Publication Date: Wednesday May 21, 1997

How does the community support the homeless?

Financial support the city of Palo Alto provides:

$26,000 proposed in the 1997-98 budget for three organizations funded through Human Services program: the Alliance for Community Care, American Red Cross homeless programs and Mayview Community Clinic

$40,000 for two sessions of the Homeless Worker Program proposed in this year's budget, with five participants for each 12-week session

$66,900 from federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto and $11,000 for the Emergency Housing Consortium

Services provided by private groups in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area:

The Urban Ministry (853-8672): Downtown Food Closet provides food sacks at All Saints Church; Breaking Bread hot meals program (rotates daily among churches); Hotel de Zink, a shelter program that provides 20 beds (with a maximum three-month stay per person) and rotates among churches each month; "Rolling Estates" Drop-in Center behind the Red Cross (near the University Avenue transit depot) provides hot coffee, bus and shower passes, job listings and mail service (Monday to Friday from 7:30-11:30 a.m.); Palo Alto Community Farm ("Homeless Garden") providing jobs and training in horticulture to homeless people; Field of Dreams gardening and law service employs the homeless; Bank of the Rest payeeship program; casework, job and addiction counseling.

Alliance for Community Care (formerly Miramonte Mental Health Services), 206 California Ave., (617-8340) provides counseling.

Ecumenical Hunger Program, based in East Palo Alto (323-7781), provides food and clothing for families.

Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program at Menlo Park VA (852-3491 or 1-800-848-7254) provides services for veterans only.

Burgess Park Showers provides free showers in the morning, located on Laurel Street south of Ravenswood, a quarter mile from El Camino Real, in Menlo Park.

(Pending) Menlo Park VA regional homeless shelter would provide 52 beds for the homeless. Officials are trying to obtain the last of the $350,000 needed to open the facility; $25,000 is being sought from Palo Alto.

Recommendations of Palo Alto's Homelessness Task Force:

The city should work with the Palo Alto Housing Corporation and others to increase the stock of low-income housing and ensure that unhoused people receive high priority for access to such housing.

Palo Alto should work with neighboring jurisdictions to create a net increase of at least 100 beds for emergency shelter, rehabilitation or transitional housing.

The city should provide an indoor facility in the downtown area for a multi-agency, multi-service center for homeless and other low-income people.

The city should provide accessible public restrooms in the downtown area.

--Peter Gauvin