L.A. resident Barbara Coleman is seeking answers, she said, as to why the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority withdrew funding for a homeless shelter "that is currently being underutilized. Coleman has described the facility as being safe, clean and accessible and having room for dozens of families. However, she said, Simmons-Coleman Manor (SCM) located at 3757 Halldale Avenue in Los Angeles will as of now, not receive any funding for operation.
"SCM had a contract with LAHSA signed on March 18 to place homeless families [there]," Coleman said.
"Mr. Armando Carrillo, LAHSA program supervisor stated, during a hostile, unprofessional telephone conversation with me that he would not be using SC Manor in the future…"
Coleman called the withdrawal arbitrary but believed she may have angered a mid level supervisor at LAHSA when she questioned one of his employees on insensitivity and unprofessional behavior towards a LAHSA client residing at SC Manor.
"Mr. Richardson and his minor daughter were directed to move out of SC Manor on June 30," explained Michael Johnson, a neighbor of Coleman who wrote a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on her behalf.
"They were instructed to move into a hotel room until permanent housing could be found for them although they had been contracted to stay at SC for 120 days (which would have been July 16.) When [Coleman] called to inquire about their abrupt removal and to ask the [LAHSA] employee who authorized the action, he was reluctant but finally admitted that his boss had been behind the decision. Armando Carillo took over the conversation and began shouting at Coleman about questioning his employee.
"She told him she felt his actions were unprofessional given the fact that Richardson and his daughter were not informed of the decision to remove them and that she was concerned for them. She asked if they would at least allow the two to remain at SC Manor until their contracted time was up instead of sending them to motel rooms… Carillo continued to rant, saying he 'did not work for SC Manor and did not have to explain anything to Coleman."
Carillo no longer works for LAHSA but the agency stood by the decision to remove funding, stating that the fee structure at SCM exceeded LAHSA's available funding.
"That's peculiar," said Coleman, "since it was LAHSA that had set the fee schedule in the first place."
Coleman maintains that it was the argument with the supervisor that resulted in the contract termination. The Manor is a residential tri-plex within walking distance to USC, museums, galleries and public transportation. It has a computer/ study room, laundry, vending machines, microwave, refrigerators and an enclosed patio for recreation.
Coleman offers rooms with beds, night stands, fresh linens for each tenant and personal lockers (individual televisions are optional). She and her partner, resident manager Marilyn Reed, offer job training, counseling, computer training, substance abuse programs and access to additional resources.
LAHSA officials did not contact the Sentinel by press time.