Monday, January 30, 2012

Donation Request For New Homeless Shelter And Soup Kitchen In Downtown Oklahoma City Oklahoma

Donations Request For A New Homeless Shelter And Soup Kitchen In Downtown Oklahoma City

January 30, 2012

Dear Sirs,

I am writing you to make a request for financial help.  Oklahoma City needs a new homeless shelter and a soup kitchen, to be set up in the downtown area. 

The people need a shelter that will, in time and with sufficient financing, be able to offer skills training and housing, without forcing them into a religious program.  

At this time the major shelter provider in Oklahoma City, called "City Rescue Mission",  requires the residents who stay after thirty days to participate in a religious program called "Bridge to Life".  Reports have come from the Bridge to Life about rape and beatings and possible murder.  Those who haven't found work or schooling in thirty days after they get into the City Rescue Mission, and who do not choose BTL will be expected to leave the shelter to fend for themselves on the street.  There are a few smaller shelters in the city, but beds are not easily available there and cannot be relied on to cover for those who have been turned out of the Mission

A person who chooses not to participate in the religious cult called "Bridge To Life" ends up in a very frightening situation on the streets of Oklahoma City.  The city itself has become increasingly belligerent against homeless people, and many places that those on the street traditionally have relied on for temporary shelter during rain storms and the cold are shutting their doors on these people, so there is a continual scramble during a rain, and increasing dread about how bad it is going to be for them.  I have seen people waiting in the doorway of a garage that the homeless would go to when it rained, knowing that the homeless would show up, in order to turn them away from this last refuge from the rain and cold.  This is how ugly the place is becoming.  I have been turned out of the Metro Bus Station during a rain storm, because I was considered to be loitering.  I have seen a man in a wheelchair be turned out of the Greyhound Bus Station for that very reason, during a hard rainstorm, as he had ducked inside to stay dry.  They actually called the police on this man, because he didn't want to leave.  The homeless have nowhere to go, and at the same time are finding that the places they had believed were safe refuges are becoming illegal.

I was homeless for four and one-half months in Oklahoma City, because I didn't want to join the Bridge To Life cult. During my stay on the Oklahoma City streets I slept under a bridge, under a highway overpass, in an alley, in a bus stop, a parking garage, and in an abandoned lot.  I have been chased out of places for no reason except that somebody didn't want the homeless to have refuge there, most notably during inclement weather.  I have seen what must have been fake police officers with fake badges tell us that we were being illegal when we were not, enforcing laws that don't exist.  On one day the Oklahoma City Police brought us food and gave us approval for staying in a bus shelter at night, and then shortly after this a man dressed as a police officer told us we had to leave, as that was city property and we were illegal.  This man used a wrong term for city property, which clued me in on the likelihood  that this was not a real cop.  I was told to leave the Metro Bus Terminal on the pretext that I was breaking rule just for sitting there without a bus pass, when I was not.  I believe this man was also a fake.

When I was staying at the City Rescue Mission I saw abuses, sleep deprivation, false accusations.  I saw a woman with bruises from a beating, that she presumably received as punishment for helping an outsider, a person who was not in compliance with the Bridge to Life program and beliefs.  I also saw people in the social services positions refuse to help the people with the programs that had been set up.

 I have watched the community increasingly turn its back on the homeless.  Instead of starting a new shelter for sleeping, something that is desperately needed, millions of dollars were spent on the construction of a day shelter that is difficult for many to get to.  This new day shelter sits at a good distance from the downtown area where most or all of the homeless will camp at night.  For many of the homeless, just the walk to the new day shelter is dangerous, especially to get there for the 6:30 a.m. breakfast.  For most people, a bus pass is necessary to get out to the new shelter, and bus passes are difficult to get, especially on the constant continuing basis that would be required to attend the meal program there.  A viable breakfast program that had been ongoing in the downtown area, and a food offering that many had grown to depend on for much of their daily rations, was transferred over to the new day shelter, leaving the homeless of downtown with no breakfast.  This day shelter is closed weekends.

At this time the homeless in Oklahoma City are being supported by small church groups, whose outreach vehicles will show up at different times and days of the week at different locations.  People have to walk a good distance different times of the day to get meals.  There is not a consistent meal offering of any quality through the week, and many times the only offering for the people  is a bag lunch with a peanut butter sandwich and water.

The homeless are heading towards a catastrophe in Oklahoma City if something isn't done to address the problem.  At this time responsibility for the issue has fallen into the hands of a very paralyzed city government and a dangerously apathetic shelter administration called The Homeless Alliance.  Nobody is addressing the needs of the homeless in Oklahoma City in an adequate manner.

