives of women.  It seems that women have been targeted as outlets for people who are supposed to be responsible professionals as a way to practice doing the extreme opposite.  A lot of the women residing at the shelter have children or don’t want to be a burden to their family or possibly running from domestic violence with nowhere else to go!  They all have their own lives and responsibilities to address. 

The people that were selected for the committee don’t have a clue what homelessness really is or what to look for to make this type of decision and I’m pretty sure that it is totally unethical.  They should be more representative of the population being served.

The women residing at the shelter aren’t even getting enough consideration to have programs in place or a television to watch and keep up with what is going on around them.  This is a form of isolation which is also abuse, not to mention the horrible food that is served with no real nutritional value.  Under the current conditions, I’m sure that if they could every women in the shelter would leave tomorrow. 

I feel that the decision to continue to let Frontline, even with Lutheran Metro Ministry as a partner, provide services for the women’s shelter would be mean, heartless, and cruel.  When will the women be the focus of which group should be providing services for the only single women’s shelter in the entire city…and it has no TV!!!!  I feel that it is the provider’s responsibility to make sure to provide necessities that will eliminate chaos and boost morale?

by Ramona Turnbull

Editor's Note:  Ramona testified before the County Council.  These are her adapted comments without the County time limits.  These are the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of NEOCH.  The legislation is going forward, but there may be a limiting of the time frame of the contract from 19 months down from 31 months which was in the original legislation.