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Group needs volunteers to help end homelessness

Claremont’s Summer to End Homelessness will hold a kickoff meeting Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. in the Grove Room of the Hughes Center.

Members of local churches, “Claremont Elders For the 99%” and other community members have developed this project with the cooperation of the city of Claremont, Occupy Claremont and other citizens.

The project’s core group consists of David Levering, Karl Hilgert, Mary Cooper, Rev. George Silides, Charles Bayer, Deborah McKean, Karen Chapman Lenz, Andrew Mohr and Paul Wood. The purpose of the kickoff meeting is to attract potential volunteers, who will do much of the vital work. The group needs volunteers and financial contributions to make its goals a reality.

The goals and “core principles” of Claremont’s Summer to End Homelessness are:

To provide Claremont’s homeless with more than just temporary measures, e.g., the occasional meal, shower, motel voucher or cash handout. These are lovely gestures but do not alleviate the core problem.

To end homelessness for as many of Claremont’s homeless people as possible.

“Ending homelessness” is defined as securing ongoing, sustainable sources of housing for currently homeless people. The group also seeks to help the Claremont homeless population to obtain food stamps, general relief, medical and psychological examinations, SSI, etc.

The group believes that only the pairing of a homeless person with a committed, volunteer “homeless advocate” has resulted in ending homelessness for that person.

The purpose of the group’s work this summer is to connect each identified homeless person in Claremont with a pair of dedicated, volunteer homeless advocates. The advocates will be trained to guide and support the homeless person through the process of obtaining necessary services, which already exist and, for the most part, can be obtained locally. The ultimate goal of the volunteer advocates will be to get each homeless person into a sustainable source of housing during the 90-day period of the program, which is June 8 through September 8, 2013.

The core team meets each Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 727 Harrison Ave., Claremont.

All those interested in working on this concern are invited to the May 11 meeting.

For more information, contact Mary Cooper, volunteer coordinator, at maryclaremont@aol.com or Paul Wood, project coordinator, paul_f_wood@yahoo.com or by phone at 367-5011.

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