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The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event

IMPROVING CLEVELAND SHELTERS

 When a person is homeless due to being evicted from their home, losing all their belongings in a fire, or for one of the multitude of reasons people find themselves on the streets, shelters are often the only option for people.  Though shelter are operated by non-profits and funded by the government, their conditions and policies are often not conducive to creating a nurturing environment that enables homeless individuals to enter back into society and stable housing.  NEOCH along with members of the homeless community through the Homeless Congress have worked over the last five years to improve the shelters.  They have a two step process to make the conditions within the shelters something that taxpayers would not be embarrassed for their Grandmother to stay for a short time.

The first step is to ask for a law passed by either the the County or the City that could not be easily overturned by different administrations and would provide protections to citizens who find themselves without a home.  This law would prevent improper discharges and would mandate that the shelters not turn people in need away.  They would mandate a certain level of care and would require a fair grievance process.  A law for regulating the shelters cannot be changed unless passed by an elected legislative body.  This is very important for the homeless, because it prevents any single individual in the government from taking away the rights of the homeless community.  

The second improvement would involve administration regulations attached to each shelter contract.  Every shelter director signs a contract that they will follow basic shelter standards in operating, administering and managing a publicly funded shelter.  Regulations can be changed each year in the contracts.  The shelter contract regulations can be altere by the County Office of Homeless Services Advisory and have to first be approved by one of the subcommittees.  The Congress spent an entire year looking at the shelter regulations and suggesting improvements.  They have been working on these issues for years to slowly imrpove the shelter conditions and prevent improper discharges.   Shelter standard laws and improving the oversight of the shelters are needed to safeguard the basic human rights of homeless people in Cleveland. 

SHELTER OVERSIGHT LAW PROPOSAL

  • The shelter standards proposed by NEOCH and the Homeless Congress can be found here.  The proposed shelter standards should be written into the law by both the City and the County to ensure that all shelter providers are meeting the basic neccessities for their clients.  

CURRENT CUYAHOGA COUNTY SHELTER STANDARDS (Updated 2015)

  • For reference, if you wish to see the current County Shelter Contract Regulations, they can be found here.

"DREAM" SHELTER REGULATIONS

  • The shelter regulations proposed by NEOCH and the Homeless Congress can be found here. These are the overall improvements to the current regulations.  They want to see these shelter regulations added to the current regulations and displayed at each shelter.  These would create a positive and safe environment for the individuals and families staying at Cleveland area shelters. These regulations go beyond the basic necessities and go into specific policies implemented by the shelter.  

SHELTER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2015

Currently, these are the shelter regulation recommendations that the Congress has proposed for 2015 that are being put forth by NEOCH and the Homeless Congress.  We hope to have these considered and passed by Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services in the near future. 

 Here is a flyer on the discharge policy in Cuyahoga County for distribution.