Transitional services can help the homeless become...


November 09, 2001

Transitional services can help the homeless become independent

Shelter Plus Care is designed to provide long-term services to hard-to-serve homeless in need of continued supportive services ("Standing up for those in need," editorial, Oct. 22). As the director of a transitional program that also works with the hard-to-serve population, I appreciate the services it provides.

However, in many cases, with intensive case management and community resources, we are able to assist the men we serve to become independent and productive citizens.

And as funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development is allotted for permanent housing rather than emergency and transitional services, small agencies such as United Ministries and those we serve are put in jeopardy.

Since our program began in 1998, more than 80 men have been served. And the number of men who complete our program and move into permanent housing has steadily increased over the years.

In the first six months of this year, seven men moved into independent, non-subsidized housing. Two of them are attending college, the others are working and all remain drug-free and successful.

Such hard-to-serve individuals can successfully live independently, but not without assistance in learning basic life skills first.

Sheila Helgerson


The writer is executive director of the Earl's Place Transitional Housing Project.

Treasurer mishandled state's pension funds

It is very sad that, as chairman of the pension fund board, Treasurer Richard N. Dixon has disastrously mishandled state employees' future ("State pension system is ranked last among peers," Oct. 30).

His policy of advocating a high level of investment in the stock market has destroyed all the good that former state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein accomplished. Statistics showing that last year's returns ranked last among comparable public retirements with $3.5 billion in stock losses are disgraceful.

It is time for the state legislature to take a close look at how Mr. Dixon is performing his job.

Walter Boyd


Having done her homework, Townsend is ready to govern

It appears from recent articles that The Sun believes the only issue worth discussing in the governor's race is this: Can she be derailed? And your primary sources are those with their own political interests, who are anxious to discuss politics but reluctant to explore issues, achievements and competence ("O'Malley attracts primary spotlight," Nov. 1, and "A party favor for 2002," Oct. 30).

"She" is Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend -- and it seems to me she has done her job so well, as the most active and administratively involved lieutenant governor in state history, that her potential opponents and rivals are getting a greater voice than they deserve.

Ms. Townsend is the only candidate who has approached the race knowing what she wants to do, and has done it with care, thoughtful planning and success.

That's the type of person I want to be my governor. Don't give me a last-minute wanna-be or a poorly armed spectator firing from the sidelines as a legitimate challenge. They don't do their homework.

Roslyn P. Goldner


Baltimore area can provide a rich landscape for learning

In place of out-of-state and foreign field trips, educators can enhance what goes on in the classroom in many ways without leaving the area ("Board seeks comments on overseas field trips," Oct. 25).

A visit to a horse-training farm to study the customs of our English forebears, for instance, could include environmental concerns; it might even inspire a future farmer or veterinarian.

A look at local roads, from mud to macadam, would enable students to see how cities grow and how people and goods have been transported over three centuries.

Beyond our museums and historic sites, Baltimore abounds with show-and-tell sites. Especially now, when students need special knowledge of their world, this city provides a rich landscape.

Zippy Larson

Long Green

`Boondocks' makes sport of what we hold dear ...

Who laughs at "The Boondocks," which is definitely treasonous? Is loving one's country a joke? Is our flag silly (" `Boondocks' provokes anger and admiration," letters, Nov. 3)?

Let's hear from those who agree Aaron McGruder should go visit the Taliban.

They might appreciate his so-called talent. Most of us don't.

Marge Malkie


... and thus reminds us of freedoms we treasure

Reading, but not always agreeing with, "The Boondocks" reminds me why I'm so lucky to live in America.

Nancy Connell

Severna Park

Why do comfortable people become militant extremists?

Michael Hill's article "Reap the whirlwind" (Nov. 4) was very weak. The notion that militant extremists exploit powerless and hopeless people is rather pedestrian.

If Mr. Hill wanted to write something noteworthy, he should have explained why middle- and upper-middle-class people become militant extremists.

That could have explained the Sept. 11 hijackers. They were not poor.

Kevin Brinson


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