Women's Overflow Sight Deplorable

By Wanda

At First United Methodist you get a different mat and blanket every night. You don't know who used it [mats and blankets] the night before. The blankets and mats stink. I got a rash on my arm and head lice from sleeping on those mats.

They really should assign mats to people. It would be better if you used the same mat every night. That way you don't have to worry about what you might catch. The staff there were pretty nasty at first. I really had to let them know that I'm just as human as they are and that there was no reason for any of them to talk to me like I was trash.

I get along with them now. They just treat you nasty until they get a chance to know you. You have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and be out by 6:00 a.m. The rules there are whatever the staff says they are. There are rules they give you at intake, but those aren't usually the rules that are enforced. It really depends on who is working.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Woman Regrets Leaving Salvation Army

By Connie

I came to Cleveland on Christmas Day. My boyfriend and I decided to move here to start over. We both felt we needed a new life. My boyfriend got arrested and I’m out on the street while he’s in jail. I work nights, don’t make enough money to have a place to stay so for a few weeks, I slept in the car. I went over to (Bishop) Cosgrove and I got a street card. I thought that was great. The card has the names of places to eat and shelters you can stay at.

The first shelter I stayed at was the Salvation Army on Carnegie. That was real nice. I had my own room, clean sheets and a bed. I really screwed up. I went out drinking one night and I got kicked out of the place. The staff there treated you real nice. They treated you like an equal. The only thing they asked was that you don’t use drugs or alcohol and that you do some chores around the house. Everyone has chores to do.

I didn’t realize how great that place was until I stayed at the church on East 30th and Euclid. I’ve been sober for eight weeks now. I really don’t know what happened to cause that change. I guess I got sick of seeing my brothers happy and successful and seeing myself where I’m at. I guess I just want to have a better life like my brothers. I’m happy I’m sober and I won’t go back to drinking again. I made it this long, (eight weeks) I’m not going to let anything get me to the point of drinking again.

I think one of the best things about the Salvation Army was that they let you stay there during the day. You had to leave between 9:30am to 11:59am but they let you in at noon. I was working nights at the time and that really worked out for me. Most of the shelters only allow you in from 6:00pm to 6:00am. If you work nights you’re really screwed.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Woman Chooses Homelessness over Fear

By Wanda

I became homeless late last year when a child playing with matches burnt my building down. The Red Cross tried to help me find a place I could afford but I ended up at Garden Valley Estates. I have an apartment there, I just don’t stay there. It’s just too much shooting and theft. I can’t stay where I’m in constant fear, that’s why I stay at the shelter on East 30th and Euclid.

There’s a lot of thieving going on in there but you don’t have to fear for your life. I really don’t like anything about the place except for the fact that they’ll take you in when all the other shelters are full. We stay in the basement of the church. Sometimes there are women with small children there. Those are the ones I really feel sorry for. You see some of these young women with two or three small children, black eyes and nowhere else to go.

They try to escape the bad situation they’re in and end up here in another bad situation. I’m glad my kids are grown and gone, I don’t have to worry about dragging them to a shelter that stinks from Lord knows what. Some of these women go back to their abusive husbands after a few days. With some of the crackheads and crazies in here they’re better off going home to their own hell.

I’m just waiting for an apartment at one of the safer projects. The problem is that once you have a place[HUD] don’t consider your situation an emergency. They ought to realize that if you can’t stay your apartment because of the drugs and violence you are homeless.

Note: Wanda is on the waiting list for a different apartment at CMHA. She was interviewed at CHCH Women’s Center.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Violence Forces Shelter Stay

by Rosie

I became homeless because of domestic violence. I woke up one day with a gun to my face and decided that was it. There’s a lot of women out here who aren’t out here because of alcohol or drugs, but because of domestic situations. I’ve been staying at the church on East 30th and Euclid and not by choice! Every day I call around and try to find some other shelter with an opening but they’re all full. I really don’t like this overflow shelter. There’s too much theft there. If you take a shower there and don’t have someone you trust to watch you’re stuff, your things will be one by the time you get out of the shower. I sleep there at night and come over here [Cleveland Health Care for the Homeless] during the day to shower and wash my clothes. I like this place, the staff is really nice.

At the church on 30th and Euclid, the staff treats you like shit. There’s a lot of verbal abuse there. They[staff]don’t cuss at you but they sure fuss at you. They talk to you like you’re a stupid little kid. I’, really not too sure what the rules here are, I never got a list of rules. They seem to be whatever who’s working want them to be. Last night they put one woman out because she didn’t pick her mat up that morning. They put her out for five days. That really isn’t right. She didn’t pick her mat up because she woke up late for work. They [staff] won’t wake you up extra early even if you need to be up to get to work on time. They tell you that’s your problem. I really don’t understand why they refuse to wake you up for work. Can you imagine what it would be like if even five or six of us had alarm clocks going off at different times? It’s hard enough to sleep in one of these places already. They also need to realize that a person can’t hang on to an alarm clock in here, there’s just too much theft going on in here. They put you out and there’s nothing you can do about it, They shouldn’t be allowed to put you out for something you didn’t even do.

The staff here should be forced to take sensitivity training. It’s bad enough to be down and out living in a shelter, you really don’t need staff talking to you that way and making you feel even worse.

Note Rosie is homeless. She was interviewed at Cleveland Health Care for the Homeless

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998.

The Long Wait for an Apartment in Cleveland

By Alex Grabtree

Editor’s Note: The most frequent and vocal complaint that we at the Grapevine hear is with regard to housing, and one of the last options, especially for homeless people, is to apply for public housing. Setting aside the stigma associated with living in “the projects” applying for an public housing apartment is one of the most frustrating and difficult bureaucracies to overcome. What follows is the story of one individual, William Russell, and his application for an apartment at Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. This is not an isolated story, this is typical of the process for a single homeless individual.

William Russell lives under a bridge in Cleveland. He works at least 30 hours a week, but has no credit background and has a federal drug conviction in his past. In Chicago, he was caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and was the only person 18 years old. The police decided that it would be a waste of time to bust the juveniles in the group, so they laid everything on Russell.

Actually, growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood, Russell was the exception in his neighborhood, never having served time as a juvenile. He spent six months in jail at 18 and left Chicago for Cleveland. He was too “ independent” to get a traditional job. He could never follow directions, and dreamed of setting up his own business. For a few years, he worked in a temporary service driving a tow motor. He found that after two years, he still was making minimum wage and he never had enough money to get a place.

He did smoke some dope in his spare time for enjoyment, and he had an expensive cigarette habit. Russell did not drink or take hard drugs, so was not qualified for traditional shelter programs that catered to drug addicted individuals. He spent his money on two good meals a day in an attempt to remain “independent”.

He did not go in for social services or meals for homeless people because he was too proud.

Russell made half-hearted attempts to sell street papers, flowers, and anything else he could find. At 28, he looked back and saw that this independence was taking a toll and he wasn’t really going anywhere. Russell came to the conclusion that he needed a house or a base of operation to set up his business. He knew he could never get a traditional paycheck so therefore no landlord would rent to him. Russell was making around $600 a month and could afford a $200 apartment.

