Funding for Calgary Drop-In Centre could be in question following harassment allegations

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Funding for Calgary Drop-In Centre could be in question following harassment allegations
WATCH: Future funding for the country's largest homeless shelter could be in question following allegations of bullying and harassment. Jill Croteau has both sides of this story – Feb 6, 2018

The City of Calgary is reviewing its funding commitments to the Calgary Drop-In Centre after concerning allegations came to light.

The department in charge of funding some of the city’s not-for-profits said they are looking at their contract with the DI and can suspend funding to organizations who don’t meet ethical standards and proper human resources policies.

The provincial government contributed $13.3 million last year to the DI.  The press secretary for the minister of Community and Social Services, Samantha Power, released the following statement on the matter:

“We are deeply concerned with the issues raised with respect to the Calgary Drop-In Centre and take all matters of harassment very seriously. Staff with the Community and Social Services ministry have contacted the centre and will be looking over their code of conduct and harassment policies to ensure they comply with conditions set out in their grant funding agreement. Our government believes that everyone deserves to work in a safe and harassment-free environment.”

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Several former employees of the Calgary Drop-In Centre are coming forward with allegations of bullying and harassment. Stephanie Raynor-Hohol started with the DI as the associate director of fund development in October 2016. She said within weeks on the job, her staff started reporting some questionable conduct by a co-worker, Steve Baldwin.

“Those people trusted me and told me their stories and I told them I was working on it. I promised those people I would do something,” Raynor-Hohol said.

Raynor-Hohol said Baldwin bullied her during a boardroom meeting.

“The more I tried to make it a discussion, the more angry he became and finally I just sunk and said, ‘Whatever you want, whatever you need,'” Raynor-Hohol recalled. “I just wanted out of the room and I was dismissed by him and as I was walking to leave, I was slapped on the buttocks [and he said] ‘good girl.'”

The man at the centre of these allegations has responded by speaking exclusively to Global News.

“I have never been aggressive, I have never hit anyone and I have never yelled at anyone. I don’t speak like that, those aren’t words I have ever uttered,” Baldwin said.

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Raynor-Hohol also said she was confronted by Baldwin in her office.

“I went to my door and he blocked my door and told me to ‘get in line,’ [and said] I would lose my job, how dare I,” Raynor-Hohol claimed. “He left and I noticed I wet myself because I was so petrified and I pulled down the blinds and threw up in the garbage can.”

Baldwin said these allegations have greatly impacted him and his family.

“This has been a shock and a surprise and it’s disheartening. My faith in human nature took a shake. These allegations are completely unfounded.”

Raynor-Hohol said her ordeal left her shattered and she resigned.

“It’s had a lasting impact but I want to take that horrific dark piece and turn it into something good.”

Three other former employees Global News spoke with allege other separate episodes of harassment and say they complained to senior leadership, however, they say nothing was done. One was laid off, two say they felt forced to resign.

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The board chair of the DI, Ken Uzeloc, released the following statement on the matter:

“We take any and all personnel-related concerns seriously and we investigate them in accordance with our policies. This may warrant an internal or an independent third-party investigation, depending on the situation. Recommendations coming out of any investigation are then taken to senior leadership and/or the board of directors to determine next steps.”

Baldwin recently left the Drop-In Centre for another opportunity.

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