[Hpn] Donors quick to help after homeless attacks

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 24 Mar 2006 07:26:37 -0500


Donors quick to help after homeless attacks

By Bill Hirschman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted March 24 2006

Usually, it takes more than one week for the Salvation Army of Broward
County to get any response to their appeals for funds.

When they mentioned the beatings of three homeless men in January, 122
people responded within 72 hours, Area Commander Capt. Stephen Morris said

The immediate response that raised more than $10,000 represents only 1
percent of the 12,000 people sent an appeal last Friday. But appeals usually
bring responses from a total of 3 to 4 percent and then only after 10 days
or more, he said.

"This shows this story did not just happen in January and then went away,"
he said.

One homeless man was beaten to death and two others injured during the early
morning hours of Jan. 12. Three teenagers are in a Broward jail for the
attacks, which received widespread attention after the broadcast of one
beating was recorded by security videotape.

The agency has about 10 beds for overnight stays, but it provides about 350
beds for people needing long-term counseling, job training and other
services helping them find permanent solutions to their plight.

The appeal was wrapped around a survey regarding attitudes toward the
homeless. About half said overall violence was motivated by boredom.

One respondent wrote: "Idle minds, idle hands, open to evil."

About a third thought those involved in violence are copying what they see
in the news or in videos. The solution, about a third of the respondents
said, is more shelter space. Another third said impose stiffer penalties for
assaulting the homeless.

More than 100 supported trying teenagers as adults if they are charged with
attacking homeless people. The three suspects in the Januaryattacks have
pleaded not guilty.

Bill Hirschman can be reached at bhirschman@sun-sentinel.com or

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