In late 1997 (before 11/ 1/ 97), Russell applied for an apartment with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. He went back and applied a couple of times because he did not hear anything. He stayed in a shelter for a period of time and got a shelter letter. Russell found a place that would be willing to accept his mail, and he secured the necessary identification. He got a letter verifying his income, and a letter verifying that he was staying under a bridge. After six months, he was notified that he needed to attend an orientation class for low income housing.

Russell took the day off and went to the seven hour class. The CMHA employees went over the rules and regulations of living in a public housing unit. They talked about what CMHA expected from those that live in a unit. There was the basics of cleaning and some good housekeeping tips offered. But what Russell came away with was the discussion of preferences. He clearly remembered the talk about three preferences for public housing : homeless, the involuntarily displaced and those that were trying to unify their family.

Russell said, “It is my understanding they gave me reason to believe that homeless people had priority over everyone else as long as they can prove that they live on the streets or in a shelter. I provided that information and it is true. I felt that I had a good shot.”

Russell took a certificate of completion away from the class.

As described in Grapevine issue 24, CMHA abolished its policy giving priority to homeless people for available public housing (see preference list in this issue). Russell did apply for public housing before this policy went into effect, and so he felt he had a good shot.

He was contacted again to sign paperwork and sign release of information forms. He interpreted this as another good sign. They were reviewing his application and it was moving through the system. He left a letter with the staff person at CMHA that he wanted to live in one of the high rises because he felt the townhouses were drug houses.

After a few weeks, Russell received a letter “telling me that I have no priority.” The letter reflected the new preferences that the CMHA Board had adopted in November 1997. It was absolutely contradictory from what he had been told in the orientation. “I thought that I was going to get an apartment,” until he was briefed on the meaning of this letter from his contact at CMHA. “Now I am never going to get into one of these houses,” Russell said.

After eight months and an all day class, he received a letter that said that his application was complete and he was on the waiting list. CMHA officials say that the active waiting list is around 5,000 people. With an “X” through the box next to “no priority.” Russell may be right that he has no shot at a CMHA unit.

Russell was angry when talking about his frustration in trying to get into a place. He said that he has no chance of getting a place if “they are talking that shit that homeless people don’t have no priority. What the fuck does that mean? Homeless people don’t have priority? That shit is fucked up.”

He claimed it was discrimination for single men to not have the same preference as homeless families. He asked , “Is this leading single women to get pregnant just to get some of the services and to get their own apartment? That is why a lot of their lives get messed up.”

Russell did have suggestions for improving the program. He felt that “public housing” should be for homeless people, un-doubling people, and getting people out of substandard housing. Russell also suggested that one person on staff should be available to answer questions or respond to concerns about applications. This is a suggestion mentioned by many on the waiting list who were willing to talk. What came out was a fundamental lack of communication between those seeking housing and the staff at CMHA and an unwillingness on the part of CMHA to bridge this gap.

Russell is at a crossroads. He has resolved himself to the realization that he will never get a public housing unit, and is worn down from spending the winters under bridges. He will either break down and slowly and quietly die in a traditional labor job or he will move to another city with the hope of starting a new life. He said, “If homeless people have no preference, and I am homeless what can I say?”

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CMHA PREFERENCES FOR HOUSING

Resolution Authorizing Revision of local Preferences in the Selection of Applicant to all Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Owned, Managed, or Administered Housing Programs. Adopted October 1, 1997

WHEREAS, HUD made provisions for Local Preferences in the selection of applicants for housing which were implemented by the Low Income Public Housing Program in 1995, and :

WHEREAS, CMHA wishes to standardize applicant preferences across all housing programs, and

WHEREAS, CMHA desires to modify the existing Local Preference point system and the qualifying conditions in order to serve both the community at large concurrent with satisfying the needs of the Authority:

BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of the CMHA that:

Section 1: The Executive Director through her designee is authorized to revise the local preference system to reflect the following changes:

1) UNDOUBLING. Remaining tenant, Remaining Participant 640 POINTS

At least two persons over maximum occupancy standards. A household must be severely under housed and a current CMHA resident/ participant (not applicant): and the household must include two or more generations. Or the remaining tenants/ participants need not be underhoused, but must have been on the original lease. All remaining residents must meet eligibility requirements.

2) DISPLACEMENT. 320 POINTS

Conditions include: Successful completion of a 24 month residential substance abuse treatment program and continue drug and alcohol free status by the head of household. Or homeless families who have graduated from a transitional housing whose duration is at least 90 days. Or victim of a disaster resulting in the inhabitability of an applicant’s unit not caused by the applicant, family members or guests.

3) EMPLOYMENT 160 POINTS

Conditions: Applicant works at least 25 hours a week; and applicant has been employed by the same employer for at least six months; and applicant household meets the definition of very low income.

4) SUBSTANDARD CONDITIONS 80 POINTS

The unit is substandard if it is dilapidated. Does not have operable indoor plumbing. Does not have usable flush toilet inside the unit for the exclusive use of a family. Does not have a usable bathtub or shower. Does not have electricity, or has inadequate or unsafe electrical service. Does not have a safe or adequate source of heat.

5) Currently enrolled in a County funded Welfare- to-Work Program: 40 POINTS.

Families whose head of household has completed at least 60 percent of the County funded Welfare to Work Program required course work.

6) Family Unification (to bring parents back with children) 20 POINTS

Families identified by local public agencies, whose children have been removed due to a lack of adequate housing, and families needing housing in order to be reunited with their children who are in foster care; or grandparents gaining custody of grandchildren.

7) Veteran 10 POINTS

Families whose head of household or spouse is a veteran or serviceman including families of deceased veterans or servicemen.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

 

 

The Angeline Christian Home Responds

In response to the questions you sent me I am sending copies of the rules we have posted. In addition, there are a few areas that I would like the opportunity to expound on;

Because of the overwhelming need for emergency shelter assistance, we have to limit the amount of time a client can stay to one month. We would love to be able to give the women a longer time period to address the problems that brought them to us, but our facility isn’t large enough to allow us to accommodate the women any longer than that.

  • · There are doors on all of the bedrooms.
  • · Our cook does early wake-up calls for women that request this service.
  • · We have a case manager on staff. The case manager assists the women in obtaining transitional housing, shelter letters, healthcare, etc.
  • · We provide clothing assistance.
  • · In addition, our kitchen is open for coffee, tea and snacks all day.

We really care about the women who, for whatever reason need our services. We do our best to fulfill their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We strive to be more than just a shelter.

Sincerely,

Patricia Wolf

The Angeline Christian Home

-Rules for Mothers-

1. Mothers, you are responsible for your own children AT ALL TIMES.

2. Do not ask other residents to watch your children. Take the children with you when you leave for appointments.

3. If your children make a mess in the Dining room or Playroom, it is your responsibility to clean it up quickly and thoroughly.

4. Diapers, smelly clothing, and wet bedding must be properly and promptly taken care of. Pampers, etc. are to be WRAPPED IMMEDIATELY in newspaper and PROMPTLY disposed of in the trash cans behind the building.

