Homeless Congress Priority Items: 2015
1. Shelter Standards Improvements in Regulations
We have proposed a series of issues that we would like added to the regulations at the shelters including a series of rules for the Coordinated Intake in Cleveland. We want to make sure that a piece of paper is completed when someone dies in the shelters. We want to make sure bed rest orders are followed. We are looking for health clinics to be scheduled in the evening at the shelters. Discharges should be in writing and there should be a way to complain if the shelter regulations are not being followed. The fair housing rules should be respected and displayed at every shelter. Finally, we are looking at rules to reduce time spent in a line.
2. Shelter Law Passed in Cleveland or Cuyahoga County
We believe that there are a few items that are of such importance they need to be in law and not just left up to the shelters to enforce. We believe that no one should be turned away if they seek shelter. The broad conditions of the shelter including being kept clean, serving healthy food and treating everyone equally should be a law. The shelters should meet the needs of the disabled and provide supportive services. They should abide by the local fair housing laws and should have access to health care if they are larger facilities. Finally, the shelters should develop a third party grievance procedure and a policy to receive, investigate and enforce complaints.
3. Follow up with Justice Department on Police Relationship with Homeless People
Two homeless people were executed by the Cleveland Police in 2012 after a police chase. The Homeless Congress met with the Justice Department and have submitted items that we would like to see in a final consent decree with the City of Cleveland. We will continue to follow up on these issues.
4. Homeless Bill of Rights Passed by the City of Cleveland
We would like to see Cleveland become one of only three cities in the United States to pass a “Homeless Bill of Rights” to protect those without housing from harassment. This would protect people from moving around in public spaces and not being harassed from using the public sidewalks in an innocent manner. Homeless people should be treated equally as housed individuals even if they cannot provide an address. They shall have the right to vote even without having a residence. They should be able to keep their personal information private and remain anonymous within the shelter system.
5. A Separate Facility for Severely Mentally Ill Homeless Men and Women
For the protection and safety of homeless people with a severe mental illness, the Homeless Congress believes that the ADAMHS Board should fund a separate facility with professional staff to take care of both homeless women and men with a mental illness. We see fights, staying up all night walking and talking and deplorable hygiene all related to their mental illness. For both the mentally ill and the other residents of the shelter, it would be best if there was a facility with trained staff 24 hours a day who could help.
6. Fair Housing Regulation Passed to Protect Voucher Holders in City or County
As was passed in Warrensville Hts. we would like to see the City or County pass a law that would not allow landlords to discriminate against a person for their source of income. They could not restrict people with a voucher from renting an apartment. At this time only half of the available units in Cuyahoga County (on HousingCleveland.org) accept housing vouchers. It should not matter how a person pays the rent if they can prove that they will have sufficient funds every month to cover the rent.
7. Tiny Homes Campaign
This is a new concept in Cleveland that we are hearing a presentation about today. This is to create small homes with group kitchen and showers forming a village. It meets some of the goals we had when we were looking at converting abandoned houses to usable houses for members of the Congress. We tried for years to get funding for that project and could not. This might fill that project goal. We have assigned a number of Congress members to assist with this project.
If you would like to help contact NEOCH 216/432-0540 ext 103