Re: LA Soup Kitchen's Homeless Clients Cause Crime, Say

Theodore Latham (tedrico@hotmail.com)
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 21:29:22 PDT


Virginia,

     Way to prove your point! It's not always the clients of the various 
city social servie workers and shelter case managers that are to blame 
for disruptive and unbecoming behavior. Business owners and such, tend 
to forget about how easy it is for homeless and transient people to 
hitchhike from one city to another! Alot of the problems between 
business owners and the homeless, especially those requiring police 
involvement result in the homeless individual being a local "Otis from 
Mayberry" type or an out-of-state "Bill Bixby in Incredible Hulk Mode" 
type, yet all of the homeless, including the "Striving for Betterment of 
Situation" types , get blamed and suffer from the legalities and added 
municiple codes that follow when downtown shop owners and community 
voices complain to city hall about the escapades of the homeless. As 
usual, we see eye to eye ... Virginia. Nuff Said!

Regards,

Tedrico Latham


_________________________
TEDRICO'S PAGE
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Your Informative Homelessness Resource Link!
P.O. Box 514 Rich Square, NC 27869 (252)539-4228
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wch@vcn.com (Virginia Sellner) replied:


>Subject: Re: LA Soup Kitchen's Homeless Clients Cause Crime, Say 
Neighbors  FWD