5. You are to furnish your own diapers, if possible. They will NOT be furnished if you smoke or buy junk food.

6. Children are not to run in the house or to play in the lounge. They are to stay out of the kitchen and others’ bedrooms.

7. Children under 10 years old should be in bed by 8:00pm. Older children no later than 9:00pm.

Angeline Christian Home

House Rules

1. All residents are required to attend devotions, church service and any other activities scheduled by Angeline Christian Home; unless special permission is given by the Director.

2. All medications must be checked into the office.

3. Bad language, obscene literature, sexual activity, drugs and alcohol are prohibited. Even if staff suspects any of the above – you will lose your bed.

4. You may not leave the building until chores are completed. You must notify a Staff Member before leaving

5. Curfew is 6:00pm. If you are not in the building, you will lose your bed. Please do not return after curfew- your bed will be gone.

6. Meals are served at scheduled times only. No junk food in the building.

7. All residents must be in bedrooms by 10:00pm. And in bed with lights out by 10:30pm.

8. If you do not return, your personal belongings will be held for 24hrs. After 24hrs the belongings will be shipped out with no hope for recovery.

9. Sunday meal is at 1:00pm. Residents who plan on eating must sign up. Sunday curfew is 8:00pm due to Sunday meal.

10. Laundry must be done between 7:00am and 10;00pm. All machines should be shut off at 10:00pm.

11. Fighting and arguing is reason for immediate dismissal.

12. Please DO NOT ask for money from the staff of ACH, volunteers, the members of the church you are attending or it’s Pastor.

The City Mission Board of Trustees, Staff and Volunteers will not be liable for any accident, injury, theft or counsel on or off the premises.

Attention: Your stay at The Angeline Christian Home will be no longer than 2 to 4 weeks from the date this is signed. Dismissal may come sooner if the House Rules are broken.

Please set your goals on obtaining permanent housing.

I have read the House Rules and hereby agree to abide by them during my stay at The Angeline Christian Home.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Squatting a Solution for Those without Homes?

Commentary by Tom Boland

People kept down by prejudice sometimes use the tactic of “non-violent civil disobedience.” Such tactics are familiar to many because those who marched with Martin Luther King used them to win voting and other rights for people of color. Native peoples, poor people and homeless people are using such tactics to seek justice today.

If conditions for poor people are where you live as they are where I live (Boston), I invite you to consider squatting buildings as a way to publicize the need for affordable housing. This article suggests my tips if you decide to squat or encamp for your rights.

For your information, I am a pacifist anti-poverty activist who spent two years homeless. In the last few years, I’ve been working with groups in and near Boston that homeless people manage.

One of them, called Bread and Jams, now has many programs. One program is a “social action and service center” for homeless people in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (That’s right, homeless people run their own center here. The Center has been open since 1991. Maybe a homeless-run center would also work where you live).

I distilled the “squatting tips” below mainly from the failures of a three-month encampment for affordable housing in Boston in 1988. It involved hundreds of homeless people and allies.

Authorities tricked us into moving our location a number of times, although we spent over two months camped outside Boston City Hall. Our protest ended with a building takeover and over a dozen arrests. Our nonviolent direct action campaign was called HOMEFRONT 88.

A decade later here in Boston, a group called Homes Not Jails is squatting for affordable housing. I urge you to think about squatting where you live, and here are my tips:

1. Bring camcorders, tape recorders, cameras, notepads and press passes. This will help deter police harassment and, if it occurs, provide you with a record of it. It will also help you get access to sites and information that authorities are trying to keep from the public eye. It’s amazing how humanely officials can act when they know that others are watching.

2. STAY IN CONSTANT TOUCH WITH SQUATTERS WORLDWIDE

This cross-fertilizes strategies and helps you decide what may work or not locally. It also builds morale, especially when authorities are trying to discredit you and threatening arrests to scare off supporters.

Nowadays, the Internet is an excellent link to other squatters in a world where over a billion people are houseless----even in wealthy nations.

The home page for Homes Not Jail (Boston Chapter) is a good place, at: http://www.geocities.com.Capitalhill/7996/

3. GIVE EVERY PARTICIPANT AN “EVICTION ALERT PHONETREE”

The list should include contact phone numbers for the newsdesks of alternative and mainstream----local TV, newspapers, and radio, plus wire services such as United Press and Reuters. Don’t forget college papers and radio stations.

4. Also include contact numbers for supporters to mobilize quickly if arrests occur. Perhaps you can find progressive members of City Council, clergy or other “notables” to promise to be arrested if you are “evicted” from the site.

But make sure they do not take over and corrupt your aims. (For more on this, see point 5 ).REQUIRE NON—VIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TRAINING OF ALL WHO MIGHT RISK ARREST. To help assure public support, you’ll need to make sure there are no threats, screaming or fights. Officials or the media may well use such incidents to deflect attention from the validity of your issues.

Role-play all possible outcomes. There are fine non—violence trainers, especially among the Quakers. You may want to contact Friends Meetings (Quaker congregations) if you have them locally, or the American Friends Service Committee.

6. CREATE “LEGAL SUPPORT” ROLES FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO BE ARRESTED.

Never “guilt-trip” those who may not want to do civil disobedience. Make sure they are in a spot where they will not be arrested. Help them choose legal support tasks. These include meetings, transport, materials, cash, outreach, publicity and legal help—to name but a few.

7. MAKE YOUR SPOKESPEOPLE THOSE MOST AFFECTED---HOMELESS PEOPLE.

I think it’s a form of “domestic colonization” when non-poor people speak for the poor, even when “progressives” do it. When actions show signs of success, politicians and service providers often try to take control, take credit and take any resources you win (such as housing and cash).

Homeless people’s aims get lost in such shuffles---as well as the materials to survive and that homeless people deserve. Choose your allies carefully, and let homeless people speak for themselves.

8. MAKE DEMANDS THAT LINK THE KEY ISSUES---CIVIL RIGHTS, HOMES FOR ALL, WAGE-RENT SLAVERY. Be realistic. Demand the impossible. What is “possibly feasible” today is far short of what people need and deserve. Accept no substitutes. You may get what you ask for---so ask for everything.

9. WIDELY PUBLICIZE AND ENFORCE A BAN ON ALL ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ON SITE. People who are high or agitated at your actions will undercut your credibility with the public who can help win your demands. If you see someone with drugs or alcohol, ask them to take it off the site—first time, every time. Fighting drunks will discredit your actions quickly.

10. GET ADVICE AND SUPPORT FROM CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS. One group that comes to mind is National Law Center on Homelessness and poverty ( which works closely with National Coalition for the Homeless ). The Law Center recently published a report on police harassment of homeless people, titled “mean sweeps.” If you use the internet, you can link to the Law Center ( and other useful information on homelessness ) via the National Coalition for the Homeless homepage at: http://www.nationalhomeless.org. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) helped Home front protesters get charges dropped. ACLU is another group worth working with, especially if people are arrested.

11. HAVE SQUATTING SUPPLIES ON SITE AND NEARBY. If you manage to hold a building, authorities may try to starve you out. So have water, blankets, food, soap, and buckets for human waste inside—before you publicly announce your site.

