This is in response to your article in Issue 27 of The Homeless Grapevine titled "Single Men with Children Do Not Fit in the Shelter System". In reviewing this article, it comes to the attention of the staff here that in reporting this case, a number of concerns are raised. One is that though it may be true that presently the resources are minimal for single male parents and their children, this has been due to the fact that women have historically often been left as sole caregivers of their children.
Secondly, you are reporting on a man who has left a previous residence and job to uproot his children to Cleveland and in doing so jeopardized the stability of his children. This man never thought to call his family prior to this drastic change in order to better plan his move. Why is it always an issue of gaps in agencies or systems that is focused on rather than looking at choices that a person has made?
Finally, the brief reporting of a local agency’s assistance may in fact (since identity of the client is confidential) have been the Council of Economic Opportunity’s Family and Development Unit. How is it that this man and your staff were unable or even unwilling to provide credit where credit is due? Must all reporting on agencies be negative and blaming?
Angela D. Kraft, LISW
Diagnostic Social Worker, Family Development Unit, Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland
Editor’s Response: The story from Issue 27 was about a gap in service that does exist in the community and not about one agency or another. Contrary to your comments The Grapevine has presented positive looks at the Cosgrove (Issue 28), Salvation Army Shelter (Issue 27), Volunteers of America and City Mission (Issue 26), and West Side Catholic. Please consider that the Grapevine allows uncensored access to the media for those on the streets who are usually in a desperate situation. Therefore, the stories reflect a feeling of anger and a feeling that the system has failed them.
Besides, I thought that social workers were suppose to help people without question and not judge their past mistakes. Sure, he may have made a mistake in not contacting his family, but if we did not serve those who had made a mistake that led to homelessness 70% of the social service providers would be unemployed.
Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published July 1998 Cleveland Ohio