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Book speaks in generalities... How big (or how small) are the portions that are used for the stated purposes? He might keep 99% of the money and his statements would still be true.
By JULIE BROWN
The next time you see a panhandler on the street, instead of handing him or her a few dollars, the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust wants you to hand out a business card.
Not just any business card -- one that gives them the number for the county's homeless hot line, which connects them to people who can assist them with finding shelter and other services.
The trust, a nonprofit agency with a $41 million-a-year budget, launched a campaign Thursday to encourage citizens and businesses to stop giving money to people on the street and instead to give money to the trust.
"Most people don't know that all homeless people don't panhandle, and all panhandlers aren't homeless," said Ron Book, chairman of the trust. He said 100 percent of the money they receive will go toward homeless programs.
- And not all sex offenders are monsters Ron. Boy, you really show your hypocrisy a lot!
A worsening economy, greater unemployment and government cuts have led to a rise in homelessness across the nation. In January, the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust counted 994 people living on the streets, compared to more than 1,300 in 2008. But the number of people living in shelters has risen, from 3,227 in 2008 to 3,339 in January.
- So how's that five year plan on eliminating homelessness working out for you Ron?
But this effort is largely targeted to the general public -- who, when confronted with a panhandler, often want to help but fear the money they shell out isn't being used to help homeless people.
- I personally would not give any money to this Homeless Trust, not while Ron is part of it (See here: Insurance Fraud, and here)
At a news conference, Book unveiled two unique, brightly colored containers into which citizens can drop money -- money that will go toward ending homelessness, he said.
The containers, one a six-foot pyramid-shaped "super meter," the other, a smaller device resembling a parking meter, were designed by world-famous artist Romero Britto. They are bright yellow, with painted flowers.
Book's goal is to have the large pyramid containers placed in malls, stadiums, office buildings and other businesses. The smaller meter-like gadgets will be placed on city streets.
He is hoping business and community leaders come forward to help contribute to the effort; The pyramid containers cost $1,200 to sponsor, and the meters are $1,000 each.
One area of focus for the trust in recent months is homeless convicted sex offenders who have been displaced by strict laws that prohibit them from living within certain distances of schools, playgrounds and other places that children congregate.
Last month, Book announced that the trust had received federal stimulus money, a portion of which will be offered to help sex offenders that have been living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway for several years.
Only a portion of the stimulus money will be contributed toward that cause, while the rest will go toward other homeless programs and services throughout the county.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin (United States Constitution, Bill of Rights)