After introductions of those in attendance, and giving an overview of the Homeless Congress (what it is; how it functions; where and how to address complaints), Christopher Knestrick asked for the approval of, or additions to, the meeting’s Agenda.
INTOXICATED WOMEN AT NORMA HERR - A resident of the Norma Herr Women’s Shelter voiced a concern regarding intoxicated women being allowed to stay in the shelter. She stated that intoxicated women were not allowed in a women’s shelter she’d been in Columbus. Mike Moguel, from 2100 Lakeside Homeless Men’s Shelter, explained that in Cleveland, “…we’d rather try to help people, than turn them away.”
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL SUBMITTED - Loh stated that an organization, (whose name Loh did not mention), had submitted an RFP (Request for Proposal) to take over the operation of Norma Herr Women’s Shelter. She was pleased that neither the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM), nor Frontline Services had submitted an RFP, and felt that the organization that submitted the proposal would be able to turn Norma Herr around and turn it into a functional shelter. When residents asked why representatives from that organization were not at the Homeless Congress, Chris mentioned that they (YWCA) wanted to talk with the Norma Herr residents and we are trying to find a time to do that.
SECURITY - A few present, and some former, residents remarked that staff and security do relatively little regarding violent situations that occur at Norma Herr. Staff doesn’t police violent behavior, security tends to turn a blind eye when incidents occur. One resident stated that the off-duty police officers who work as security for shelter “…need to work, and not just collect paychecks!” If on-duty Cleveland Police officers are called, the officers ask staff how they want the situation(s) to be handled.
LACK OF PROGRAMMING - Residents also believe that the lack of structure and the lack of programming available for the women contribute greatly to the number of fights that occur. As one resident declared, “The women fight because there is nothing else to do at the shelter!”
ADAMHS BOARD/SHELTER FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES – Chris invited input from the Congress regarding the next step(s) to take regarding the letter sent to the ADAMHS Board, June 30, 2017, about the need for a shelter for women with mental health issues. It was suggested that because Valeria Harper recently replaced William Denihan as Chief Executive Officer, and is getting up to speed with her new position, maybe another letter should be sent for her to review. Another suggestion was for members of the Homeless Congress to make phone calls to City and County Council members. Loh stated that she would attend the next ADAMHS Board meeting -September 27, 2017 at 4:30p.m., in order to encourage the board to review the letter.
CRISIS INTERVENTION CALLS - Quality Assurance Committee looked in to the number of Crisis Intervention calls made by the Men’s and Women’s Homeless Shelters:
- · 2015-2016 – #1 2100 Lakeside Homeless Men’s Shelter – the most calls for crisis intervention
- · 2015-2016 - #2 2727 Payne Avenue, Norma Herr Women’s Shelter
Mike Moguel, of 2100 Lakeside, said the men’s shelter had a lot of EMS calls due to residents suffering from seizures and drug overdoses. 2100 has partnered with Care Alliance, and has a nurse who comes to the shelter three times a week for the residents. Looking into spending money in order to have an additional nurse onsite at the men’s shelter. A Nurse Practitioner from Care Alliance is needed to see to the needs of the residents by conducting healthy diet programs, budgeting for food and nutrition issues addressed.
CHRIS suggested Inviting shelter providers –Frontline, Ruth Gillett to talk to Norma Herr residents regarding health concerns that are not taken into consideration at the shelter.
A North Point resident stated that unlike the shelters at 2100 and Norma Herr, North Point is Transitional Housing. He said that North Point is very much like Job Corps, with the population’s average age being 24 years and older. He also said that there has been an alleged sexual assault at North point, and many more calls to EMS that the staff has not been aware of.
Questions were raised about why a person has to stay in a homeless shelter for such a long period of time before getting help. It was explained that the length of the stay is necessary in order to declare a person chronically homeless and thereby get the assistance they are entitled to. A person is considered chronically homeless if they have experienced four episodes of homelessness in a three-year period, or one episode of one year.
TRUTH COMMISSION ON POVERTY – Chris reminded the Congress that the Cleveland Truth Commission on Poverty will take place Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Franklin Circle Church, from 10a.m.-4p.m., and encouraged attendees to provide written and in-person testimonies. Loh and Rosie Palfy said that they planned to attend.
DELORES GRAY – Dolores Gray, a community activist, business owner of Women on the Move –an organization which helps women and families find employment, and Zumba instructor, spoke briefly about the importance of voting and the upcoming mayoral primary. She assisted Homeless Congress attendees, who were not registered to vote, with completing voter registration forms.
Attendees were reminded that the next Homeless Congress meeting will take place Thursday October 12, 2017at 1 p.m. at Cosgrove in the St. Peter’s Room.