The people who have been forced onto the streets need a safe place away from the cold and the rain, where they can be helped to move to self-empowerment and housing.  A low-barrier shelter, meaning a shelter that has minimal requirements for staying there, including length of time they are there, is the most essential need for these people.  I am hoping that this minimal beginning can be grown into a provider of training, job placement, self-employment skills, and a housing provider for these people. Why administrators in Oklahoma City do not see this remains a mystery.

I have included here in an attachment an outline of my ideas for growing up a shelter and a soup kitchen from simple beginnings to a more developed design.  I am basing my ideas primarily on personal experiences with a low barrier shelter in Portland Maine. I believe that due to my own as a homeless person I have appropriate ideas about how to start up a homeless.

The streets of Oklahoma City are a sad place, and they are very dangerous and becoming increasingly so.  People are facing an ethnic cleansing if this isn't turned around.  They deserve proper treatment in a safe and clean environment.   They deserve daily meals, and they deserve a real opportunity to get on their feet.

 Your financial contributions to this project would be an excellent gift for these people. 

Also needed are amenities for the shelter and the soup kitchen.  Included in this would be food donations, coffee; mats for sleeping, sleeping bags, tents, towels, blankets, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, soap, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo; food preparation and serving utensils such as pots and pans, plates, forks, knives and spoons, bowls, cups and mugs; peanut butter, bread, flour, canned meats and vegetables; fresh meats and produce.  If you have big kitchen and shelter supplies these also would be appreciated, such as a stove and oven, refrigerators and freezers, and washing machines and plumbing and sanitation set-ups.

The offices that are responsible for the homeless in Oklahoma City have proven to be ineffectual.  The people who have shown real compassion are these churches and ministries I am listing in the letter.  I am requesting that all contributions for this project go to the ministry and church of your choosing out of the list below.  I am including addresses, emails, telephone numbers, and web pages for these ministries.

With your generous contributions the churches can purchase an empty lot or an abandoned building for this purpose, and get started at least a minimal bag lunch program with adequate protein and nutrition.  This project could then be allowed to grow into an excellent provider of services for the homeless of Oklahoma City.

Thank-you for your time and compassion for the homeless.  This crisis can be resolved with appropriate and humane measures.


Susan F. Smith

During my stay in Oklahoma City as a person on the streets, I found that there were a small number of churches and ministries that were handling a good amount of the food and clothing offerings.  Below I am giving you some information about the ministries I became familiar with.  I would like to set up these churches to be the recipients of all donations.  These churches will be encouraged to work together to establish the new shelter and new soup kitchen in the downtown area.

The First Indian Church of the Nazarene is located on S.W. 5th and Lee in Oklahoma City.  This is a tiny Church, an old white frame building, set inside a large grassy front parking lot.  This little church offers its outdoor space and its sanctuary and its kitchen to a few congregations that provide religious services and then a meal.  The meals are sometimes very good, others are adequate, and enough to serve everyone who attends, with opportunity for seconds.  The meals are normally crowded, and a good number of people just wait outside the sanctuary and the building until the service is over, to line up and get a free meal.  The church is old and worn out and tiny.  The kitchen is inadequate for the amount of people who come in tor a meal.  The back of the church is unkempt.  I don't know the names of the congregations who serve the ongoing meals through the week.  What strikes me about the church is its devotion to serving the poor, in spite of the apparent hardships.  It is such a poor humble church, but it offers its space and facilities in such a generous way.  It needs a larger and newer building, and more resources for feeding and taking care of the poor and hungry of the city.

First Indian Church Of The Nazarene
615 S. Lee,                                                                                                                                      Oklahoma City, OK 73109

The First Baptist Church of Bethany comes to the parking lot of the First Indian Church each Monday at around 6:30 p.m.  They will bring in around one or two vans, one pick-up, and a few other support vehicles with volunteers.  This is quite an event for the homeless.  At one van the women line up at the side, and the men line up at another van if it is available.  If it is not, they line up at the back of the same grey van.  There will be clothes sorted out by size, in shelves according to category, baskets of sundries, socks, baskets of shoes.  Volunteers sit in the van and will hand people items requested by size and category, one each, and will put everything into a shopping bag.  The clothes go up to extra-large sizes.  At seven o’clock people can come back to the van for a new blanket while they last.  The pick-up truck brings in a large plastic canister filled with homemade soup, sometimes barbecue pork for sandwiches or something else hot, containers of Kool Aid, bottles of water, and bag lunches with a peanut butter sandwich, chips, juice and some cookies.  It's a picnic every Monday evening, and people sit around eating their soup, with their bags of clothes, and go back to the truck for seconds and thirds.  Volunteers walk around helping to pick up trash, and to bring extra food to the people.  The church has been doing a charity offering since the late fifties, according to a sign on their van.  Their offering is generous and kind and ongoing.  People who attend look forward to going down there on Mondays.  They probably serve around 100 - 150 people.

