by Ramona Turnbull
As an ex-resident of the women’s shelter and because I was there one year and ½, I feel obligated to speak today. Since becoming employed at NEOCH I have been better able to understand the differences between the two shelters. The men’s shelter has communities for the different needs a resident has, the women’s shelter does not. They have services to help obtain GED’s, jobs, and housing. The women’s shelter does not although they will tell you there are. There is a reward system for residents that do well in the programs or help around the shelter. There are even stipends that can be earned.
At the women’s shelter you are denied any rewards, consideration, respect, or empathy if you’re having a real bad day. The programs and some of the churches that were coming to the shelter no longer come. One resident residing at the shelter stayed for a short time and decided to look for assistance and consideration outside of the shelter and she was killed.
The lack of communication between staff can be very damaging. So is the treatment of the residents and this is a very big problem. Even the renovations that were recently installed are very representative of how badly women are treated at the only shelter in Cleveland for single women. Their isolation and treatment of the women are a cause for concern and it needs to stop.
Services and other outside providers should be able to enter the shelter to assist the women to move forward. At this point, they will not even allow the women to have a Resident’s Council at the shelter like they have at the men’s shelter. Brian Davis informed them there would be no cost and the NEOCH would get the funding and they still declined.
For some reason, the staff at the women’s shelter are isolating the women that have been forced to go there for help. Isolation is a form of abuse and it needs to stop as soon as possible.
Posts are the opinion of those identified by the byline.
Editor's Note: This is the statement that Ramona made about the shelter at the hearing in May. She did not get a chance to present the entire piece because she was so nervous. We present the entire text of what she wanted to say here. For a video of the entire session go here.