CMC’s Shelter Mediation program started in January of 2014. With the help of the Cuyahoga County Continuum of Care which included Frontline Service Coordinated Intake and family shelters such as Family Promise of Greater Cleveland, Zelma George Family Shelter, and West Side Catholic Center to name a few, CMC staff was able to reach out and serve 53 individuals in the first year of the program.
The Shelter Mediation program helps participants employing the shelter resources to resolve a conflict that could potentially put them at risk of being involuntarily discharged from the shelter and its programs. Additionally, it allows the opportunity for clients to feel like they are being heard and understood during a time they might feel they have no voice.
This is done by having the parties who are experiencing conflict come together to have a conversation with a mediator who is an unbiased third party provider. These conversations with a mediator are voluntary which means all parties must opt-in to the process before it can be utilized.
Once everyone has agreed to move forward, the parties can utilize the time to discuss any issues they feel are relevant to the conflict in order to work towards a resolution or understanding that everyone can feel confident with moving forward. This may involve participants sharing their perspectives on situations that may have occurred and allows for an opportunity to clear up previous misunderstandings.
The mediator helps these parties by facilitating a process that will allow everyone to be heard and understood while helping parties decide next steps and determine who is responsible for each step. This may include discussion about safe living arrangements, agreeable time frames for action to be done, or what would happen if the agreement fails.
Last year, this program served 109 homeless individuals, with an involuntary discharge prevention rate of 76.15%. It is our goal to continue to reach out to the shelters and homeless population in order to help spread awareness of our program and make sure everyone continues to have a voice in their situation.