What is it like Living in the Shelters in Cleveland?

Commentary By Michael Boyd

I would like to talk a little bit about my experience in the shelter from being homeless off and on for fifteen years. I’ve seen more diversity in there. All colors, all races. The bad thing about the shelter is that they closed the shelter for the mentally disabled, and the mentally disturbed shelter, and now they are in 2100.

They stay up all night, walk the floors, urinate in the corner, and nobody can really stop them at 3, 4, 5 in the morning. The smell is so bad that you can smell the place a block away! The staff snatch the blankets off you at 5:30 in the morning, yelling in your ear, and trying to rush you out of the place. Most of the staff are formerly homeless themselves but, since they’ve been there so long (ha-ha), they don’t act like they remember being homeless.  I don’t understand! Somehow I think they’re losing touch with the reality of getting their own places!

One time when I was down there, I woke up and my shoes were gone, my bag was gone with my street newspapers, and nobody was able to help me find them. They gave me shoes that were size 11, and I wear a size 8. The good things are that the churches come to feed us, the staff is pretty good, and they give us shelter.

Also, I would like to add that the Coalition has helped me. Selling the paper helped me reconcile with my fiancé and get my life back on track. But somehow or another I would like to see the shelters improve.  I would like to see other people who have to live in the shelters be a little better, and not use the shelters as such a crutch for them.  I want to see them maybe clean the shelters a little bit better. 

I also would like to add that God is great. Never give up the faith, and even though we have nothing, God has something in store for all of us. It’s the reason why we all are still here! I like to keep saying that. God bless anybody who reads this, their friends and family members, and the people who don’t read it.