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Pinellas groups have expertise to help the homeless

Re: Advice on homeless available right here, Diane Steinle column | Nov. 7

Tap local groups to help homeless

Let me begin by saying your column regarding the work done by Otis and Barbara Green and their commitment to the homeless was a masterpiece. My wife, Shirley, and I have been impressed with all of the good works that have been done through their kindness and fortitude in putting forth the good works at the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater. We have rolled up our sleeves and pitched in ourselves on more than one occasion. It is unfortunate that Otis didn't live to see the fruits of his commitment.

There are other such projects going on now. There is CHIP (Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project), which was founded by former Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein, and there is also Project Hope, which the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg founded and runs full time. We have pitched in there as well.

I agree wholeheartedly with you in asking, why did St. Petersburg go to Texas (for a consultant) when we have an abundance of good advisers right here in our own back yard? I am sure that the good people of HEP, CHIP or Project Hope would have been more than willing to step in and monitor and guide the ever-growing problem that homelessness has become.

I am also sure that any one of those projects could have used the funds being expended and done the work that was needed. Were any of them even approached? If not, why not? Would they have been willing to be St. Petersburg's homelessness consultant? I am sure the answer would have been an emphatic yes.

I wonder why, when we have resources available that are willing to pitch in and look for answers, we had to go so far away for help. HEP, CHIP, and Project Hope are right here and they are doing yeoman's duty in this field. Shouldn't the city have gone to them first?

Sometimes we can't even see what we have in our own back yard unless it is pointed out to us and we are led by the hand to find it. Nothing against the Haven for Hope people in Texas. I am sure they do outstanding work, but they are not local. They are not familiar with Pinellas County and its surroundings.

Dan Moran, Clearwater

Re: Advice on homeless available right here, Diane Steinle column | Nov. 7

Agency's work is worthy of praise

Thank you for an insightful article about the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater. They have a wonderful history of working with the many levels of homeless as human beings, not as a problem to be solved or hidden away.

As you pointed out, they have an understanding of the conditions in our area. Their multi-faceted approach acknowledges there is no one face of the homeless and that homelessness should not be treated as a crime, to be ferreted away into an institution with armed guards. The homeless need to be treated as humans that have a variety of problems that need to be acknowledged and addressed.

Kathi Trautwein, Clearwater

Thanks for help after accident

In July I was the victim of a hit-and-run motorcycle accident and was seriously injured. I read the article published in the St. Petersburg Times (Fateful ride was against her careful nature, July 18) and was touched by how many people cared.

I am recovering wonderfully and have even gone back to work. This Thanksgiving brings so much to be thankful for. I would like to thank all who prayed and cared about my recovery. I thank all who called in tips on our suspect. I would like to thank the newspaper for getting our story out. And thank you to all!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Jessica Kinnear, Tarpon Springs

Stranger's action lights up her day

That Friday started out like every other day except for planning my wardrobe around my scheduled bone scan at Mease Countryside Hospital. After the venal injection, I was instructed to return at 3 p.m. for the scan. Having a few hours to kill, I went to the Woodlands Square shopping center. Becoming weary too early to return to Mease, I dragged myself to Eva's Restaurant and found a table for two in a remote corner.

After I ordered, the couple sitting at an adjacent table rose to leave and the young man stopped beside me and placed a $10 bill on my table saying, "I'd like you to be my guest for lunch today."

My reaction was speechless surprise and disbelief, and my embarrassed response was to thank him and share the fact that as I was celebrating my birthday, I would accept his gift in the same spirit in which it was offered, promising that I would "pay it forward."

As a widow for six years, this particular day was the first time I had gone into a restaurant by myself. This young man could not have known what a beautiful gift that lunch was for me, as I felt he was the vessel that brought me loving wishes on my special day from my beloved Lee.

Every day our media are full of horror stories. I wanted to share this true story of a small, meaningful blessing that was delivered to me by a stranger with a huge, caring heart.

Barbara T. Boguslaw, Tarpon Springs

Pinellas groups have expertise to help the homeless 11/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 4:57pm]

    

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