[Hpn] Re: Homelessworld ~*** Meters benefiting homeless a success

Blazingstar ruben@blazingstar.org
Wed, 23 Jan 2008 17:07:50 -0800 (PST)

MODNOTE: Come on, now; meters generating 12-cents
an hour, how far do these pennies go to help the
thousands of homeless in Quebec? 

This pittance from "concerned citizens" might
make for a great photo-op with the mayor, but
that's just about as far as it will go to help
anyone at all; except maybe for the L'Itinéraire
chiefs who depend on a positive public image for
their own bread and butter; or is that new homes
and cars? 

L'Itinéraire can and should always be asking the
government for tax dollars, especially for those
tax dollars otherwise spent on warfare instead of
welfare. Who ever decided it is right, ethical or
moral to spend tax dollars on warfare and not on
the welfare of the people, anyway -- Hitler?!


 Wednesday » January 23 » 2008 
Meters only go so far in helping homeless
The Gazette 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Over at L'Itinéraire, they count their progress
in nickels and dimes. So when your latest
moneymaking scheme's netting about 12 cents an
hour, you figure you're still coming out ahead.

Sort of.

"We can't always be asking the government for
money," said Serge Lareault, director of the
non-profit organization founded 17 years ago in
an effort to help the homeless help themselves.

"I think people are ready to give. But they'll
give when they know there's a concrete plan. The
public will get on board if they think the
government's actually leading a project."

I spoke to Lareault yesterday, thinking we'd be
discussing good news. And we did. Sort of.

The last time I saw him was in June on Ste.
Catherine St., as the borough of Ville Marie
announced it had recycled 30 parking meters into
Parco-Dons, green metal stand-ins for the flesh
and blood you see daily, cardboard signs at their
feet, their need for spare change scrawled out in
felt pen.

Money collected by the meters would help fund

There were several tacit conclusions one could
draw from a plan where passersby could plunk
change into the slot of a municipal fee collector
instead of the hand of a human being.

The first was that many of us, while perhaps
sympathetic to the person squatting in a doorway,
were less than confident whatever change we gave
would go anywhere other than into a bottle of
beer or wine picked up later at the local

The other was that after announcing a ban on
sleeping overnight in its parks, Ville Marie was
perceived as taking a hard line on the homeless
(some local, others out-of-town talent here only
for the summer tourist season) and that
Parco-Dons were an attempt to show that the
borough had a heart.

Whatever the motivation, three months after they
were launched, Parco-Dons have been pulling in
about $600 a week, according to Lareault. He said
it's too soon to figure out if that weekly haul
is going to improve over time, or whether that
largesse came from tourists or generous locals.
But Lareault and borough officials yesterday
confirmed the project is being expanded - 20 more
meters between now and the end of the year.

That, as I said, is good news in itself, another
chapter in a story written by L'Itinéraire that
includes the publication (and, on good days,
actual sale) of a newspaper produced by the
homeless, as well as a restaurant run out of the
organization's offices.

As I spoke to Lareault, however, it became clear
that while $600 a week was welcome and already
earmarked to pay street workers to help out some
of the 2,000 people who come to L'Itinéraire for
help, a coherent government policy on dealing
with homelessness would even more useful.

"We have a budget of $1 million a year," he said.
"We have 150 (newspaper) vendors and 20 employees
working in our restaurant and on the paper. Half
that budget comes from (government) grants, 30
per cent from corporate and private donations and
20 per cent from the sale of the newspaper."

But that government money flows from any number
of general, employment or development programs.

"At the moment," Lareault said, "the amount of
money Quebec gives us to actually deal with the
homeless is $24,000."

Lareault has a feeling that cuts to that
government funding are just around the corner.
And it seems he's got a lot of company.