Also have cell phones inside, so that you can have contact with supporters outside. Don’t forget musical instruments to celebrate your struggle—and to accompany you as you sing “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

12. REFUSE TO BE MOVED

Don’t let officials off the hook by moving off their turf and out of my minds. They will tell you that the problem is somebody else’s, not theirs. If indeed they have power to give what you demand and need, stay where you are. Hold official’s feet to the fire, so that they finally “walk their talk” about helping homeless folks.

EPILOGUE:

Hundreds of people participated in Boston’s HOMEFRONT ’88. Yet our gains were largely nullified by drinking and drugging on site and by public quarrels (including fistfights) among would-be “leaders).

It also hurt us that we let officials scare us into moving our encampment from one site to another. Our cause was just---homes for all. But our reversion to “chain of command” and our lack of “nonviolent discipline” helped reinforce stereotypes about activists and homeless people. And HOMEFRONT lost it’s commitment to direct action, floundered for awhile, then died.

You may want to tailor these guidelines for your specific needs. I hope these suggestions help. I send my best wishes to all of you fighting homelessness.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Salvation Army Meets Most Needs

By Janet

I've stayed at the Salvation Army's Women's Shelter. That’s really nice. The staff treats you nice. They talk to you like you’re a human being. I had my own room there. They even had a dresser in the room. So you didn’t have to put your clothes on the floor.

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SHELTER LIFE

Salvation Army Woman’s Shelter

They even have wash machines there so you can do your laundry. There, you have to get up, make your bed and be out by 9:30. They don’t have wake-up calls if you work. They give you meals and the food is good. At 9:30am you have to leave until noon. You can come in and stay after noon. That really works well for a lot of us. Most places only let you in after 6:00pm and you have to be up and out by 6:30am.

Here, if you work nights, you have a place to sleep during the day. Having a place to go during the day is a big problem for us. You can’t go to stores or malls to stay warm because they throw you out. There are very few places you can go. I thank God for this place (Cleveland Health Care for the Homeless). At least if you’re not lucky enough to be in a good shelter like the Salvation Army, you have a nice, clean place to go during the day and on weekends. The staff here tries to help you get a handle on your problems so you can get ahead and never have to come back to the shelters. Everyone here has chores to do. The chores are listed on a chart on the wall and so are the rules. You basically have to keep your room clean and orderly and you’re not allowed to take any food into your room. There are certain times during the day that you have to be away from the shelter but it’s not as long as at other places.

Everyone here is treated as an equal. My only complaint is that they don’t wake you up for work if you have to get up earlier than their wake-up time. I don’t have an alarm clock and sometimes I get up later than I should. I don’t want to be late for work because I really don’t want to lose my job. Other than that the only complaint I have is that you can only stay here for 21 days. I really don’t know if they have any other programs like the men have at VOA (Volunteers of America). I’m going to have to find out.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

News from the Streets

HOMELESS MAN MURDERED

News From Arizona

A homeless man was shot and killed by two men behind a department store in Mesa. An argument started after the homeless man approached two men who were urinating behind the store and asked them for some money. One of the men shot the homeless man at close range. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man reported the crime to police within an hour and will not face charges for his part in the crime. Police are still trying to identify the transient man who they describe as a white man in his 40’s, approximately six feet tall and 190 pounds.

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HOMELESS OFFERED DOG SHELTER

From San Francisco’s Street scene

Homeless people in San Francisco are currently being offered a place to stay at an area animal shelter. The new 7 million dollar S.P.C.A. shelter offers “home style” housing for pets has opened it’s door to homeless people. The rooms include televisions, furniture and skylights. It is hoped that homeless people will pair up with a cat or dog and be an overnight buddy for the incarcerated animals. Homeless people will not be able to bathe, eat meals or receive clothing at the new shelter. The shelter will merely provide an overnight place to stay.

The S.P.C.A. shelter is reportedly much nicer than the new human homeless shelter the city recently built in the China Basin. The China Basin “camp style” shelter boards 600 people and numerous raccoons and other nocturnal animals even though housing animals was never the intent.

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ILLINOIS TAXES TO FUND SHELTERS

News From Illinois

The state of Illinois has found a way to help fund homeless programs in their state. Illinois allows their citizens to fund homeless and medical research programs through donations made through tax returns. Illinois citizens simply check a box on their tax forms to allow a one dollar donation to be added to what they owe or deducted from their tax return. In the past, nearly two million dollars was raised for the homeless through this program.

HOUSE BILL ATTEMPTS TO REPEAL FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS OF DISABLED

House Bill 3206, the “Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998” was introduced to the House of Representatives February 12, 1998. If passed, the bill would permit local governments to zone out group homes for disabled people. The bill would repeal civil rights protections currently guaranteed to disabled individuals in need of assisted living programs through the constitution.

The bill sponsors, Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Jane Harman (D-CA), and Charles Canady (R-FL) have since proposed a substitute bill which is expected to be introduced as

early as April 22. This revised version narrows the target to people in recovery, the mentally ill, and people with other disabilities.

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POOR CHILDREN REMOVED

News From Alberta

Poor children in Alberta are being taken away from their parents simply because they live in poverty. Since welfare cuts were enacted four years ago,

There have been an additional 570 more “failure to provide the necessities of life” cases.

Although it would only cost an additional $300-$400 per family per month in welfare payments to keep the family intact, the government has opted to spend $600 per month, per child placed in foster care forcing taxpayers to support the dismantling of families at exorbitant costs. The long-term costs caused by broken families will be much higher.

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CUTBACKS IN WELFARE EXPECTED TO DEVASTATE HOMELESS POPULATION

News from Los Angeles

Cutbacks in welfare for single adults in Los Angeles are expected to have devastating effects upon the homeless population. The current system provides food stamps, health care and a $212 monthly grant. The cutbacks will limit benefits to five out of twelve months and community service will be the requirement for all able-bodied individuals.

The cutbacks are expected to increase the burden on nonprofit social services providers who are already unable to adequately address the housing problems of people with minimal incomes. Although numerous buildings have been reclaimed to provide housing for the poor, their meager incomes have proven to be too low to cover basic operating costs. Federal rental subsidies have failed to assist nonprofit organizations in ameliorating the problem of unaffordable housing because most federal rental subsidies are for persons with disabilities.

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HUD FUNDING CUT FOR 1998

On March 31, 1998, a supplemental spending bill was passed by the House of Representatives. The bill grants additional spending authority for the Department of Defense and disaster relief. The additional funding is expected to come from a $2.2 billion cut in HUD Section 8 funding despite President Clinton’s proposed increase in HUD funding for year 1999. It was found during the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 1997 survey of 29 cities that 27 percent of all requests for emergency aid went unmet in 1997.

The Conference Committee passed this measure transferring funds from HUD’s Section 8 program to disaster relief. The President signed the measure promising to restore the funds in 1999. He made the same promise with regard to welfare reform.

