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Today's Letters: Group has worked years on behalf of the homeless

Letters to the Editor
Published December 16, 2007


Salvation Army critique Dec. 5, letter

We read with interest the Rev. Lionel Cabral's criticism of the Salvation Army not being a participant in, nor a supporter of, the Pinellas Hope initiative. It should be noted that the Salvation Army has not at any time criticized other homeless providers, so we find this attack quite surprising.

The Salvation Army has been caring for homeless people in Pinellas County for more than 95 years. Long after many of the current providers are gone, the Salvation Army will continue to provide services to this very needy population.

While the Rev. Cabral notes that the Salvation Army receives more tax money than any other national organization (a fact I question), it should be noted that we do not receive one penny in tax support for homeless services in Pinellas County, nor has any local government body in the 95 years of our service ever provided any financial support for the work we do. His assertion is grossly misleading.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army provides lunches and suppers to the homeless every day of the year. Our homeless shelter has been full every night running for more than five years. We have worked to provide support services including our One Stop Center, which brings area agencies together and, with our resources added, tries not only to help the homeless but also to put in place mechanisms to prevent homelessness.

That we might find our hands full with what we have going on already would seem reason enough not to take on more.

Nationally, the Salvation Army provides more homeless beds than all other organizations combined. Given our deep and vast experience in this area of service, we have also questioned the viability of the Pinellas Hope project.

Just because the Rev. Cabral and others think this is a good idea doesn't mean everyone does. We were not asked our opinion in the planning stages, so it hardly seems proper that we be expected to give full support to a model about which we have serious questions.

We hope that this is a successful endeavor. We are for any proposal or plan that alleviates the suffering of the homeless and provides a way out for those who want to leave the vicious cycle of homelessness.

We have stood for this in Pinellas County for 95 years. Our position has not changed. And we shall be happy to support any program that offers reasonable hope for the homeless.

God bless you.

Maj. Allen Satterlee, area commander, the Salvation Army, St. Petersburg

It is time for homeless to choose Dec. 9, guest column by Bill Foster

Homeless cause trouble

I would like to thank St. Petersburg City Council member Bill Foster for having the guts to speak up and say what a lot of us feel regarding the homeless issue.

Those of us who are property and business owners downtown have had enough. We feel as though our parks are being held hostage by a minority of individuals, and the majority of our citizens can no longer enjoy them. The health and safety issues are a major concern.

The buildup of trash in our once-beautiful Mirror Lake is overwhelming. Our city is having a hard time keeping up with it.

If our city workers remove anything that appears abandoned, some individuals retaliate by defecating on the benches and sidewalks in Williams Park.

We are holding our fourth annual cleanup of Mirror Lake on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m. This is the worst shape the lake has been in.

Our city has responded and will help us. I wish that the people who need help would take advantage of all that is offered to them and get off our streets.

Shirley O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg

It is time for homeless to choose Dec. 9, guest column by Bill Foster

Foster told it like it is

I would like to thank St. Petersburg City Council member Bill Foster for telling it like it is concerning the homeless problem in the city. He dealt with all the issues head on. The citizens of St. Petersburg have had enough. It is decision time for the homeless.

Frank Bird, St. Petersburg

It is time for homeless to choose Dec. 9, guest column by Bill Foster

Homeless, go elsewhere

What a wonderful column, expressing my views on the homeless situation. We have wonderful options in place for those in need, and at great expense to the taxpayer. For those who choose the street - panhandling, theft, drugs, alcohol, sleeping on sidewalks and parks, defecation in public areas, and turning our parks into areas unwelcome to the citizens of St. Petersburg - I say go elsewhere. We don't need or want you here.

I sincerely hope that the mayor and City Council enforce the existing laws and clean up our beautiful downtown area.

Dennis Fieber, St. Petersburg

Where's city's heart?

What right does anyone have to pass judgment on the homeless?

We don't know their real situation. There are good people and bad people in all groups of people. It is wrong to put good apples and bad apples in the same barrel.

Does our city government have a heart and a brain? It doesn't seem that way.

Geneva Berg, St. Petersburg

2 bikes stolen in 2 weeks? Enough!Dec. 9, letter

Indiscriminate thieves

I know how the letter writer feels about having two new bikes stolen. I feel very bad for the son, but I have news for him. It doesn't matter if the bikes were new or old.

I had a 15-year-old bike in my screened room, and on Thanksgiving Day while I went to take some trash to the Dumpster, my old and ugly bike was stolen. I'm a senior citizen living in a mobile home park so, sorry to say, it doesn't matter - old or new. I miss my bike very much.

It's not like it used to be. You didn't even have to lock up your house. Nobody came and stole things. People were poor, but honest, and didn't take what wasn't theirs.

Mae Davis, St. Petersburg


We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site at They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

[Last modified December 15, 2007, 21:32:02]

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