It is with a heavy heart and great concern I find myself writing this letter. As a former director of Laura’s Home, I am heart broken at the state and deplorable conditions which have developed at Laura’s Home over the past 6-8 months. Although I have and continue to applaud the vision and mission of the City Mission, I believe they have made decisions related to the care of homeless women and children which have proven to be detrimental to not only their physical but mental health as well.
I resigned as Director of Laura’s Home on 8/1/05 due to the City Mission’s decision to significantly restructure the women’s shelter to become more of a drop in center, where little to no additional services were provided (outside of meals and shelter). Laura’s Home went from being a holistic recovery center for homeless women and children, where they were allowed to be human with all of their frailties and failures.
The goal was to help them become self-sufficient in an atmosphere of grace and acceptance. However, over the past months, I continue to receive numerous reports from former supervisees, funders in the community and former clients that the environment has deteriorated to one of fear and punitive discipline.
Reportedly, not only are staff but residents as well are forced to “walk on egg shells” for fear of being terminated or discharged from the facility. Of course these reports are all hearsay to me. However, I believe the reports to be accurate because proposed changes presented to me last July would have led to such a deterioration.
My only purpose in writing this letter is the hope that the City Mission and Laura’s Home would get the assistance they need to take a closer look at how they are providing services for homeless women and children. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Renell Williams, M.Ed., LSW
Copyright: NEOCH-Homeless Grapvine; Cleveland, Ohio: Issue 76