[Hpn] Doors closing to homeless

Editor icanamerica@msn.com
Sat, 03 Feb 2001 05:29:26 -0500


Wednesday January 31 06:00 AM EST
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DOORS CLOSING TO HOMELESS?
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BY HUGH McDIARMID JR.
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Lost amid the furor over a police raid of the Grace Centers of Hope last
week was an announcement that sent chills through Oakland County's homeless
assistance network.

The Pontiac center, under pressure from city leaders, will jettison its
emergency shelter program on March 1, officials confirmed Tuesday.

That will put up to 70 more men and women on the streets -- adults who have
been spending the night at the shelter but are on their own during the day.
The center's yearlong rehabilitation program, where clients are supervised
24 hours a day, won't be affected.
Right now, there aren't nearly enough places to absorb that many homeless
people, say advocates who are quickly putting their heads together. They
point to the irony that the state's wealthiest county isn't meeting the
demand for assistance.

<snip>
Right now, there aren't nearly enough places to absorb that many homeless
people, say advocates who are quickly putting their heads together. They
point to the irony that the **state's wealthiest county isn't meeting the
demand for assistance.**

"We're researching to see if we can't get someone else to come up here" to
help provide services, said Noreen Keating, executive director of Lighthouse
of Oakland County, a Pontiac-based nonprofit organization that provides
emergency services -- but not emergency shelter -- to poor and homeless
people.

The Rev. Kent Clark, who runs the center, formerly known as the Pontiac
Rescue Mission, said its 30-day emergency shelter was the target of
increasing criticism from city leaders and businesses.

<snip>

Losing the emergency shelter program will shut the door to hope for many,
said Chris Cole, who used the program last year while turning his life
around.

"It gives you a chance to change your life and get yourself together," said
Cole, 52, who found a job at a plastics company and a Pontiac apartment
while sleeping at the center in its emergency program. "If it's
discontinued, it's a great injustice to others."
<snip>

Full story at Detroit Free Press   URL
http://www.freep.com/news/locoak/pon31_20010131.htm

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Could this happen in your town?  Or your agency?

H. C. Sonny Covington
HomelessAmerica@egroups.com