Re: Do homeless people review shelters & providers where you live?

mikala bembery (
Thu, 03 Jun 1999 09:21:06 PDT

Hey Now!

I lived in a rooming house, I couldn't access family shelter in MA   because 
I was working parttime to eat and keep my sanity. The income limit for a 
mother and child is about $1000 a month.

The house was run by a women's group and they didn't give a shit about the 
people living there. the worst part was that once I moved in and eventually 
couldn't keep my job, I was considered housed and still ineligible for 

To get to the main question- the women's group left the house for more 
suitable office space once they found funding. once they left it was even 
more of a free for all than it already was. We had a murder happen in a 
clearing: they denied knowing about this murder's occupancy. We had fire 
alams going off on a regular basis triggered by the plumbing(?)- after 
awhile the firemen would start to get angry with us and get rude until I 
said hey we just live here - and pay $65 a week to do it!  We had a house 
manager that set up a fist fight between a tenant and a guest of a tenant. 
she set the date and left them in the house where of course the fight went 
off before schedule.

Manbny other things went down I can't even write it all and you probably 
don't want to hear it but The bottom line is we went to the court, the board 
of health , the press , the funders and no one really gave a shit. so what 
do you do ? we have to give a shit about eachother.

>From: Tom Boland <>
>Subject: Do homeless people review shelters & providers where you live?
>Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 23:23:27 -0700 (PDT)
>Do homeless people report on shelter conditions where you live?
>Do they have formal procedures to publicly evaluate local service
>providers' effectiveness in helping them get their own aims, such as
>If so, how do they report and to whom?  To officials? To funders? To media?
>If you've lived or worked at a shelter, how were grievances handled?
>Fairly and with due deliberaton?
>See below for a related article:
>FWD  [Ohio, USA] Cleveland Plain Dealer - Sat 29 May 1999
>      By Michael O'Malley - Plain Dealer Reporter
>At a downtown Cleveland homeless shelter, a man complaining about toilet
>stench and unwashed blankets raises a ruckus, so the supervisors punish him
>and the rest of the night dwellers by forbidding them to watch television.
>      At another shelter a block away, a mentally ill man who lost his
>shelter pass is told he can't come in unless he cleans the toilets. Others
>who lost their passes are banned for a week.
>      These are examples, says a homeless advocate, of the mean treatment
>street people regularly face in four downtown shelters run by a nonprofit
>group called Cornerstone Connections, based in a downtown Methodist church.
>      Brian Davis, director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the
>Homeless, is calling for the resignations of Cornerstone Connections'
>Executive Director Barbara Williams and the agency's shelter supervisors.
>      The supervisors are untrained and belligerent, and Williams has
>ignored his complaints about them for three years, he says.
>      "There's a culture of violating clients' rights and absolute
>disrespect for the clients," said Davis. "It's like a jail. We think there
>are violations of human rights, and it's got to change immediately."
>      Williams declined to comment.
>      "It would be irresponsible to fire the executive director based on
>allegations we haven't had a chance to investigate," said James Roosa,
>president of Cornerstone Connections' board of trustees.
>      The four bare-bones, overcrowded shelters - three for men, one for
>women - are for people unable to get into the City Mission, the Salvation
>Army or other full-service shelters that have beds and showers.
>      In the overflow shelters, dwellers sleep on padded mats on concrete
>floors just inches apart. Blankets are cleaned every two weeks, showers are
>rarely available, and there is no food.
>      Cornerstone Connections gets most of its funding from Cuyahoga County
>and the city of Cleveland. It has an annual budget of more than $600,000,
>an administrative staff of 16 and dozens of part-time shelter workers. The
>program is called Project HEAT.
>      The largest Project HEAT shelter for men is on E. 18th St. and is
>nothing more than a big garage where, on cold or rainy nights, nearly 100
>men share one toilet and a urinal. There is one shower, but the water is
>cold with little pressure, said Maurice Watley, who has been homeless since
>      Watley said night supervisors allow television watching until 11 
>"but if there's complaining or bickering, they'll shut it off."
>      He said the television was recently unplugged because two men were
>eating chicken, violating the shelter's no-food policy. "They snatched the
>TV cord," said Watley. "Everybody was saying, "Why do we have to suffer
>because of those two guys?' "
>      Roosa said he was unaware of the incident, though he said it needs to
>be investigated.
>      "We acknowledge, like most organizations, we need to take a periodic
>look at the staff and how they respond to the clients," he said. "We're
>actively in the process of addressing all of [Davis'- issues."
>      Roosa said it is easy for Davis to criticize when he does not run a
>shelter. Cornerstone Connections must impose strict policies because every
>night the staff is faced with problems relating to alcohol and drug
>dependency, mental illness and poor security, he said.
>      Another Project HEAT shelter, in the basement garage of the county's
>welfare building at E. 17th St. and Superior Ave., is for the mentally ill,
>elderly and sick.
>      Jack, a former homeless man who asked that his last name not be used,
>said he had been on the streets for a year after suffering a nervous
>breakdown and would often stay in the county building. One night, he said,
>he had no shelter pass and was told he had to clean the toilets to come in.
>      He said he agreed, but in the morning he left without doing it,
>telling the supervisors, "You clean it." He said he never went back there.
>      Ron Reinhart, director of the Salvation Army's shelter program, is 
>former chief supervisor of Project HEAT. He said after seven years of
>seeing no change in operations, he quit. "Those conditions are deplorable,"
>he said. "Those circumstances and environment lead to even more futile
>efforts to rehabilitate those men and women."
>      The shelters should be run by homeless people, not hired bullies,
>Davis said.
>      "The only way there is going to be change is if the homeless people
>are given an ownership interest and the administration stops treating them
>like kids," he said.
>      Roosa agreed, saying he was working on getting homeless people on the
>agency's board. "We're running it the best we can."
>**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
>distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
>interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
>educational purposes only.**
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