Tomorrow in Sherbrooke, members of 100 Quebec
groups representing the homeless are scheduled to
stage a rally calling on the province to adopt a
policy aimed specifically at the problem of

Given the minority status of the present
provincial government (as well as the prevailing
grouchiness over anything resembling
accommodation of someone outside the mainstream),
it's unlikely much will be done to immediately
help a constituency that rarely visits a ballot

Which means that while 12 cents an hour may not
be much, right now it will probably have to do.


© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007
Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive, a division
of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All
rights reserved.

--- "William C. Tinker" <wtinker@verizon.net>

> Meters benefiting homeless a success
> René Bruemmer, Montreal Gazette
> Montreal's oft-reviled parking meters have
> found a noble calling as benefactors to the
> city's homeless community.
> Half a year into their introduction to the
> downtown core, the number of bright green
> parking meters that accept donations has grown
> from 20 to 60.
> The money goes to L'Itinéraire, a support
> organization founded by a group of former
> addicts and homeless people in 1990 that
> emphasizes giving the homeless the tools they
> need to get off the street.
> The Parco-Don meters that have been installed
> throughout the downtown core of Montreal, have
> collected about $400 a week that benefits the
> homeless.
> Allen McInnis The Gazette
> People have been plunking about $400 a week
> into the meters, or an average of $6 per meter
> per week. The overall financial take of $20,000
> per year from the Parco-Don initiative is
> fairly meager when compared to L'Itinéraire's
> $1-million annual budget. But monetary
> donations are only a
> small portion of the larger goal, said the
> group's marketing director Richard Turgeon.
> "The main objective is visibility, of getting
> the word out about us, and the issue of
> homelessness," he said. Montreal's homeless
> population swells to as many as 30,000 people
> during the summer.
> Next week, L'Itinéraire is announcing a major
> advertising campaign that will feature
> 15-second radio and TV ads to be broadcast
> regularly on several stations. The spots
> feature mock hockey games with the Parco-Dons
> of L'Itinéraire facing off against the Devils
> of Adversity.
> Production and broadcasting expenses are being
> covered by local media organizations.
> "It would have cost us at least $150,000 to
> launch an ad campaign like this," Turgeon said.
> The idea has been launched on a more modest
> scale in a few U.S. cities like Denver and
> Baltimore, and a pilot project with six meters
> kicked off in Ottawa's touristy Byward Market
> this December.
> The idea, championed by the Ville Marie
> borough, has been proposed to other boroughs in
> Montreal. L'Itinéraire is waiting for
> responses. To date, the most successful meter
> has been the one outside city hall.
> L'Itinéraire runs a café where the homeless can
> get cheap meals, and publishes a magazine twice
> a month which homeless salespeople purchase for
> $1 each and sell for $2 on the street,
> pocketing the profits. Salespeople have noted
> that many buyers mention the Parco-Don
> campaign, indicating the visibility drive has
> been a success.
> L'Itinéraire's initial reservations that people
> would mistake the meters for real ones were
> unfounded. They've filled a niche for people
> who want to give to the homeless, but not
> directly to an individual who might spend the
> proceeds on drugs or alcohol, Turgeon said.
> Donations dropped a bit in winter, perhaps
> because the meters were harder to reach.
> Turgeon's hoping the new campaign will spur
> greater giving.
>  "We can help a lot of people with $20,000," he
> said. "Here at L'Itinéraire, every dollar is
> used. Every dollar is a blessing."
> Ryan Connors has been living on the streets of
> various Canadian cities for seven years.
> Sitting in the snow outside Chapters on Ste.
> Catherine St. this week, he said the meters
> haven't made any discernible change in the  $20
> to $50 he collects each day.
> "I figure anything that helps people on the
> street is a good thing," he said.
> rbruemmer@thegazette.canwest.com
> William Charles Tinker, Sr.
> New Hampshire Homeless
> Founded 11-28-99
> 25 Granite Street
> Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
> Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced
> human rights.
> 1-603-286-2492
> http://www.missingkids.com
> http://www.nationalhomeless.org
> http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org

Love~Compassion~Charity   http://www.justgive.org/
  Ruben @ http://www.blazingstar.org

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