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Today's Letters: Learn more about project at meeting

By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 11, 2007


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City can't host all the homeless letter by Clark Paulson, May 9

In response to Mr. Paulson's letter regarding the proposed expansion of the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project, I would like to set the record straight with the following facts:

1. Property values in the "Gateway" area adjacent to the CHIP shelter have actually increased, not decreased.

2. CHIP receives no compensation on a "per-head basis" from any city or organization to place a homeless person in an available bed.

3. Sixty-nine percent of homeless people who have stayed in the CHIP shelter have been in Clearwater for six months or longer.

4. The proposed CHIP expansion project is to construct a building that would house the CHIP administrative offices, commercial office space, a police station fronting Cleveland Street and four apartments. If constructed, the CHIP expansion project would clean up the heavily contaminated soil beneath the current structure at this location.

If Mr. Paulson or any other person would like to view the proposed expansion project, they can do so by attending the next CHIP quarterly meeting, which will be held Wednesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen chapel at 1329 Park St., Clearwater.

I do not have an ad on the Internet promoting Clearwater for the homeless, but I do have a link to CHIP on the Police Department's Web site (www. clearwaterpolice.org) in the event you might wish to make a donation to help stop homelessness in Clearwater.

Sid Klein, Clearwater chief of police

 

Thank you for helping homeless 

City can't host all the homeless letter by Clark Paulson, May 9

I was disappointed to read Clark Paulson's letter. He states, "The city asks what services we would like to give up to reduce taxes. How about stopping the huge sign welcoming the homeless to Clearwater? Enough already! Stop spending our money and send the homeless back to Cleveland, Minneapolis and, yes, even Largo."

I previously lived and paid taxes in Clearwater and this county for more than 10 years. In January 2006, I returned to Clearwater a homeless man. I started by sleeping on the floor at Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project shelter for two weeks before I received a bed to sleep in, and I obtained a job within one week.

Today, thanks to the care, nourishment and guidance I received from CHIP and the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, and the job opportunity I received from friends of Scientology, last month I paid my first federal taxes in more than five years, because of gainful employment and having earned enough to fulfill my obligation to pay taxes.

I now live in my own apartment. I still have the same job I obtained 15 months ago. I am now a productive citizen, contributing again to my community.

Thank you, citizens of Clearwater and Pinellas County, for your kindness and helping me get back on my feet. By investing in each other, we make a better society that even haters can live in. Fortunately, they are not the majority.

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40

Would Mr. Paulson have also wished that we send that homeless gentleman back to Largo, Cleveland, Minneapolis or Jerusalem? I pray not.

Christopher Eckhardt, Clearwater

 

It is up to us to aid the homeless 

City can't host all the homeless letter by Clark Paulson, May 9

My advice would have been for you, before writing this letter, to go to the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project office and see the wonderful work the staff is doing there. In fact, go volunteer and help out your community like many other citizens and churches do in the soup kitchen each evening.

This shelter isn't destroying property values in "Gateway." Most of the residents who live in the work program at the CHIP shelter work in "Gateway, " which is in return helping you.

As for roaming the street waiting for a bed for the night, that is not true. If they live there, they must work, so they can't be roaming the street. This is also not a flophouse where they look for a bed for one night. It's a work program.

However, in this city as well as others, we do have the population of homeless who can't work and who come by looking for a meal or a shower. These are the ones that have fallen through the cracks in our system.

St. Petersburg, Largo and any other city do not send their people to CHIP unless they arrange it first. It's based on a first come, first served situation, and except for the day facility, it's a work program where residents must work, budget and attend self-help meetings. It's designed to help them get back on their feet and become self-sufficient again.

Bad things do happen to good people in this day and time, and we will start seeing more and more of this in this state. I truly hope it doesn't happen to you. You'll never make it.

And, contrary to what the writer said, the other cities do have shelters, halfway houses and treatment centers.

There is no big secret being kept. No one is promoting the homeless to come to Clearwater. From my travels, every city has this problem, and it's up to us to help out.

And why would you say let's send the homeless back to Cleveland and Minneapolis? I'm sure people from there loved your comment.

By the way, I know all this because I know someone involved who is tired of prejudice and judgmental people like you. Why don't you go back up north!

James Marshall, Clearwater

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

[Last modified May 10, 2007, 23:54:20]


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