Find Help

The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event

Other Comments

Watch on YouTube

Irene Collins – Executive Director of EDEN

Ms. Collins:  Good afternoon President Brady, Chair Jones, I appreciate the time and I will be brief.  I just wanted to update you on some of the changes at the women’s shelter.  I am Irene Collins, the executive director of EDEN and we own the women’s shelter and provide the maintenance and repairs, insurance, all those kind of things for the facility.  I want to first thank the county for providing annual support and I especially want to thank Ruth Gillette for her continued support of Norma Herr to her efforts we were able to apply for apply for and be prioritized for the capital funding to end homelessness initiative by which we were awarded $333,000.00 to do repairs and maintenance to the women’s shelter.  The catch with that was that we had to provide dollar for dollar match funding.  The ADHAMS board, the Cleveland foundation and several other local foundations came through and we ended up with being able to have $765,000.00 to do much, much needed repairs at the women’s shelter which address some of, many of the issue that the women face daily from an aging building that gets a lot of wear, that needed a lot of repairs, so what we have done to date is upgrade major systems, we have replaced roofs, there were leaks so we had to replace the whole roof, we’ve replaced a new HVAC system which provides heating and air conditioning to the entire facility, hot water tanks which are part of these things are still in process such as all the water tanks are still being replaced  we have upgraded the bathrooms and installed new security systems. We expect to be completed within the next 30 to 60 days with the remainder of the renovations.  It’s been a huge project as you can imagine. But prior to deciding exactly what renovations were needed, we did meet with the shelter residents and get input on what improvements were important to them, the bathrooms, the leaks, the heat were all critical items on their lists as well and we realize that while we have accomplished a lot with that.  There are still issues and problems that some of the residents are concerned about and we do try to address those. We continue to work with the residents we attend the monthly resident meeting, we go to the monthly homeless congress meetings,  and quarterly meetings that frontline services has within to talk about resident issues so I do want you also to know that with the extra funding we did purchase as Eric said the extra beds.  Last night’s census was 155, there were 161 beds and so there were beds for everyone and at peak times it may hit 200 but there are mats available as Ruth said, we turn no one away so I do want to emphasize we are committed to providing a safe sanitary secure facility for the homeless women in our community.   Thank you very much.

Cynthia Ball – Resident of Women’s Shelter

Jones: Chrissy is anyone else signed in?

Chrissy: Yes, Ms. Cynthia Ball

Ms. Ball: Thank you.  Hi good afternoon council members, my name is Cynthia Ball and I am a current resident at the Norma Herr Women’s Shelter.  The reason why I came here today is to share my concerns that I had experienced while I have been a resident there. I would like to first say that I entered the shelter in December 30, 2014, I was hit by a car and spent 5 months in a nursing home and when they released me, they released me to the Norma Herr’s Women’s Shelter.  The complaint, one of the complaints, I have several, one of the complaints I have is the intake process.  I arrived there around 1:00 or 1:30 on Dec 30th and I sat in that lobby from the time I got there till sometime after 2:00 until someone actually came to see me.  The person who actually came out to see me, her name was Julie.  I have it here, let’s see Julie Harrison and once she sat down and did the intake with me, and had me sign some papers, I asked if I could get copies of those papers.  Everything I sign legally I like to have copies for my own record so I can look back on them.  She said Ms. Ball, no, we cannot give you these papers, that you would have to go down to Frontline to pick up the papers on your own.  When I first arrived there I was in bad shape, after being hit by a car. So of course, I could not go out to Frontline to get the papers and I didn’t see why.  She could have easily give me copies, they had a copy machine there, when intake was at Norma Herr, so I couldn’t understand the logic behind it.  I got tired of sitting around ‘cause nobody offered to help me between the time I got there until February when I had just got fed up and just went down to Frontline.  When I got down to Frontline in February 2015,  I asked to speak to another Julie, it wasn’t Julie Harrison, I can’t think of the other person’s name, but I was recommended to her by another resident, who lives in room 137, her name is Mercy.  She is currently living on Community Ave in that senior building, Skyline.  So I went down there and they said that she was not available so I had to see someone else.  Well, I went into this office and I explained my circumstances and stuff, and the gentleman came in and said to me that the only way we can give you copies if you give me your social security number and I have an issue with handing my social security number out.  I wouldn’t have minded giving him the last 4 digits, but he wanted the whole thing.  After I had given him my social security card then he said well Ms. Ball, we will mail you out your information.  Well low and behold, I got a copy now this is not what I asked for there was certain well I think it was like a 6 page document with so much stuff.  I didn’t get actually what I asked for, he gave me this and as I am going through this intake form document I notice that some of the stuff that Julie listed was not true.  First of all, I have never lost a job.  I have 2 degrees, I have a degree in hotel and restaurant management and a medical degree.  I worked in the industry over 25 years, what brought me to Ohio is that I got a job offer at the Brown’s stadium.  I worked for a year I left here, went to the Embassy Suites in Independence and then left there and went to the IX center.  I have always got good references from all of my bosses all over.  I was even a regional manager for Macy’s.  I ran 14 stores all along the east coast.  So I know how to manage and I know how to do things, okay and due to my circumstances that is how I became homeless, because I had nowhere to go, my family is on the east coast. So when I saw this information…..

