Homeless Congress - April 12, 2018

Homeless Congress
April 12, 2018- Cosgrove Center
Organized by NEOCH

The meeting began with introductions .  Everyone speaks and acknowledges how they are feeling. An overview of expectations and limitations is given.  Brief explanation of the Agenda that is handed out is also given. Announcement of next meeting is also given. Update are announced. Three people are scheduled for housing.  Tim Walters of Organize Ohio is introduced.

 Mr. Walters spoke briefly about Medicaid cuts, expectations, exceptions, and enforcements. By as soon as midsummer Medicaid will be asking for 20hours of work a week to remain on Medicaid. There will probably be exceptions to those over 50, those with medical issues, and those with mental issues. He didn’t speak much on the enforcements, but promised to have more information in the upcoming weeks. He will bring these updates back to the Homeless Congress.

For the remainder of the meeting the YWCA was in charge. Nicole Evans of the YWCA, who as of May 1, 2018, will take over as the Executive Director at the Norma Herr Shelter as the YWCA takes the reign from Frontline.  The staff from the YWCA also includes Pamela Johnson 3rd Shift Supervisor, Yolanda Latham 3rd shift Shelter Advocate, Nia Imani Housing Navigator, Natasha Wynn Housing Navigator with a focus on young women 18-24, and Ronetta Williams Service Coordinator. Nicole began by talking about the goals she has set for the Shelter.

  •  What can we do to help make your homeless experience be as brief as possible?
  • To empower women to receive the institutional services that they are entitled to overcome the homeless experience, trauma, physical abuse, substance abuse, and self-suffering.
  • Encourage women to make Informed decisions for themselves
  • To increase resources that are available to women in the shelter to establish independence in the community.

Secondly Nicole went over the rules for the Shelter.

  • Care about yourselves: no using or selling of drugs and alcohol on or around the premises,
  • Care about others: No physical or emotional assault that threatens another’s personal safety.
  • Care about the place: Work with each other.  Three days of no return requires re-entry through Coordinated Intake.

The floor was then opened for questions focusing on the Women in the group. One of the majors concerns was the food. The YWCA answered by explaining the food situation.  Looking to revise food services with LLM who is the provider for services now. Hold the provider accountable. There are barriers to food service due to the fact that they do not have the ability to cook. It is just a warming kitchen. They also have to pay a cost per pound. So while searching or researching new food vendors they are also looking at programs like Metonia, City Mission, Salvation Army, and left over food from restaurants were some of the suggestions.  Nicole wants and plans to only serve food that she would eat herself.

There were  questions about housing retention, shelter letters, 24 hour medical staff, free cell phones, and respect from the staff, computer classes, art classes, life skills, employment, services for women to get their children back, pregnant women, discrimination and bullying, and legal services.  These were answered with the following information. For all medical services the YWCA plan to extend the services provided by Care Alliance to 5 days a week. 24 hour medical service is not affordable.  Shelter letters will become available for legal and personal reasons. Try to get better (longer) housing plans for residents. Cell phones are available to get on Tuesday and Thursday at Bishop Cosgrove. Residents may use Norma Herr of Bishop Cosgrove as their address. Legal services are coming Onsight. Nicole wants any disrespect from staff reported immediately. Different classes and life skills are going to be offered offsite. They working on community partnerships. Also let the women know that a lot of these services are already available they have to become more forward with their progress also.

Other programs that they are looking to encourage are Drug and Alcohol, Religious studies, Family Shelters, such as Haven Home and Zelma George, ability to enroll kids in childcare and early childhood education. Discussion also included the  LGBTQI shelter guest , and it was stated that whatever you claim yourself to be the Shelter will respect that choice. It is also said if you see anything or if anything happens to you to please report it immediately.

For the remainder of the meeting door prizes, and bus passes were given.