When Homeless People Meet OHS, Again: What A Surprising Homeless Congress Meeting on Thursday, 13th July 2017
Finally, NEOCH has a new director in charge, so that we can resume our monthly Homeless Congress Meeting to discuss all the lousy miserable homeless issues, again!
Secondly, Ms. Gillett will ANSWER questions. Oh, well, many still remember HOW she answered questions, or actually did NOT answer questions back in March and April, right! Afraid, be very afraid! Will homeless people mistreat Ms. Gillett again?! Curious to know ...... As the World Turns ......
Huh?! Who is that lovely lady sitting in the last row, definitely a new face at this meeting? Ms. Gillett went to this lady to greet her, so she must be with Ms. Gillett. All right, now the meeting starts with Mr. Roy Love, i.e. NEOCH Board President, to get the agenda for this meeting and the minutes of the previous meeting approved. But, an elderly homeless grandma already starts asking questions to Ms. Gillett. Oh, how hungry are we homeless people! Trying to find answers for our problems everywhere and anytime. In all likelihood and most probably we will find NONE!
Now, the meeting and events homeless people should pay attention in our community are announced. And...here comes the drum roll...finally, the new guy in charge is introduced, Mr. Christopher Knestrick! Unfortunately, he is sitting at the front, and not jumping out of a huge cake! But, he is looking good, and his voice...wow, talk about a new face for NEOCH, and a new voice for homeless people!
Now, it is time for the Reality TV show!! What?! Ms. Gillett always seems like such a nice Grandma, but at this meeting, she suddenly turns into a tough Grandma? She proclaims that she does NOT have to come to these meetings because we were disrespectful to her in past meetings. But she still decided to come to inform us the new policy and the vote at a big "advisory" meeting next week. Wow! What should we do now?! All go to sit in a corner and have a "time out" as they do at the women's shelter. Or, no food tonight ... which happens nearly every night at the shelter, anyway.
Well, after she begins telling us about this new policy, the elderly homeless grandma starts in on her legitimate questions which cannot wait any longer, and just like the shelter doors opening at 3 pm, others also start asking questions. But, they are all well-behaved, waiting to be called on by the new guy in charge. However, the answers from Ms. Gillett have NOT changed much. Some questions she ignores while others she does not really answer in a straightforward manner. Lots of spin, but no real answers, again!
Now, in the middle, our new guy in charge, honestly and politely, asks two questions. And, our Tough Grandma, Ms Gillett, says that Chris's question is INSULTING?! Please! He is new to the job. This is his 7th business day at work. Can't she even give him a little break?! He only wants to know if there is anything for the staff or case workers when they do NOT do their jobs properly or do NOT do their jobs at all. The proposed policy clearly states that homeless people will receive NO services at the shelters after turning down three housing offers. And his questions are based on what he hears right here right now in this meeting from all the questions and comments, and especially, from the women sleeping at the Payne Avenue shelter.
Guess what Tough Grandma says? Now, she sarcastically asks what Chris would do with the staff. She wants to know our new guy wants the staff and case workers to be FIRED or to be SHOT in the Dark?! Well, our new director at NEOCH does NOT mean that and Ms. Gillett knows it, correct? But Tough Grandma ONLY has a one-sentence answer for Chris's legitimate question: "The staff will be held accountable."
She is the one forgetting that in this new proposed policy, there is NO mention of impartial third party to handle the grievances for homeless people. In addition to that, as always, Gillett never mentions what actions to take when the staff and case workers do not perform or even fail residents. Our new guy just points out the obvious. What a plot twist! Nobody sees that coming. Or, do they?
But, wait a minute! If a homeless person can be FIRED or punished from a homeless shelter to get SHOT in the dark or put in permanent time-out because they turn down three housing choices, why can't the bad staff or careless case workers have their pay cut or face some punishment for not performing their duties to help homeless people?!
Anyway, after the presentation and the Q&As, Ms. Gillett leaves the meeting before the meeting is really finished as she has done in the past. But there are many voices to whom saying, "thank you," and "have a nice evening," ...... and so on. But, that lovely lady sitting in the last row, she continues writing notes, and she does not leave!
Our new guy at NEOCH is brave, no doubt. After asking his "insulting question" that offends Ms. Gillett, he continues the meeting without having a mental breakdown. Maybe, he will have a future at this job after all.
And then we talk about the letter to the new CEO of ADAMHS Board to re-state our wish to support a separate facility for homeless people with severe mental health issues. Sure, the new guy also reminds us NEOCH can no longer help sheltered homeless people to file grievances. But, now we can go to County Council Meetings to do so. Oh, that lovely lady is still writing notes throughout the whole meeting, even at the end of the meeting? Her hand is probably very, very sore by now, but her notes are probably even more than notes taken by one of her bosses from the County. Cuyahoga County Councilman, Dale Miller attended the March Homeless Congress meeting and he really listened to all of us, and of course Ms. Gillett. We can tell that Councilman Miller really listened because he brought up many of the complaints at a County Council meeting and made staff from Frontline Services answer the concerns of many of the women. And the responses from Frontline staff were not up to the satisfaction of the County Council who cut their contract from 3 years to 8 months.
Well, that's about it. What a meeting! Let's have a toast to our new guy surviving his first meeting with his "insulting question," and to our being "disrespectful" to a person who earns a salary from taxpayers.
~~~ Narrated by "Troublemaker" Loh ~~~