Simmons Coleman Manor
The L.A. homeless shelter stopped receiving funds for no apparent reason
By Brian Carter
The Simmons Coleman Manor (SCM) in South Los Angeles has been providing a place of warmth and comfort to the homeless and senior adults for over 12 years. Unfortunately, the Manor is now in need of funding since the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) recently rescinded its contract for no apparent good reason.
Mrs. Barbara Coleman is the founder and executive director of the shelter. Coleman worked at Kaiser Permanente as the first Black woman to serve as Coordinator in the Regional Radiation Department. After her retirement, Coleman continued to feel an affinity towards helping people. She founded the SCM in 1996 and it was secured as a residential complex for retirement, senior adults and homeless in transition. The shelter had some funding issues in later years but in 2005, displaced victims of hurricane Katrina found a place to lay their heads.
As a result of lending a hand to Katrina victims, the SCM garnered attention from the LAHSA. LAHSA is an agency supported by taxpayers and obligated to provide shelter to the homeless within Los Angeles. LAHSA was impressed with the SCM and their operations and decided to fund them. The shelter secured funds from LAHSA to maintain daily operations. As of July 2008, LAHSA refused to allocate funds or refer the homeless to SCM.
According to Coleman, the incident started when she questioned a former LAHSA supervisor’s treatment of a client of the SCM. Apparently a homeless client with child was asked to vacate the SCM within 120 days. She called LAHSA to question the reason for the eviction of her client. According to Coleman, she was met with a rude, hostile and unprofessional manner. She claims the former program supervisor was very defensive. LAHSA later sent an e-mail stating they could no longer utilize the SCM because they (LAHSA) could no longer afford to fund them.
Coleman is now filing a lawsuit against LAHSA for their breach of contract. She claims the most puzzling part of it all is LAHSA set the fee in the first place, “This is the reason I have filed the lawsuit” said Coleman. The reason for their conduct is puzzling and because of their actions, Coleman isn’t being referred any clients. The funding of the Manor is important since it operates as place that caters to the homeless offering job training, counseling, computer training, substance abuse, feed the hungry programs and other services.
The Simmons Coleman Manor is located at 3757 Halldale Ave. in Los Angeles. If you would like to contact the SCM for information, support or to make a tax-deductible donation you can call (323) 737-4315 or visit simmonscolemanmanor.org. Thank you.