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.