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LONELINESS REPORTED BIG PROBLEM

News from Ottawa, Canada

A recent survey of Ottawa’s homeless community shows that 40 percent of the homeless people surveyed rate loneliness as the biggest problem they face. The report found that only 20 percent stated the lack of money was their biggest problem, and only fifteen percent rated being homeless as their worst problem. The survey also asked what homeless people rated as their greatest need in getting off the street. The survey found 77 percent needed help to obtain housing, 68 percent wanted help budgeting money and 60 percent needed help dealing with emotional crises.

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MINNESOTA TO BUILD STATE-RUN POOR HOUSES

News From Minnesota

Minnesota passed legislation April 9, 1998 to build three “residential” academies” for poor youths. Twelve million dollars have been put aside to pay the costs of the three facilities. It is expected that between 150 and 900 children ages 9 through 18 will be served. These state-run boarding schools are being implemented to house and educate children from poor families.

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FOOD REQUESTS INCREASING

News From Ohio

A recent survey by Ohio’s Second Harvest showed a dramatic increase in requests for emergency food. Statewide Second Harvest Food banks distributed food totaling $59 million in 1997 while in 1996 only $46 million was distributed. Those requesting food are usually the first warning about future increases in homeless people. Nearly 60 percent of those requesting food were female. Thirty-three percent of those requesting food were working. Also, those receiving assistance reported an annual income of less than $10,000.

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FREEZING POINT USED AS SHELTER GUIDELINE

From the Denver Voice. Colorado

The City of Denver recently passed legislation that uses “freezing” as the guideline temperature at which shelters may exceed their capacity. Critics of the legislation argue that 32 degrees is too cold. They point to research that demonstrates that half of the freezing deaths occurred when the temperature was between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Critics also argue that former State Senator Phillip Hernandez, member of the Governance

Board of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI) urged a critical temperature of 40 degrees in 1997. The 32 degree standard is likely to result in more cases of hypothermia, frostbite and death by freezing.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Managed Care Cuts Homeless People Loose

By Brian Davis

Managed care gets bad reviews from customers for placing a dollar figure on health care and worrying about the bottom line before the life line, but how does managed care impact the homeless?

Imagine having a breast removed, and being told to change the bandages in a shelter. Imagine walking around with AIDS looking for a shelter that will allow for all day bed rest. Imagine being turned away from a stay in the hospital with only a one day prescription because your condition was not serious enough for admittance and then being turned away from the shelters because your condition was too serious to risk infecting the other customers. This is managed care for homeless people.

Those who exist on the streets and the shelters cannot recuperate in their homes. They do not have the luxury of bed rest, and cannot expect help from shelter staff to change dressings or assist with other bodily functions for those barely able to walk.

Officials at Harbor Light shelter said, ‘They just want people out. They use shelters as a dumping ground. They are releasing a lot of people too early without a lot of medicine.”

A Harbor Light staff person reported that one client fell down the stairs and had to go to the hospital. Instead of putting a rod in his elbow and attempting to reconstruct the bone, the doctors decided that it would be cheaper to remove the bone so the individual had only half the strength in his arm.

Another person at Harbor Light was burnt. He received a minimum level of care at the hospital and was released with some Tylenol aspirin. And before the law was changed, a woman delivered cesarean and was released within twenty four hours. This staff member who did not want to give his name said, “Homeless people are not treated the same. It is not like it is on TV.”

A Harbor Light official reported that social workers often lie about a patients condition to get them out of the hospital. He said, “We don’t even deal with St. Luke’s. They aren’t straight with you.”

Officials from St.Luke’s said, “Harbor Light is accepting referrals from us. In February, we placed someone in Harbor Light for Detox and we put someone in there in the last two weeks. They may question us more, but it would not be accurate to say that they are not accepting our referrals.

West Side Catholic, a women’s shelter, said that they are usually full so they have a hard time accepting customers from area hospitals. They had a recent woman who had breast cancer and needed a room to recover. They allowed the woman to stay two weeks and she got to know shelter staff and residents as her only family. Aggie Hoskins, Director of West Side Catholic, said, “It is a real dilemma for shelters and services on the whole. We are not designed to assist people who cannot take care of themselves.”

Both St. Vincent Hospital and St. Luke‘s confirmed that there are no special rules with regard to admitting or keeping ho0meless people for extended stays. A spokesperson from St. Vincent emphasized that each person is treated individually, but there are no special rules for homeless people. “Our mission is to take care of people no matter their ability to pay. We do not extend the hospital stay for homeless people.”

St. Luke’s said we do not differentiate between someone who is homeless and someone who is not homeless. A St. Luke’s official said homeless people can be referred to residential care or a skilled nursing facility, but they cannot stay at St. Luke’s. They confirmed that there are stringent guidelines for being admitted to the hospital at the emergency room, and

housing does not play a role.

Because there are no special protocols for homeless people organizations like Cleveland Health Care for the homeless get people with full-blown AIDS who are discharged and told to medicate and take care of themselves through CHCH. They saw an individual two days out of surgery who was told to keep their bandages clean on the streets.

Gerald Hilinski, the nurse practitioner at CHCH, said that managed care is a serious problem that is forcing shelters to provide health care to people with serious illnesses. He characterized the problem as increasing over the past year. He says that without the proper recovery time people have a relapse and are back in the hospital or at the clinics operated by CHCH. There is also the possibility of developing an infection, which could lead to losing a body part or death.

In Cleveland, there is one public hospital left, Metrohealth Medical Facility. Despite their public mission they do not offer any longer stays or better care for homeless people. Hilinski said, “They don’t operate any different than the other hospitals.” After one week of trying no one from Metrohealth returned repeated requests for comment.

Hilinski did not fault the doctors who he said were as “frustrated as the rest of us.” He laid the blame squarely on the managed care system. He said, “I think it would be optimum to allow homeless people to be exempt from the rules. It is my opinion that managed care drove this process. Let people providing health care do their job.

There was a proposal on the table to provide care to homeless people who are discharged from a hospital and who need some health care The Sisters of Charity decided to put together a program called Joseph”s Home to serve homeless refugees of the Managed Care system. They surveyed homeless service providers in the area with twenty-five organizations responding. All twenty-five said that a shelter for homeless people to recover was necessary. The Services reported between two and sixty people needing an augmented health care shelter each month.

Sister Joan Gallagher of the Sisters of Charity said that they found that a lot of homeless people were not admitted to the hospital, but were given medication and told to come back later. She said, “The shelters could not handle these people especially those with respiratory problems because they were contagious.

When asked how this situation developed, Gallagher laid the blame squarely on the changes in the Managed Care system. Gallagher said, “In the past, the hospitals would admit these individuals. They had more funds to cover it. They cannot handle these situations (with homeless people). Hospitals these days really have no plans for people without homes.

The project sought federal funds, but was turned down due to the limited use of Housing Funds. The Sisters intend to put the project on hold for one year, and refocus the program to be more of a traditional facility to accommodate Federal requirements.

Hilinski summed it up by saying, “It is my belief that we are not saving any money (under managed care). We are paying twice, three times because they didn’t fix the condition in the first place.”

