These a few of the 190 residents of the Community Women's Shelter sleeping near Cleveland State every night in Cleveland. They have raised concerns about the shelter especially the staff disrespect and contempt for human decency by the staff employed at 2227 Payne Ave. They have filed grievances and heard little back and the shelter continues to operate as business as usual. Nathan from the Cleveland Institute of Art met with the women on a map project in 2015, and wanted to follow up in 2016. He began meeting with the women on a regular basis to talk about the needs at the shelter. They decided that the only solution is to have a series of smaller shelters that could provide specific help to certain populations in the shelter. They want a shelter serving those who are still in chemical dependency recovery process and then a separate shelter for those with a severe mental illness. There should be a shelter for pregnant women and those mom's who are working to regain custody of their children. These are pictures of their dress rehersal for a possible ribbon cutting in the future when the City leaders realize we need more shelter beds. These women will be prepared when the specific needs of the women are addressed with a shelter that serves their issues and not forced into an overcrowded shelter that forces women to try to change to find the help they need.
Here is the speech that Loh (a resident) would give at the ribbon cutting (edited for written communication).
Finally, today is the day, homeless people, especially, homeless single females, have a safe place to rest their heads when they are too tired to carry on the daily struggles in their lives. They have a place to eat some decent proper food to maintain their damaged health, free from harassments and retaliations hurting them even more and worse by bullies working at shelter!
Many many thanks to Cuyahoga County Council and hard working staff at Office of Homeless Services who helped us to find the funding and a compassionate, capable, new homeless service provider to ensure this new facility actually is really full of hope, energies, functional resources, space, and opportunities for each and every weary body and soul coming in here to recoup. And these women quickly leaving with a renewed life ahead of them! Thank You, Thank You, and Thank You!
Congratulations to these brave women for being willing to dream of a better place to live that will not crush their individuality and spirit as they find in the current shelter system.
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