There have been more than a few killings, and other crimes, committed against the Homeless in Ft. Lauderdale. And, no doubt, that is going on where you live, as well. Recently, Michael Mayo, a Columnist with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, joined a group of Professionals to Sleep-Out. As noted in his column, however, they had a Police Cruiser nearby, plus snacks and water. (Similar Sleep-Outs were held in a number of other cities around the Country.)
Now, Ft. Lauderdale is quite mild; however, it would certainly not be the same in most other parts of the Country. His column, “Night on pavement shows solidarity with homeless”, recounts his experience in today’s newspaper. Regardless of the title, if you read the linked column, he certainly knows enough to point-out the various safeguards that the Professionals he joined had not to be in a dangerous situation. And…they knew that they had homes and beds to go back to.
I believe that the Homeless are one element of our society that Local Governments prefer not to advertise. When I worked in Miami, two of the three main charities that gave aid to the Homeless were represented in our Kiwanis club, the Salvation Army and the Miami Rescue Mission. Additionally, I got to know the Catholic Brother (of the Good Shepherd) who ran the third, Camillus House. Of the three, only the Salvation Army received (at least at that time) United Way support.
Brother Paul, the Director of Camillus House was my guess at a Kiwanis luncheon, where he agreed to speak. Before he spoke, I asked him whether his Charity receives support from Corporations. He said that he had an appointment with the Lady who ran the Foundation of the Bank that I worked for, the largest in Florida, at the time. He said, however, that the Cook got drunk on the day of the meeting; so, he had to cook.
When I asked the Director of our Bank’s Foundation why it didn’t contribute to the charities that help the Homeless, she said that most of the Foundation’s contributions go to United Way. The Rescue Mission and Camillus House didn’t have the manpower, they told me, to complete the paperwork that United Way requires. Also, if you designate a Non-United Way Charity in your U/W contribution (perhaps through work), United Way will still take six percent (or so) of your contribution for it’s “efforts”.
So, if you feel that you would like to help the Homeless, identify those Charities–or any others of your preference–in your community that are reputable and not receiving Corporate Aid. When our Daughter was quite young, she and I took some toys that she had outgrown and household supplies to the Rescue Mission’s location for Battered Women. I firmly believe that it was a positive feel-good moment for her. Seek the small charities out to help, and have your own feel-good moment.