NEOCH HAS POSTED VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT OF COUNTY COUNCIL’S
COMMUNITY WOMEN'S SHELTER HEARING
Many of you have been following NEOCH’s role of assistance to the women who live at the Community Women's Shelter to challenge those who administer the shelter for much needed change. After hundreds of complaints funneled through NEOCH by the women who live at the facility and have ardently labeled the shelter “House of Payne” or HOP for short, the County Council finally had a formal hearing on May 4th. The Health and Human Services Committee opened the door for the women to formally air their grievances and discuss their frustrations about the conditions at the shelter.
NEOCH has posted the hearing on their website in two ways. 1) A link to the actual YouTube video of the hearing so you can watch it, and 2) a transcription of the actual hearing for you to read. We have divided it up into easier to read sections (see below).
To get to the video and transcript of the hearing:
From our homepage: (/) - across the top and under our banner is the directory, Go to “Solutions”, then click on “HOP Shelter Hearing”, both the video and transcript can be found there.
Here is a direct link to both video and transcript:
The transcript of the resident's part of the hearing is on one page, starting with the introduction, roll call and agenda. Following the agenda, four women who are current and one former residents of the shelter address the council with their personal concerns and grievances who speak for many women. Ramona Turnbull, Linda Reynolds, Iris Wiley, Danielle Smith and Alyssa Wiemer gave testimonies of the struggles and the suffering faced by the residents on a daily basis. Their voices are representative of uncounted women who have had the same issues and obstacles over the years with staff members, condescending attitudes mistreatment, and disrespect. There were problems discussed around health issues including problems with a lack of bedrest to very little help for a pregnant woman. Discussion involved issues with overcrowding, safety, fear of being beaten up, a lack of help for drug and alcohol issues and a continuous list of items that demoralized these women and still goes without solutions.
We have two pages of testimony by the executive director of NEOCH, Brian Davis. He responded by letting council know the issues are real, the environment is toxic and that it’s been difficult getting anyone to respond. In working with the women he asked for four items to be that would have an immediate impact on the success of the shelter. Council then questioned Davis and that is another page. Then the County staff who funds all the shelter, Ruth Gillet of the Office Homeless Services testified and answered questions. She surprisingly did not have any prepared statement about the shelter even though the women have complained about this shelter for years. Then Frontline Services 2cd in Command Eric Morse and Director of Emergency Services, LaTonya Murray responded to the list of issues. Morse did have a prepared statement.
We at NEOCH appreciated the opportunity to have this hearing and bring up the concerns of the residents at the women’s shelter. These concerns provide a horrible experience for those taxpayers down on their luck, and we have heard the same complaints and problems over and over for the last decade.
NEOCH would appreciate your feedback. What do you think about the complaints of the women and the answers given by the county and Frontline Services? Please feel free to leave a comment at our discussion page.
by Denise Toth
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