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

 

 

Letter From the Editor

About this issue…

In Grapevine #26, we featured a series of articles about life in the men’s shelters. We continue that this issue with a look at the women’s shelters (See Stories on page 2-6). This is the heart of the mission of the Grapevine: to provide space to homeless people

To speak to the public about issues that they have concern about. Shelter is certainly on the minds of most homeless people.

We expected a serious backlash against the Grapevine over some of the comments in the paper. A couple of the shelters that were given negative reviews in the last issue were the larger and best funded shelters in Northeast Ohio. They raise a tremendous amount of money and have a great number of volunteers.

Most of the comments about the Shelter Life series were surprisingly positive. One of the shelters came off looking very good. It wasn’t as though homeless people complain about everything. Those who stayed at the Volunteers of America shelter were truly grateful for the services that they had received They did not like a couple of the rules, but overall they left with a feeling that they had been treated with some degree of respect.

We thought that a critical story about men’s shelters would generate letters and calls along the lines of homeless people should be glad that they have anything. Our society is like that. Homeless men do not generate any kind of sympathy because of this myth of pulling one’s self up by their boot straps and the self made man crap and all those images they they push on us in the media. If a man cannot make it on his own then he is lazy or stupid or both and he should be glad for any kind of help.

Surprisingly, we received many positive calls and comments praising the series. We received a couple of calls every week about what san eye opener this series was to the readers. One caller said that it took a lot of bravery to put these articles in the paper. Our only negative response was that one staff person resigned over the articles. She said that she could not support a paper that conflicted with her work ethic and her religious background. She expressed in her resignation that it was not right to criticize religious people who were trying to serve God by offering shelter to homeless men.

I can only come to two conclusions with regard to why we did not receive many complaints about the series, and I believe that they both have some degree of truth. One is that the paper is not viewed as a threat. We do not touch many people so we will not jeopardize any shelter’s funding. We are basically preaching to the choir for the most part. The people who buy a paper are sympathetic and have some familiarity with the life of a man in shelter. Those who feel homeless people should take what they are offered and shut up would never buy the Grapevine.

Second, these stories are too close to reality and so why comment? There are a special group of people who can be helped by the mission based shelters mentioned in Issue 26. The vast majority of homeless people cannot be reached by the prayer, spirituality, and rules of the missions. Besides isn’t there a saying that says the customer is always right?

What made it all worth while was that homeless people and the homeless vendors said, “You got it right. That is exactly like it is, and I am glad that people will start to read about that.” We will continue to provide the stories from the atreets. We are available as a forum for debate regarding shelter and services to homeless people. In the end, we are one of the only places that provides a conduit for poor people to communicate to the general public.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

 

Hypocrisy Rules Our World

Commentary by Donald Whitehead

In all my time as an advocate for the rights of low-income people, I have never been as discouraged as I am today. I have witnessed unprecedented hypocrisy at work. The most unsettling fact about this hypocrisy is it runs rampant, not unlike some deadly bacteria, throughout Local, State, and National Governmental bodies. The extremely discouraging part is that, the effects of this hypocrisy will only continue the all out assault on the poorest among us.

The first hypocritical decision comes from the national level. In several cities across the U.S., Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) have started demonstration projects that insure that the problem of homelessness will continue to increase. In several cities across the country new design funded by HUD’s HOPE VI program. The HOPE VI program, which after a decades long ban on demolition, is making $2.6 billion available to raze 100,000 dwelling units that house the section of the housing population with the biggest gap in housing.

While the name itself is Hypocritical –how can we call any program HOPE that demolishes much needed housing. The most controversial aspect of the HOPE VI program is that it will reduce the number of Public Housing units. In nearly every case the government is demolishing more units than it is replacing and, in order to achieve a mixed population, is allotting only about one-third of the new units to public housing. Low-income renters who are denied replacement units will receive vouchers or certificates to supplement rents in the private housing market, where a tremendous gap in affordable units already exists. Along with the scarcity of units, with congress continuing to slash HUD’s budget since 1995, the federal housing budget has shrunk by 25%. Public Housing alone has been cut from $8 billion per year to $6 billion. Congress is at this moment considering eliminating reserve funds for disaster relief: in effect trading one disaster for others.

The second and possibly the biggest and most troubling incidence of hypocrisy comes at the state level. Ohio became the first big state to turn grants from President Clinton’s new program to create job opportunities for the hardest-to-employ welfare recipients. According to Governor George Voinovich the money is not needed for a “new,” somewhat duplicating grant with a lot of red tape. Labor Secretary Alexis M. Hermann was “very disappointed” by Ohio’s decision. “We know that $88 million in welfare – to - work funding could be very helpful in areas like Cleveland, Toledo And Youngstown.”

Labor Department Officials said they expect most states to sign on to the “welfare –to –work program, but they were surprised when Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Mississippi decided to pass up on a slice of the $3 Billion set aside for needy families. Since this money was targeted to the hardest–to-employ welfare recipients, `the decision not to take set aside adds weight to the assumption that improving the quality of life is merely an afterthought to policy makers behind welfare reforms in Ohio.

Money from the set aside could have been used for very innovative programs for the hard to serve. In Michigan, much of the set aside dollars, will be used to help non-custodial parents find work: “When absent fathers are alienated, embarrassed and can’t provide support it hurts the children” stated a labor department official in a recent Washington post article.

While many recipients are expressed to shuffle through mountains of paper work on a monthly basis, Governor Voinovich of Ohio complains about red tape attached to the set aside to ensure that money goes only to the most needy families. In the highest spirit of hypocrisy the Governor explained that the State of Ohio has $400 million just sitting in a pot waiting to be sent; this fact would be hard to explain to the many people sitting in homeless shelters whose benefits are inadequate to cover the costs of daycare, transportation, and other job related activities.

“States are flush with money,” said Jack Tweedie, Children and Families program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, “They have money they need to build up programs for the hard- to- serve, but they don’t know what works. They can’t do it instantaneously.” Another hard to explain concept for those recipients is the ever present ticking of term limit time clocks as they are forced to comply with self- sufficiency contracts. Another surprising part of the whole situation is that these decisions along with decisions not to take waivers are being made without consultation from other members of the state legislature.

As we struggle to find an end to homelessness, it becomes increasingly tough tasks when rules are not applied consistently. It is our hope that articles like these and others in STREETVIBES will bring these instances of blatant hypocrisy to your attention. The struggle must not end there however: We must make our elected officials accountable for the decisions that they are making. Politicians are making decisions that are negatively impacting thousands of poor people daily.

They like to place blame on voting records. This is in part true. Voting records among poor people and minorities are terrible. This must not continue. Many people have lost faith in the system, believing that their votes have no bearing on the outcome of elections. The truth is , voting is our only defense, we have to fight injustice with a loud voice. Please get out and vote, it does make a difference. I know the day-to-day struggles of poor people in this country leave little time for anything more than survival, but that is what voting is all about right now, our very survival. Last year, we buried 28 homeless people (in Cincinnati )—let’s not bury any more.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Freedom Bus to Stop in Cleveland

Stop Targeting Ohio’s Poor (STOP) will greet the Economic Human Rights Campaign Freedom Bus on June 4 at 11:30a.m. at the Bishop Cosgrove Center (1736 Superior Ave.) near the Plain Dealer. Those traveling on the bus will have a lunch and will accept testimony on the impact of welfare reform from STOP volunteers who have been collecting stories from former and current welfare recipients over the past two months.

