We have not talked much about this over the last two months, because we have actively been working on finding an alternative to Frontline Services running the Community women's shelter on Payne Ave. We have regularly posted all the problems at the shelter here. A handful of brave women stepped forward last year to testify about the conditions at the shelter in the first of its kind hearing at the County Council. Last year, the Cuyahoga County Council fulfilled a promise by requiring the Office of Homeless Services to open up the contracting to other social service providers. Then they extended the deadline when the first announcement only gave three weeks to complete the massive application. So, the County accepted two proposals last week to run the women's shelter. One from Frontline Services and the other from West Side Catholic. This will silence the criticism we heard last year that no one else bid on the contract. Here is what Councilwoman Conwell said back at the May hearing,
Just for the audience to know, no one else bid on the contract which means that no one else wants to do this work. So, as we move forward as a community, we must also keep that in mind we don’t want to ever get in a situation that, that we don’t have anyone that wants to provide that work. Not saying that we can’t work together to fix the issues that occur in any household.
NEOCH staff worked to convince West Side Catholic of the value of administering the Women's Shelter and then to respond to the request for proposal. We also convinced Metanoia to partner on this project as well. They bring their non violence and conflict resolution efforts to the collaboration. They also have strong ties in the community and can operate an overflow system effectively. West Side Catholic is one of the finest programs in the homeless community. Women go all across town to be able to spend time in the drop in center to be able to get involved in the many programs they offer. West Side Catholic has operated a shelter for women and families since the early 1980s, and have a positive relationship with the homeless population in Cleveland. NEOCH is supporting the West Side Catholic application and hope that they will change the atmosphere over at the last shelter in Cleveland reserved for single women. Here is the letter of support from a few members of the Cleveland City Council in support of West Side Catholic.
by Brian Davis
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