First Baptist Church of Bethany  
3800 N. Mueller                                                                                                  Bethany, OK 73008

In both of these ministries there is no religious requirement.  The First Indian Church does a service, but no one is required to attend in order to have a meal, nor is there any prayer in the kitchen area before the meal.  The First Baptist Church does nothing religious.  They just show up in their vans and truck and give things away, with much love and good cheer.

The third ministry I want to mention is, I believe, Summit Methodist Church of Edmond. I am not exactly sure if it is this or Skyline Urban Ministries.  This ministry shows up every Sunday morning at around 9:00 a.m., and brings in a great food offering for maybe 200 people who show up at the parking lot behind the Sonic Drive-In, one block over from the City Rescue Mission on
Classen Boulevard
.  This ministry mainly picks up leftovers from Chick Filet, and brings in salads with chicken, chicken wraps, cole slaw and fruit salad and yogurt, coffee and beverages.  This ministry brings in tables and chairs for people to sit.  When the food is available, people are allowed to go back for seconds and thirds after the line has gone down the first time.  This ministry was making a similar offering as that of the First Baptist, with clothes and sundries, but something happened and they were forced to cut out this part of their program.  Before this happened, this ministry actually took orders and made purchases of items people needed, and would get them shoes in special sizes, back pack, and luggage carts, possible bought with money out of these peoples’ own pocketbooks.  This has become a very popular event for the homeless and the poor.  This church’s offering has been quite generous and heartfelt.  It's probable that if they could, they would start up with the clothing and sundries again.  This ministry has a short prayer before the brunch begins, although no religious attendance is required.

Summit United Methodist Church, Edmond 
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73120-6423
Allen Buck - (405)431-9912

The Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

The Church of the Harvest shows up on Friday evenings in the same parking lot as the Summit Church.  They normally bring in coffee, turkey and cheese sandwiches, some kind of sweets or cookies, water and clean socks.  Occasionally they will bring in other sundries in limited amounts.  They will probably serve around a hundred people each Friday.  This ministry does not require any service or prayer.  They just show up to hand out food and water and socks.  They are a younger group, friendly and happy to be helping.

Church of the Harvest
P.O. Box
Oklahoma City OK 73156

(405) 478-7373

I want to add here, concerning these ministries, that I have noticed what appears to be a high security issue surrounding their arrivals each week.  It appears that their work requires caravans for protection against the belligerence that has set up in that city.  This makes these ministries even more heroic, to be taking such risks to help the poor.  It isn't very obvious, but you can see people go by in their cars checking things out around the area before the caravans come in with their offerings.

One C :13 (Referring to First Corinthians Chapter Thirteen) is a small ministry, I believe run primarily by a man named Rick - I don't know his last name.  Rick drives a white pick-up truck, and shows up by the Metro bus station every Saturday at 7:00 a.m., with donuts, coffee, sausage biscuits, water, and sometimes sundries.  Usually this small ministry will serve around 50 – 70 people who will be waiting for the truck to arrive.  There is usually another car that accompanies Rick with volunteers who help set up.  I believe Rick pays for the whole operation out of his own pocket.  He will lead a prayer before serving the food, and he gives a little sermon, around five minutes.  You are not required to be there during the prayer or the sermon to receive the food and sundries.

One C:13 Ministry
(no postal address, no phone number)

St.  Joseph's Old Cathedral has recently started on a bag lunch program.  Three days a week a nun hands out the bag lunches to people lined up in the breezeway.  The numbers were low when I was there, maybe 30 people got bag lunches.  If you want a bus pass, the church sometimes will give you one, after taking down your name and after asking you what you need it for. Bus passes are not easy for anyone to acquire, and it is difficult for anyone to hand them out freely or on a continuous basis.  The nuns ran out of the bus passes when I was there but they continue to hand out the bag lunches three days a week.  The lunches consist of peanut butter, water, and maybe a piece of fruit or a peanut butter cracker package. 