These activities are part of the Economic Human Rights Campaign. Locally, Stop Targeting our Poor and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is participating in the Economic Human Rights Campaign, being sponsored by the National Welfare Rights Union under the leadership of the Philadelphia- based Kensington Welfare Rights Union.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This United Nations’ document guarantees all people the right to food, housing, medical care and a job at living wage. These economic human rights are being violated every day in Cleveland and across the United States.

The Economic Human Rights Campaign believes that in the richest country in the world, we should have the right to food, housing, medical care and a job at a living wage. Throughout this campaign, the members of the Freedom Bus will be documenting human rights violations occurring in America, educating and organizing around economic human rights, and constructing a movement to end poverty.

In June 1998, a new Freedom Bus---proclaiming Freedom from Unemployment, Hunger, and Homelessness will tour the country stopping in Cleveland on June 4th to document human rights violations. The Freedom Bus will carry these stories to the United Nations to expose to the world the real conditions of poor communities in the United Streets.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Forced Church Services for Women Anger Shelter Residents

By Janet

I’ve stayed at Angeline Christian Home. That place is a trip. They’re only interested in saving your soul. They don’t help you to resolve any of the problems that made you homeless in the first place. They don’t refer you to any agency you could get help from, They just want to get you into church.

. You’re only allowed to stay there for two weeks. If they like you they let you stay there for another two weeks. After that you can’t come back for at least one year. You have to be in by 6:00pm. Dinner is at 6:00, cleanup and chores are at 7:00, mandatory Devotion services are at 8:00pm, and it’s lights-out at 10:00pm. You have to attend their church every Sunday or you get thrown out. I really don’t agree with that. I would like to go to my own church or have the right to go to a different church and still have access to the shelter.

I think their policy of forcing you to go to their church and their services turns a lot of people away from God. I know I don’t want to go to church again, at least not for a long time. The rules here really aren’t all that bad. You have to do your assigned chores. You can’t take any food into your room. You have to be in when they tell you and go to their services.

The shelter really doesn’t work in your best interests. You have to be up by 6:00 even if you have a job and can’t be in till a little later. There is no leniency, if you can get there at 6:10 you’re not allowed in. In fact, trying to come in late gets you thrown out of the shelter until next year. It’s really stupid that you would have to give up your job to stay at the shelter. You need the job to get on your feet and get out of their shelter. It’s really crazy. Angeline really is a last resort. That’s the place you go only when all the other shelters are full.

I really can’t stand the fact that there is no privacy here. The house is only one floor. There are four bedrooms with four beds each. There are no doors on any of the bedrooms and you can hear everyone’s business. The house was designed to be a shelter and it is really quite beautiful. They put all that money into a house yet couldn’t put in four doors. Sometimes when you’re having problems you need a little privacy, so you can think. You can’t do that with all the noise. Some of the women here have kids and it’s difficult to drown out the noise of the kids to think.

Homeless Woman Praises Christian Shelter

By Stacie

I stayed at the Angeline Christian Home and the church on East 30th. Out of the two, Angeline is the best. At the Christian Home, you don’t have to worry about getting your stuff stolen when you take a shower. You have a room at the home. I stayed there for a month and I wish I could have stayed there longer. I like it there. The staff is wonderful. They really try to help you get your life on the right track. If you have a problem the staff is willing to listen and give you the guidance you need to make the right decisions.

The house and yard are beautiful, it’s so much better than staying at shelters like the one on 30th. Here you have some space and a beautiful environment. There are two TV rooms here and a playroom for kids. There are only sixteen beds so you don’t have all of the overcrowding.

We had devotion services every night and we went to church on Sunday. A lot of the women who came there left because they didn’t like having to go to prayer services. Well, the trashy people left. That’s why there wasn’t any theft there, only the God fearing people stayed. I really shouldn’t say that. Some people didn’t like it because there was structure. You had to get up at a certain time, you had chores to do. You had to be in at a certain time, etc. Some people didn’t like being told what to do or when to do it. They felt they were adults and had the right to do what they want when they want.

They didn’t realize you can’t do what you want when you’re living under someone else’s roof. When I lived with my parents my parents had rules. I knew I had to respect my parents wishes or move out of their home. They have to realize rules are there for a reason. Without order you have chaos. I really liked Angeline. I wish the shelter would let you stay longer than a month.

Editor’s Note: Stacie is a homeless woman. She was interviewed at CHCH Women’s Center.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Director of Salvation Army’s Women Shelter Responds

The Salvation Army ‘s Women and children’s Shelter constantly strives to provide quality emergency services to homeless women and their children. Utilizing a holistic approach, this short-term (21 day) program enables women who are victims of domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness and other difficulties to reside in a safe residence while they begin to work on issues that caused them to become homeless initially. Spiritual services and worship opportunities are available to the women as part of this holistic approach. The staff of the shelter is committed to helping women to effect long-term change (in their lives) by providing case management services to help them secure substance abuse intervention, job training, transitional housing and employment. Day care services are available three days per week for children whose mothers are actively seeking employment and/ or have weekday appointments. In addition, Project ACT provides educational services for the children residing at the shelter. A referral guide, produced by The Women’s Shelter staff, is utilized in the provision of case management services. Included in this guide are health care programs, mental health/ substance abuse intervention, other emergency shelter information, transitional housing programs, housing search assistance, and employment/ training services to help the women become self-sufficient.

The Women & Children’s Shelter has long been a valued and effective program in the continuum of emergency shelter programs in our fine community. In accordance with the rigorous national standards of the Salvation Army residential programs, the Women and Children’s Shelter will continue to provide a safe, nurturing and effective program to help women (and their children) exit homelessness.

Sincerely,

Phillip Mason

Director of Social Service

The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland

SALVATION ARMY ADMITTANCE STATEMENT

The Salvation Army is a religious organization dedicated to the improvement of human welfare. In applying for admission to the Emergency Shelter, I agree to abide by the following rules:

Salvation Army General Shelter Rules:

