East Side Catholic Shelter at 17 Years Old

      Since it was founded seven years ago, the East Side Catholic Shelter has housed almost 4,500 homeless people and served them 170,000 meals.

       But it all may end, according to Director Juanita McPherson, unless the Federal Emergency Shelter Grants and Federal Emergency Management Agency funds are renewed.

      The shelter is dependent for eighty per cent of it funds on government agencies. A staff of fifteen operates the trim 32-bed shelter, located in a house on the Cleveland’s southeast side. The residents do housekeeping, helping “to give something back,” McPherson explains “People won’t make good decisions something about their lives,” she adds, “unless they are in a clean pleasant place.”

       Services provided at the shelter include referrals, counseling, tutoring, childcare and even bus tickets.

       Since the shelter opened, drugs have become an increasing problem. Addiction itself causes homeless and the breakup of families, McPherson says.

       This crisis has prompted the plans for IWO SAN (Nigerian for “house of healing”), a treatment facility for chemically dependent women and a drug prevention program for their children.

       Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese has made available the former Holy Family Convent on Chapleside Rd. Until necessary permits are obtained, the state certified IWO program will continue to be housed in a separate building near the shelter, where it is run by a staff of nine.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine Spring 1993 Issue