Pernel Jones: Make your closing comment ‘cause our time is gone. 

Ms. Ball: Okay, my closing comments is that I don’t think it was fair to me when I arrived to Norma Herr women’s shelter on Dec. 30 that I had to sit from the time I got there until after 9 pm and the only reason I got a bed is because a lady whose bed I have now didn’t come back.  So that how I was able to get a bed there.  Intake has since moved from Norma Herr to Cosgrove’s, so I don’t know how the intake has since, even if it has changed, I don’t know, but the information that is listed on my documents is incorrect.  The other issue that I had too, is that when mail is dropped off at the shelter, it the staff takes the mail and sorts it to the person’s last name. When I come in, I go into the office and ask if I have any mail, they say, no, but yet sometimes when I go, I get mail and its 2 weeks late, a week late. Sometimes it’s very important information and so and not only that another time I came in my room and someone had put mail that was taken out of the staff office and put it on my bed when I got there my mail was opened and I made sure that I told Nicole who was my case manager what had happened because that shouldn’t have happened.  When people get mail to the shelter it should only go, of course it goes to the person who it’s directed to, but no one should be taking mail out of the office and deliver it to any of our rooms. I think that’s uncalled for and some of the appointments that I have has been delayed because we have been given the mail late.   Those are my two points that I wanted to make.

Loh- Resident of Women's Shelter

Pernel Jones:  Thank you, Chrissy has anyone else signed in?

Chrissy:  Yes, Mr. Chair, Ms. Loh

Loh: That’s all right, I’m short anyway.

Pernel Jones: Ms. Loh, you have been here enough, you know we are going to keep you to 3 minutes.

Ms. Loh: I understand that Thank you.  Loh is here to be accounted for.  All right, unfortunately I’d say that before when I first started coming to the meetings.  Ideal situation homeless people and the homeless service providers should all work together to solve problems. They can and learn from each other.  Unfortunately, here the reality is the opposite.  We do have a two very capable organizations, they are OHS favorites, they really know what to do to reach out to set our programs.  They do have a good ideas so they always get good funding for a good cause.  Unfortunately, when your organization spends too much you sometimes cannot really manage each and every one properly.  This is where the problems started maybe 40 years ago for this particular location, this particular program. I heard somebody just mention NEOCH did not like the previous 2 service providers, but I have learned some of the homeless history, put it that way, since I told you I came newly homeless I came to learn.  This particular supervisor right now, on the paper you may see somewhere, she actually worked for all of them.  She has been working for all 3 providers so now I really don’t know what to say about that, today I am a little bit surprised by that.  Even I heard her, she was nicknamed “warden” by the previous service provider, I didn’t know it was the whole thing like this.  Seems the communication got cut off successfully, so hire management people.  Even today they give lots of good reports, but the reality in the shelter is not really the same unfortunately, I told you before Council member Conwell, we really appreciate your big effort to get a funding for the extra beds, but how is the funding carried out, that’s a completely different story, if you come, that’s why I have been here to invite all of you for a reason. When you see what’s really there, you will know, your goodwill may not be actually be put to good use in the way you intend to. So, lots of problems are there but I am glad that after about over a year I’ve been pushing for this hearing to happen, it does happen.  Thank you very much but all the 4 items you see here actually is from the original document I delivered here with the 13 items which Frontline actually has the copy.  For all the bullying problem they cannot resolve, grievance process only has its name.  All my grievances is average maybe 6 to 8 months for me to even here something actually happens.  Thank you.

 Loh giving her testimony

Go back to the navigation page