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Homelessness solution

Dear Editor:
In last week’s publication of The Downey Patriot, Greta Campbell highlighted an interesting dilemma facing our City Council: do we buy a fire engine or fund a homeless shelter? So let’s try to solve this dilemma and find Ms. Campbell’s idea a home.
The answer lies in her and in any of us for that matter. If the issue of homelessness moves us so much, then it is incumbent upon us to do something. We should want more than to bait our city officials into posing the aforementioned dilemma. Putting the issue squarely on them allows them to rank the issue among a list of priorities, and that’s too easy.
But what if we approach the city with some knowledge, grit and know how? We tell them that we’ve read-up on the law of nonprofits, we’ve researched in on the Internet from the comfort of our homes, and we’ve started a nonprofit agency for the homeless by filing the requisite paperwork with city, county, state and federal offices. Then we disclose to our beloved council members that, in fact, we are allotting 50 cents of every dollar we collect for administrative costs — for our salaries, as permitted by law, and for additional part-time employees and miscellaneous service providers. Heck, time is money and our efforts should be compensated given the challenge we are facing.
Before the council members can tell us our time is up, we provide them with a list of Downey businesses and organizations that have allowed us to place donation containers in their establishments as well as how much money we have collected thus far. We tell them about how we are in talks with the school district to gather volunteers and donations from students and faculty from elementary schools to the adult schools. We include in our plans to partner with city, police and fire officials to hold events that foster education, awareness and donations, of course. That ought to get the ball rolling.
Then we ask the city to consider administering a fund where we could deposit the other 50 cents from every dollar we collect for auditing and safekeeping to provide whatever it may for the city’s homeless. We may be rash enough to ask that they match our collection or a fraction thereof.
Since the ball is rolling pretty fast now, we may ask that the council accept some of the money to start a campaign to establish a shelter in a vacant city property or something along those lines.
We may not have a shelter yet, but if we do this, we could suddenly be on our way to getting one. Ms. Campbell lit the torch, who is going to carry it now?
Dan Chantre
Downey

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Published: November 22, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 32



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