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  Q: What can a business or individual do to have a positive impact on the homeless population?

BILL TUCKER
Board Chair,
Bayside District Corporation

A: Individuals and businesses seeking to make a positive impact in their area should encourage and support a regional approach to addressing the homeless problem. We are all linked together with the common goal of reducing or solving this problem in a humane manner; however, without the cooperation and support of all the interested parties, the solution will be doomed to failure. It must be addressed in a united fashion.


JIM HONE
Fire Chief,
Santa Monica
Fire Department

A: If you see someone who looks like they need immediate medical help, donít ignore it Ė call 911 and request assistance. Donít enable people to continue life on the streets. Instead of giving handouts, donate food, clothing and money to homeless agencies and food banks. Vote for elected officials or ballot measures that address the regional impact of homelessness. This is a national, state and countywide problem that the City of Santa Monica canít solve alone.

KATHY DODSON
President & CEO,
Santa Monica
Chamber of Commerce

A: The most important thing anyone can do is to help people transition out of homelessness. This is not done by giving handouts, but by working with the many professionals in Santa Monica who dedicate their lives to helping the homeless find jobs (Chrysalis), deal with mental illness (Step Up On Second), provide showers and meals (OPCC) and many others. Donate or volunteer your time Ė a great place to start is the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition at www.westsideshelter.org.

RICHARD BLOOM
Santa Monica
City Councilmember

A: First, educate oneself and get involved in a proactive way. Our reaction to homelessness tends to be visceral. But to achieve results, we have to get past the emotion of the issue and recognize that our collective neglect has allowed homelessness to grow and it is going to take positive collective action to end it. Second, demand that elected officials create regional governance and be held accountable.

LAMONT EWELL
City Manager,
City of Santa Monica

A: Rather than giving handouts, give to local providers who serve the homeless. In addition, everyone needs to support the regional initiatives, including building affordable housing and doing proper discharge planning from hospitals and jails so people are linked to needed services they are entitled to. Get involved.

DAVID MARTIN
Vice Chair,
Bayside District Corporation

A: One thing an individual can do is to support the existing non-profit agencies that assist the homeless with essential items such as shelter, meals and job training. The services provided by these agencies have the potential to give a homeless person an opportunity to improve their current situation, and if more people support these agencies, the agencies can help more people. The other thing is to support the efforts of the City Council and other local officials to work toward a regional based program to help the homeless population.

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