By Mr. Joseph Perry
The pressure is on now for the shelter staff to find solutions for their mistakes, but the leaders of the management of the shelter are not really stepping forward to lead change for the staff. If staff is over-structured, the environment in the shelter will resonate in ways that will produce anger, resistance, and even defiance.
If constituents have no outlet to express these feelings, or are afraid to raise concerns with staff that have the power to ask them to leave, they may take their anger out on other constituents in the shelter.
The leaders of the shelter must provide guidelines in order for staff to know how to resolve conflicts that arise in different areas in the shelter.
Question # 1 for staff: What do you do with unruly constituents who start fights, for example, or refuse to stay clean? Does the staff have the right to have them transferred to another shelter?
Question # 2 for staff: Should the homeless people and shelter constituents enjoy the ‘The Right to Shelter’ and not be evicted from the shelter by staff?
Question # 3 for staff:Should staff have the right to set rules and requirements for the shelter constituents to follow?
The homeless populations is increasing, but growing problems in the shelter still remain. Until the shelter management and support staff make efforts to solve the growing problems in the shelter, without changes to policies/procedures for the staff, these problems will remain.
But despite the safeguards by staff, the implementations of responsibility for the constituents will put fear in them and will discourage many homeless people who need shelter from seeking help.
Shelter staff have little training in mental-health issues, drugs, alcohol, and anger management. The solution to these problems: Training, Training, Training. Common sense is a must for staff. Shelter management should support and encourage them in responsibility and hold staff accountable for their actions.
The shelter constituents should have a leader who can address with shelter management how they are treated by staff, and they should be determined to change how they are treated by shelter staff. There must be stories of success, not failures.
The shelter leaders must focus on training from staff because that’s the key for their success and achievement, attitude, sense or purpose, strong motivation, and continuing education that will keep the staff doing the right things. Communication between staff will show that they care for each other and promoting from within helps keep staff motivated.
Shelter management and leaders must focus on staff strength, weakness and flexibility and their training will allow staff and management to draw the best from its staff, give them a chance to advance and keep the staff motivated.
Because of my common sense and experience with staff issues I am a firm believer that a shelter staff person must be well-trained to be effective.