  1. You must return to the shelter by 6:00pm each day. If you do not return to the shelter by the 6:00pm curfew, all of your belongings will be removed from the shelter immediately.
  2. All personal belongings are to be taken with you upon discharge from the shelter.
  3. Work schedules must be approved ahead of time by the administration.
  4. Time to be away from the shelter property is as follows: Monday thru Friday 9:30 – 12:30pm Saturday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
  5. Bus tickets are provided Monday thru Friday ( if available ), not on weekends
  6. The shelter is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  1. No weapons of any kind are allowed on the premises, such as guns, knives, etc.. Turn in any weapon to staff upon intake.
  2. No profanity, disorderly or immoral conduct is acceptable while staying in the shelter
  3. No sexual activity is permitted in the shelter.
  4. Stealing or destruction of shelter property is grounds for dismissal.
  5. No smoking is allowed in the shelter. Smoking is allowed outside ONLY!
  6. No alcohol or drug use on or off the premises while staying at the shelter. Possession or use of drugs or alcohol is grounds for dismissal.
  7. Every resident is assigned chores. ( you are responsible for completing your chores). Check list daily for assignment.
  8. All medications are to be kept in the office. Notify the staff of any illness.
  9. Final wake up time is 7:00a.m., Monday thru Friday. 8:00a.m. on weekends.
  10. You must have something on your feet at all times. Summer dress is permissible as long as it is not revealing. All residents must be fully dressed for all meals.
  11. Residents are not allowed to let anyone into the Shelter. Only Shelter staff is permitted to open the shelter doors.
  12. Resident’s are not permitted to go into anyone else’s room.
  13. Residents are not permitted in the kitchen except to do chores. Ask staff for assistance if something from the kitchen is needed.
  14. Wake up calls are given by third shift staff. Ask staff about signing up.
  15. Residents should bathe daily before 10:00pm.
  16. On your last day at the shelter, wash all shelter linen given to you and return it to staff.
  17. VISITORS: No male visitors are allowed in the shelter, unless (he is) a social worker or such. Female visitors are limited to a half hour, in the dining room area.
  18. TELEPHONE: Available from 9:ooa.m. to 6:00p.m. Limit calls to five minutes. No long distance calls. No 411 information calls. No collect calls.
  19. FOOD: No food or hot plates in the bedrooms. No outside food can be brought into the shelter. Food will be confiscated. Room must be clean and bed made prior to breakfast. All residents must be fully dressed for all meals. Eat only in dining area. Mothers must sit with their children at meal time. Sign up for lunch every morning if you want to be served. Clean off all tables, chairs, high chairs, and sweep floor around table after meals.
  20. BEDTIME: Children 8:30pm. Women 11:30pm. Lights out throughout the night. No radios or unnecessary activity during the night. No televisions allowed in bedrooms.
  21. LAUNDRY ROOM: A sign-up sheet is posted each day. Client laundry must be completed by 8:00 pm.
  22. CHILDREN: No physical punishment is permitted. Use the time-out method.
  23. Talk to staff if help is needed. Mothers are responsible for their own children. Children can not be left with another resident. All diapers are to be taken outside to the dumpster immediately after changing. During the night, take diapers to the garbage can at the front door. Children need to attend school as soon as possible while at the shelter. Talk to the staff about arranging transportation.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998

Cornerstone Connections Women’s Site Criticized

By Donna

I stayed in the shelter on East 30th and Euclid. That place really sucks. You have mats to sleep on and they aren’t cleaned properly. The mats and the blankets stink. Staff members throw you out for any reason they choose. There is a list of rules but it really depends on who’s working. The list of rules usually aren’t what is enforced. The workers all have their own rules and enforce what’s on their own agenda. The only rule that they all enforce is that you have to be out by 6:30am The staff is really cruel. They throw you out and tell you can’t come back for two weeks because someone they won’t identify told them you did something you didn’t do. They don’t have to prove you did something wrong to kick you out. They expect you to prove you didn’t do anything. They’re [the staff] just a bunch of power freaks. They like to have control over your life.

I only stay at that church if all the other shelters are full. I hate that place. One of the things that really makes me angry is that they get donations and the staff goes through the bags first and takes whatever they want. They take the best stuff and leave us with whatever is left. That shouldn’t be allowed. Salvation Army gets donations too but they bring the bags in and open them up for us. There have been times I got clothes that still had the tags on them. If that stuff was donated to the church on 30th, I would have never gotten those clothes. The staff would have taken it to sell at their yard sales.

Note: Donna is a homeless woman that was interviewed at CHCH Women’s Center

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May

 

Battling the Welfare Department

Editor’s Note: Julie Star has documented her battles with the Ohio Department of Human Services on the internet. She originally was appealing her workfare assignment claiming that she was making less than the minimum wage laws, and this is when her troubles began with the Ohio Department of Human Services.

By Julie Star

I thought you might be interested in how workfare implementation is going out here in the trenches. I spoke with the man in charge of imposing sanctions at our local Human Services Department again today. After mentioning the words “state hearing” and implying that I probably wouldn’t be jumping to come in and sign their compliance form—stating that any “further infringements” would result in more sanctions, he said that there might be an “alternative.”

He spoke with his supervisor and they agreed that if I was to get statements from all my instructors verifying my attendance and that they saw and signed my time sheet that they would be willing to take those statements into consideration for good cause. He also told me that he had checked with their financial person and verified that I had indeed sent her a check for which she had written me a receipt for 4/ 3/ 98 which means that chances are I did send in my time sheet in on the same day and on time. It looks like my sanction should be dropped after I turn in my instructor‘s statements.

I am a welfare recipient who recently went up against the Ohio Department of Human Services in an attempt to get them to comply with Minimum Wage Laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act. When it was all said and done the state did decide to comply before we got to the point of class action (lawsuit). Unfortunately for me they weren’t very happy with me for making them look bad.

Well, they finally found a way to get even! I get a sanction letter in the mail today out of the blue saying that I am going to be sanctioned from cash assistance for the month of MAY three days before I am supposed to get a check! I should have known better but I mailed my time sheets to them this month instead of dropping them off in person and getting a receipt so that I had proof I turned them in. I complied with every work fare hour and school hour I was required to do but because my time sheet for school was conveniently lost in the mail and they supposedly didn’t receive it by the 7th we lose $400.

I called the jobs supervisor to ask him what was going on and told him that I had mailed it to my caseworker. He hadn’t even checked with her to see if she had seen it. He just looked in my case and it wasn’t there so even though I have never had a time sheet late in 24 months I lose 2/3 of our income for now he says the month of June. They can’t even get their dates right on their own paperwork but I have to make sure I get every piece of paper to them on time.

Who is going to sanction all of them for the mistake on my paperwork making me think that in three days we won’t be getting a check. These people should at least have to call you to see why they don’t have your time sheet when this has never happened before! Some democracy. I suppose I’ll have to file for another state hearing. I can’t just let this go without a fight. IT ISN’T FAIR!! Are they so perfect? I could see if I had missed hours but I didn’t. So much for a case by case basis!!!!!

Good news bad news. I finally received a letter from the Sandusky County Department of Human Services on Saturday voiding my sanction. I guess they just wanted to let me sweat a little since my reap was today. The bad news is they were able to assign me to an additional 39 hours per month when I signed my new contract today.

Since my daughter’s father isn’t keeping up on his child support, the new minimum wage calculation we got them to comply with came out to 9 hours more per week than I was doing. Now I have to work 29 workfare hours per week plus my 9 school hours per week, are mandatory. Just when I was trying to get ahead some in schoolwork because my daughter is going to need another ear surgery.

I think it’s pretty bad that when we as mothers don’t “do what we’re supposed to” we get nailed but when the fathers don’t do what they’re supposed to, we get nailed as well. I got a thought why not make the fathers do the extra workfare hours when they don’t pay, instead of us. It’s something to think about.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998