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Jamaica Women’s Employment Shelter Receives Highest Possible Score on Callahan Inspection

This February, Volunteers of America-Greater New York’s (VOA-GNY) Jamaica Women’s Employment Shelter (JWES) received a perfect score of 100 on its annual Callahan Inspection, an achievement it has consistently received over the past several years.

The Callahan Inspection is the result of a 1981 court case that changed the way New York City homeless shelters meet the needs of their clients. Originally filed in 1979 on behalf of homeless men in New York City by lawyer Robert Hayes, Callahan vs Carey established the concept of “right to shelter” for homeless individuals. The ruling further set standards for the treatment of homeless individuals and holds city shelters responsible to meet these standards. Annually, inspectors arrive at a facility and grade it on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how well residents are living. Inspectors look at the overall cleanliness, the quality of beds and mattresses, and the availability of clean linens, fresh toiletries, laundry and mail service. Inspectors also make sure there are CPR-certified employees on every shift, and that the program provides at least ten hours of recreation per week for residents.

Achieving a perfect score on the Callahan speaks to the quality of services we provide to those who walk through our doors. We strive to not only meet the standards set by this important ruling, but surpass them to create an environment that reflects the respect we have for our clients.

“I believe that the Callahan Inspection was successful due to us working together as a team and preparing in advance for the inspection,” says Tuere Frere, AVP for NYC Homeless and Community Support Services at VOA-GNY. “On the morning of the inspection, it was great to have experts on-site including Naomi Curtis, Aaron Jenkins, Martin Peraza, and Lanette Butler to make sure that everything was in place. In addition, having the support of the entire staff who helped sweep the floors, clean the toilets, and dispose of the trash also contributed to the perfect score. Everyone who came to work that morning was willing to lend a hand and be part of a great collaborative effort to achieve our goal.”