Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Hammer Has Fallen... or Has It?

After I posted my blog that was critical of SWSC and the Hearth Act, I was acutely aware that some people might not take it well. I went through Monday night and Tuesday half expecting the hammer to fall and that I would be asked to leave the shelter.

I breathed a bit easier Wednesday, despite my blog being circulated on Twitter and other sources, and went to my A+ Certification class confident that no actions would be taken.

I came back in Wednesday night at 11:30pm, and was told that it was my last night in the shelter.

I was stunned. The hammer had fallen. Hard.

Was it because someone had read my blog and decided this troublemaker had to go? Was it because my time at the shelter had been extended one day too many?

The really sad part was I got a call about an interview and I was looking forward to going to it.

I lay awake half of the rest of the night worrying about it and thinking about what I would do. I doubt I got 3 hours of sleep last night.

In the morning, I contacted the Guest Advisory Council president, the person who lives in the shelter that acts as a liaison between guests and staff, and I told him my fears. We went around trying to find out why I was barred. I filed a grievance, asking for a hearing, based on the appearance that my First Amendment Rights had been violated and that I felt misled about the Shelter Plus Care Voucher, which I felt I could qualify for.

Finally I talked to the Case Manager, Bill Hoetzlein, who assured me that a) he'd never read my blog, b) he wasn't the one who put the order in (which surprised me) c) that he would make it a policy that no one was kicked out without a rules violation unless they had adequate warning, and d) my time at the shelter was drawing to a close, but probably not immediately.

He wanted to discuss it with his staff, and told me to call him later in the day.

A few other bits of information: Apparently the Shelter Plus Care Voucher is only accepting Mentally Ill clients now. This might be a violation of the Hearth Act. I'll have to check on that.

The 30/60 days to find a job and find housing has apparently been increased to 90 days. I was at class and missed that meeting.

I'm not sure what I'll do at the moment. I'm tempted to contact the ACLU, because that appearance of violating my First Amendment Rights bothers me. I am of the firm belief that the Hearth Act is being misused here, as an excuse to kick people out of the shelter simply because they haven't found jobs or housing. I will try to keep everyone posted.

Thanks for your support.