307 N.W. 4th Street
Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 235-4565

Then there is Skyline Urban Ministries.  I am not sure exactly where they fit in.  They have been central to the street offerings for a long time, and have a food pantry and provide other services to the poor and street people.  I believe they do a meal one Sunday a month in the same parking lot as Summit and Church of the Harvest.  The offering is very good, with lots of hot dogs and clothing.  I am not as familiar with this ministry, as I did not participate as much with them  One time they were there they had a five minute sermon, although the last time I went there was no sermon.  You are not required to be there for the sermon in order to get food.

Skyline Urban Ministry
701 N.W. 8th Street
Oklahoma City OK 73102

(405) 236-5212

These are the churches that I remember as being real and sincere providers of aid to the poor.

Proposal For A Homeless Shelter And Soup Kitchen In Downtown Oklahoma City

January 30, 2012
Dear Sirs, 
I am offering a proposal  for starting a new homeless shelter and food relief agency in the downtown area of Oklahoma City.  
Currently Oklahoma City has no viable offering as a homeless shelter for women, and insufficient shelters for men.  Many people are living on the streets of this city just as I have been, for no good reason.  It has nothing to do with mental illness or drugs.  It has to do with the fact that there is no shelter in this city where a person can settle well enough to start getting on their feet.  It doesn’t exist here.   The only rationale given is that these people stuck out on the streets should be looking for work and getting money to get into housing.  This is really not reasonable at all for someone who is living in alley ways and hiding behind trees or inside abandoned buildings to sleep at night.
My proposal here is based on the idea that a new relief operation in the downtown area could be set up initially with minimal investment.  After the first set up has been established as workable and effective, it could be grown and developed into a more substantial offering to aid the homeless in getting off the streets permanently and appropriately.  We can grow up the program from two initial offerings: setting up space for the people in the street to sleep in safety and out of the rain, and a daily bag lunch program with sufficient protein, such as one or two ham and cheese sandwiches, come fruit and chips.  Hopefully with the shelter we could immediately include toilet facilities and sinks, something which is desperately needed in this area.
The homeless need a place where they can feel safe to sleep every night, without the threat of arrest or being awakened and being run off.   They also need a place to sleep where they will not be rained on, or freeze to death
I am aware of at least two strategies cities have taken to set up a homeless shelter:  First, the City of Portland, Maine, passed an ordinance that mandated that everyone have a place to sleep for the night.  The reason was due to the horrible conditions the homeless found themselves in that area during the winter.  This one law enabled the community to invest in a shelter system that permitted at all times everyone to stay safely.  This also enabled the city and shelter administration to search for increased funding to support this very humane ordinance.   The second strategy was for another city to purchase an abandoned building to help put together a much needed shelter.  I have no doubt this has happened in a number of cities across this country.  It just hasn’t happened here yet, and it is much needed.  
This is the minimal plan that I am presenting to potential donors at this time.  We need a safe place to sleep, to get off the streets, and we need food every day from a place we can count on everyday to provide it.  Then we also need the money for the food, and second, we will need cash for postage and paper for official solicitations for donations and funding .   Transportation will need to be secured early on to bring in food donations from local vendors such as restaurants and supermarkets.
Below I would like to outline to you my plans for developing these first two goals for the homeless shelter and food relief.  This outline is based on the idea that we begin the program with the most minimum requirements for both food and shelter, and then work to increase from that point, until an optimum facility is established.

