Mentally Ill Underserved

     These are recommendations made by members of the mental health social service community to the new Mayor of Cleveland Jane Campbell. They are divided into the four different departments within the City of Cleveland.

Public Health Department :

1. Improve the public health department to include some involvement with the mental health community. Appoint an individual who works in the City of Cleveland public health department who will specialize on mental health issues.

2. Boost the commitment of the City to the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services. Appoint an official City of Cleveland liaison to the Office of Homeless Services who will routinely work with social service providers and will report to the Mayor trends, problems, and funding opportunities.

3. Explore greater involvement for the City of Cleveland in the appointment of Trustees of the Mental Health Board.

Building and Housing:

4. Tenants that are living in an apartment or house that Cleveland’s Building and Housing Department has condemned should be mailed notification of condemnation so that they can prepare to move. Currently a notice is posted, which landlords often remove.

5. There was a TANF funded effort to prevent evictions through the Cleveland Tenants Organization and Eden Inc. We ask that the City of Cleveland work to continue a program to contact households facing eviction in order to attempt to have social services intervene and possibly prevent homelessness.

Community Development Department:

6. The last census of homeless people in Cleveland is over a decade old. The City of Cleveland needs to coordinate an updated academic count of homeless people residing within the City.

7. Meet with Mental Health Agencies to encourage the development of a strategic planning process including a look at the large number of mentally ill individuals currently incarcerated.

8. Attack the affordable housing crisis by putting together a redevelopment plan for those with the lowest income. There needs a broad-based commitment to providing housing to the lowest income population and the disabled with federal and City of Cleveland resources.

9. Become more involved in the decisions at the state that negatively impacts the care and treatment of those with a mental illness.

Safety Department:

10. The City should establish a protocol for how the police respond to homelessness and homeless people including some additional training with the input from the social service/mental health community.

11. The Mental Health Community is willing to help with City of Cleveland efforts to address mentally ill homeless people on the streets.

Copyright NEOCH published 2002 Issue 52