Re: Cut spending on homeless shelter | letter by Alfred Jarry, Nov. 26
Help the homeless rebuild their lives
It's a shame that Mr. Jarry chose not to share any of his Thanksgiving spirit when he replied to your editorial focusing on the need for support of the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project, or CHIP. I'm sure he is as grateful as the rest of us for the blessings of a roof over our heads. But I'm not sure he understands what CHIP is all about.
The purpose behind this homeless program is not to keep people homeless, but to help them work themselves out of that condition and repay the kindness of others by becoming employed and able to support a family and to pay taxes and thus help the next person who might be homeless.
In our current economic climate, we probably do not need to mention how many more folks might become homeless. But if we did, and if we agree with the pundits who recommend programs to help Main Street as well as Wall Street, then perhaps Mr. Jarry might consider the funding of CHIP as a citizen bailout of the men he sees wandering around downtown Clearwater day and night. For CHIP is not just a handout, but truly a program with the potential for paying back the taxpayers who support it.
Art Deegan, Clearwater
Grateful for help from program
I enjoyed reading the two articles on homelessness in the Nov. 30 Clearwater Times section: Putting lives back together and Clearwater tackles need.
I began my stay at CHIP (Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project) on Jan. 31, 2006, and lived there permanently until April 1, 2008. I gained employment on Feb. 6, 2006, with Consumer Energy Solutions Inc., and I remain employed with that same Clearwater employer.
I moved into my own apartment on April 1, 2008, and still live there. Over the past year, I have made donations to CHIP and other local charitable causes. Besides supporting our local economy, I paid more than $3,900 in federal taxes for tax year 2007, and I will pay more than that for tax year 2008.
CHIP and similar programs are a good investment for improving our quality of life here in Clearwater and Pinellas County. I agree with Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein, when he said, "But two issues that have to be resolved are the need for additional bed space and an identified continuous source of funding to sustain the programs."
At this wonderful time of year, I encourage you to make a donation of your time or money to CHIP or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. These two organizations fed, clothed and provided me shelter in my time of need. Without their support, and my employer's support, I would not be where I am today — happy and grateful.
Christopher Eckhardt, Clearwater
Re: Ordinance banning ball games in parks goes too far, Diane Steinle column, Nov. 30
Don't take fun out of parks, beaches
I was quite taken aback by Clearwater's draconian rules and regulations mentioned in Diane Steinle's Sunday column. Banning innocent activities (in parks and on beaches) such as throwing a ball and tossing a Frisbee are really stretching the meaning of "potentially dangerous games." Imagine, not even being able to throw a Nerf ball, which wouldn't even hurt a fly.
Maybe the Clearwater city officials could let down their hair a little bit and ease some of the restrictions. I would also suggest that they watch some of the old 1960s "beach party" movies. Maybe then, the city officials would understand the good old-fashioned fun that goes along with a nice relaxing day at the beach.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater