Sunday, June 25, 2006

City Mission Gives Latest Grapevine Thumbs Down

Current Grapevine Editorial Raises Concern

Grapevine #76 is out on the streets, and has generated some controversy. In an attempt to offer some balance, Grapevine staff reached out to those groups and offered space in the next issue. I ridiculed the Office of Homeless Services Advisory Board as basically a discussion group, and we offered the chairs space to rebut my comments. We offered the Domestic Violence Center space to provide their perspective on the decrease in DV beds. The big issue in the current Grapevine was the four letters regarding City Mission's shelter for families called Laura's Home and the editorial we wrote. We hope that all these groups take advantage of our offer and provide their side of the story.

We did get a call from the City Mission director who was disturbed that we did not try to resolve this issue through the Coalition out of the public pages of the Grapevine. The two editors who wrote this editorial thought that it was clear that we had a long history with the City Mission and private complaints did not work. Newer City Mission Director, Rich Trickel, felt that we should have given the grievance process a chance before doing the editorial. He also said that we had confused the readers because it looked as though we had attempted to resolve these issues unsuccessfully and then wrote an editorial.

I am sorry for the confusion, but we painstakingly detailed our process for complaints in the editorial for the purpose of saying that our normal process does not work for City Mission and St. Hermans. From the day we put the City Mission staff on the "Wall of Shame" for meeting with the Mayor of Cleveland to talk about his policy to sweep homeless people, neither the Coalition nor the Grapevine have had a good relationship with the Mission. Their staff have called for my resignation, and have started groups to undermine and oppose efforts of the Coalition. We have filed grievances on behalf of clients, and have published previous negative reviews of the City Mission shelters without a reply. So, City Mission staff felt that since their was a new administration, we should give them a chance before going public with our concerns.

I knew that their was a new administration, but I did not know that the staff wanted a new relationship with the Coalition. I also do not feel the editorial was that significant. It clearly stated that "if these letter writers are correct..." then there needs to be better oversight. We do not say that the allegations are true, but they should be investigated and all shelters need better oversight. What is so wrong with that? I hope that they take the opportunity to respond and give their opinions on the letters by former staff.



Blogger homeless_veteran said...

thank you for putting these things out under the public eye. If they won't respect the structure of their own grievance process in a timely manner (expedience is everything where you're homeless), yes, these problems do indeed need to be aired publicly.

I thought the editorial was incredibly clear as to what was appearance vs. reported hearsay vs. actual fact. Perhaps those reading need to take a breath and look at the actual language used rather than getting prematurely riled about what they think was said. There are some of us out here who don't have the luxury of taking offense at what we *think* we read.

9:08 PM  

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