DIALING FOR DOLORS

WHILE TELEMARKETERS RAISE MONEY FOR A NEW FOOD BANK--AND THEMSELVES--ONE POLITICALLY POWERFUL NEIGHBOR WANTS THE PROJECT SHELVED.

"But then I get a call from Reiter, and it shakes me. It reminds me that no matter how much good you think you're doing, how righteous, there's always someone out there to take you down a peg."

According to a school secretary, Jenkins met with O'Donnell for only ten minutes and doesn't feel she knows him well enough to comment on his plans. "But it is very true that a high number of our students come from high-risk families that rely on things like food banks," the secretary adds.

Even the "few good" agencies have established their food banks and other services in suburban areas, O'Donnell says, "while you and I both know that most of the homeless are on Capitol Hill and downtown."

"He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about," Parvensky counters. Of the hundred or so homeless services agencies in the metro area, he says, "the greatest concentration is in the downtown area."

And O'Donnell admits the food bank isn't NOAH's primary purpose. Food banks "are a bone to toss to the homeless," he says, "a political thing that addresses the effects of homelessness but not the causes." NOAH's food bank is another such bone, he acknowledges, but a necessary one if the organization is going to qualify for nonprofit status, which is pending.

"But we're different from the others because we're going to be out there on the streets, taking care of people," he continues. Money raised by NOAH will be used to purchase property for housing to help people get back on their feet; the group is eyeing a property on Pearl Street between 16th and Colfax, he says. Other projects include establishing programs for job training and financial management skills.

Parvensky agrees that more must be done to get at the roots of homelessness. Toward that end, he says, the coalition has been working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a "continuum of care" to change the underlying causes. Some of those efforts resulted in last week's HUD announcement that Colorado may receive $12.6 million to combat homelessness, "which includes prevention so that people don't become homeless," Parvensky says.

The coalition has no objection to well-meaning organizations that see a need and start programs on their own, Parvensky adds. "Diversity is welcome," he says. "But we've also had a lot of experience with fly-by-night organizations that continue to raise money and never develop the programs they promise. It really hurts the cause because people who contributed feel duped and are hesitant to contribute again."

To which O'Donnell replies, "My doors and my books are open.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Denver Concert Tickets
Loading...