Women's Shelter Contract May Be Reopened For New Bids

[Matt Richmond / ideastream]
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Cuyahoga County Council is considering changes to a new contract with the women’s shelter operator in Downtown Cleveland. Frontline Service currently operates the Norma Herr Women’s Shelter. The Office of Homeless Services initially recommended that county council renew the contract. But Frontline received a score of 84 in its bid evaluation. The minimum threshold is 85. So the county will reopen bidding. In the meantime, Frontline will continue to operate the shelter through the end of the year.

Normally the evaluation scores are not released publicly until after a contract is awarded. And Office of Homeless Services Manager Ruth Gillett told council Tuesday they will now change their contracting process.

“This issue has occurred before in the RFP process in other departments and it is for this reason that it is recommended generally that a minimum score not be set. And in the future I will follow this guidance," said Gillett.

Frontline has come under heavy criticism by housing advocates for conditions in the shelter and poor treatment of residents by Frontline staff. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has waged a campaign against conditions at the shelter for years. The coalition, along with West Side Catholic Center, filed a competing bid to operate the shelter but it scored much lower in its evaluation compared to Frontline. The reopening of the RFP goes to the council’s Committee of the Whole.

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