>
>Businesses need to make it clear to those that 'bother their customers' 
that
>they will not put up with that in and around their place -- once they 
do the
>problem for the most part will disappear.  Too often businesses seem to 
just
>want to blame but not help reduce the problem. 
>
>When I first was working with a homeless shelter in the early 80s there 
were
>no bars, etc. in the neighborhood, but soon 3 bars opened and the bus 
depot
>moved next door, and the businesses started blaming our clients for all 
the
>problems that they had with 'undesirables'.  I told them to call me and 
I
>would check and see who they were.  They were NEVER our clients -- they 
were
>local drunks, new in the area because of the addition of the bars, and 
or
>bus depot people waiting to change buses -- it made them angry, but we
>proved that it was not the homeless and the police backed us up on 
that, and
>finally the complaints went away.
>
>Virginia Sellner
>
>At 10:40 PM 4/24/98 -0700, Tom Boland wrote:
>>http://www.latimes.com:80/CNS_DAYS/980423/t000038219.html
>>FWD Thursday, April 23, 1998
>>
>>
>>IN THE SOUP
>>NEIGHBORS BLAME COSTA MESA KITCHEN'S HOMELESS CLIENTS FOR CRIME
>>  By John Canalis - Special to The Langeles Times
>>
>>     The diners gather in the shuttered Chinese restaurant refashioned 
into
>>a soup kitchen for a down-home American meal: ham, vegetables, tomato 
soup
>>and cupcakes smothered in electric-pink frosting.  "I couldn't eat 
like
>>this on my SSI," Richard Meredith, 48, said of his government 
benefits. "A
>>lot of people use this soup kitchen, a lot more than general society
>>expects."
>>     These days, however, general society is clashing with Someone 
Cares
>>Soup Kitchen about the offering of free meals amid West 19th Street's 
mix
>>of homes for senior citizens, shops, taco stands and the Department of
>>Motor Vehicles.
>>     Some neighbors and police blame the 150 to 200 daily diners for a
>>variety of petty crimes ranging from littering to panhandling. The 
soup
>>kitchen contends that it provides security, screens patrons and is the 
only
>>charity providing regular, sit-down hot meals to the poor in Costa 
Mesa.
>>     Like many of its clients, Someone Cares has led a transient life 
since
>>it opened in 1986 at the Rea Community Center. Now operating for 
nearly a
>>year on property it finally owns at West 19th Street and Pomona 
Avenue, the
>>charity faces familiar complaints and now, a city funding cut that was 
more
>>of a black eye to its image than to its budget.
>>     "The same exact guys I see sleeping on the benches, offering to 
wash
>>my windows at the gas station, are the same guys I see having lunch at 
the
>>soup kitchen," said Patsy Latscha, 54, who lives nearby on Center 
Street.
>>"They're getting a free meal, then you see them at the liquor store 
getting
>>drunk right after."
>>      Some merchants on West 19th also are complaining since the soup
>>kitchen relocated a year ago from a Hamilton Street church courtyard.
>>     "My business has dropped 15% to 20%," said Yun Uyu, 56, owner of
>>Sunshine Liquor next door to the soup kitchen. "The good customers are 
not
>>going to come here because of the street people."
>>     In response to complaints, the City Council recently denied a 
request
>>from Someone Cares for $20,000 in federal grant money, instead 
approving
>>$5,000 be paid next fiscal year. This year, the kitchen received 
$15,000
>>from the city.
>>     "I know that people have problems, but they can't cause grief for 
the
>>citizens," said City Councilman Joe Erickson, who suggested the cuts. 
"The
>>free food allows them to have cash to buy drinks, and when they drink 
we
>>have problems. I believe in helping your fellow man, but I don't 
believe in
>>helping an alcoholic buy his next drink."
>>     Thanks to a $5,000 anonymous donation, Someone Cares has survived 
the
>>cut, and does not expect to reduce services from its annual budget of 
about
>>$100,000--most of which comes from private donations.
>>     "It's not going to close my front door," said Merle Hatleberg, 
74,
>>director and founder of the soup kitchen. "If it's a sin to be poor 
and
>>walk into a soup kitchen then shame on us."
>>     Hatleberg said her primary clients are the working poor, not
>>criminals, and she goes to great lengths to protect neighbors and 
screen
>>out problems. Security guards try to deter loitering and deny entry to
>>intoxicated customers.
>>     Bill Turpit, head of Families-Costa Mesa, a social services 
network on
>>19th Street across the street from the soup kitchen, blames others for 
the
>>social problems: "I think it's just as much a product of the bars and
>>liquor stores. If anything, [the soup kitchen] encourages people to 
sober
>>up during the day."
>>     At Rio's Jewelry and Loan on the other side of the soup kitchen, 
owner
>>Steve Simmons said he hasn't experienced any problems.
>>     In response to the controversy, police, soup kitchen volunteers 
and
>>Erickson met April 16 and agreed to print identification cards that 
will be
>>required for free meals. Every time a patron is picked up for breaking 
the
>>law, a hole will be punched in it. On the third punch, the card is
>>forfeited.
>>     "If it's my people, I want to know," Hatleberg said. "I am trying 
to
>>work with the city as much as I can."
>>     At the Costa Mesa Senior Center, less than a block away, police 
have
>>been called occasionally for problems involving loitering or the 
elderly
>>being harassed for change or cigarettes, but there's no way of knowing
>>whether the troublemakers eat at the soup kitchen, director Thomas 
Gould
>>said.
>>     Police say they can tell.
>>     Soup kitchen client April Johnson, 23, said free meals deter 
trouble:
>>"If they do away with the soup kitchens, crime will go up because 
people
>>have to eat. You'd have most of us in jail for shoplifting food."
>>                                  
>>* * *
>>
>>NEIGHBORHOODS / West 19th Street, Costa Mesa
>>
>>Bounded by: Newport Boulevard on the east and Monrovia Avenue on the 
west.
>>
>>Population: About 5,000 people in surrounding vicinity; includes mix 
of
>>businesses, Costa Mesa Senior Center, Department of Motor Vehicles, 
Bethel
>>Towers senior citizen housing complex and several homes.
>>
>>Hot topic: Whether patrons of Someone Cares Soup Kitchen are causing
>>problems, including loitering and panhandling.
>>
>>END FORWARD
>>
>>HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
>>ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
>>TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom 
<wgcp@earthlink.net>
>>
>>
>>
>______________________________________________
> Speak only words of truth.
> Speak only of the good qualities of others.
> Be a confidant and carry no tales.
> Dhyani Ywahoo,"Voices of our Ancestors, Cherokee teachings from the 
Wisdom
>Fire".
>
>Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
>P. O. Box 1232
>Cheyenne, WY 82003
>wch@vcn.com
>http//www.vcn.com/~wch
>
>_______________________________________
>
>


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