·         Space must be secured for people to come in to sleep safely at night.  Hopefully we can secure a building or space where people can move inside for the inclement weather and the winter months.·    As the space for sleeping is secured, we will also need toilets and sinks.  This would be a minimal requirement.  At the very least we need to secure some kind of port o san facility.
·         Once toilets are secured, we will need toilet paper, and when sinks are secured, we will need soap and paper towels or some manner for drying hands.
·         Also, as it should be anticipated, we will need some kind of security in this kind of facility, and I will work to find volunteers from the Oklahoma City Police Department or the U.S. Military who would like to engage in community service to monitor the place.   We will also immediately set up a back up security system with volunteers who can work with the Oklahoma City Police Department to learn required procedure for handling difficult situations. 
·         There should be set up very quickly a monitoring system to guard against weapons and drugs or alcohol of any kind.
·         There must be set up very quickly a second space for those who come in intoxicated or out of sorts with medications.  I want a shelter that allows for those who are in an over-medicated state, but there needs to be a separate area for them, probably with greater monitoring, so they will not cause any disturbance for the rest of the clients.
·         If we can secure for a prolonged and permanent basis an inside space, we will need to secure heating and ventilation, and fans for the summer.
·         From the very start we will need cleaning supplies and water sources for mopping and hosing the floor, and washing the walls.
·         We will also need to secure from the beginning tools for simple repairs, such as screwdrivers and hammers, paint, brushes.
·         Active solicitations will begin immediately to help secure donations of blankets, sheets, towels, and hygiene supplies for the clients. 
·         A serious and involved solicitation program for donations from the community will get started as soon as we can secure phones, resources for mailing letters, and finally computers.  The program will include targeting all institutions and businesses in the community who may want to relinquish their used linens and blankets, with phone calls and letters and visits; solicitations to stores handling bedding supplies, for donations of new or unsellable or overstocked items; possible purchases of items with grant money.
·         As funding permits, we will begin to improve the space by adding shower facilities, and improving if necessary what sanitation has been provided.
·         At the same time when showers are made available we will also work to secure laundry facilities, both for the clients, as well as for the shelter, to wash the shelter blankets, sheets, and towels.
·         When funding permits, we can begin to solicit or use funding for mats to sleep on.
·         At the time when the improvements are to begin, we can also begin for an appropriate number of clients training in the skills of maintenance and construction, such as painting, plumbing, carpentry, and electrical installation, whatever is required for the work to improve the shelter.  We could develop an apprenticeship program moving from basic training as volunteers, to paid labor for the work needed for the shelter.   The pay could adjust according to the increased skills.
·         If this is successful, and when funding permits, we will move on to more training in a similar manner, from volunteer and initial training to paid labor in skills to take to the marketplace or to continue in the shelter.  Included in these skills will be sewing for needed clothing items for the residents, as well as other sewing skills, cooking, automotive, typing, computers, maid and janitorial.  This should suffice.  I have plans for several more training programs, once funding permits. 
·         The sewing program will include initially basic sewing skills and practice time, and then the students will move into sewing projects for the shelter residents in need.  The first goal will be warm coats for those who may not find appropriate sizes in donation clothing closets.  Other skills to be used in the shelter will be repairs of damaged clothes, alterations and patching; eventually we may want to move into sewing easy sleeping bags and backpacks for needy residents.
·         If the residents wish to continue in learning sewing skills I am hoping to start training programs in clothing design and construction, doll making and quilting.
·         If funding permits, we will move into various crafts and arts training for those who wish to participate.  These crafts, such as pottery and ceramics, fabric arts, and printmaking, and drawing and painting, will be developed with entrepreneurial skills such as marketing and sales, in order to move certain of the residents to self-employment as artisans and craftsmen.  “If you can’t find work, then employ yourself”.
·         Another method of self-employment that will be developed will be contract labor, which could reach into computer and secretarial, gardening and lawn maintenance, auto mechanics.
·         Funds from art shows instigated by the shelter and soup kitchen, with a percentage going to the artist, and another going to the shelter, will be beneficial for everyone.
·         We will start slow and with very necessary skills for the maintenance of the shelter, and for training for the marketplace, and build with more involved skill training to bring to the community and marketplace.  Included in this would be computer programming, law enforcement, truck driving,  paralegal, increased machine and automotive, increased carpentry, masonry, and medical support such as phlebotomy, x-ray tech, nursing assistant, paramedical, and LPN, eventually RN.
·         As the funding permits, we will develop resources to search for scholarships and grants for schooling for the residents.
·         At some point we will include a medical facility, and an active job search and placement program.
·         If and when funding permits, the shelter will expand into SROs and eventually affordable housing units to house residents who are able and desiring to move on.

Soup Kitchen
·         Minimal requirements for a soup kitchen would be a bag lunch program, consisting of ham and cheese sandwiches, Vienna sausages, fruit, water, chips and a cookie, sufficient hopefully to sustain a person through the day if necessary with protein and certain vitamins.  There may be a second peanut butter sandwich for back-up.
·         Transportation of some sort must be provided to establish and secure the bag lunch program.  Initial funding may simply need to provide for bus trips to and from discount stores for purchase of food and donations.  Eventually, some kind of transportation should be found through a search for volunteers from the existing charities in the area, or, if funding allows it, through renting or purchasing a car or truck.  A donation of an automobile also would be very appreciated.
·         Once the bag lunch program is set up and secured, we will try to secure increased storage facilities, including refrigerators and freezers for food, and a clean dry storage space.  This could be located initially in the same space as the shelter.
·         Eventually we will need to relocate the soup kitchen.  From the beginning, even with this letter, a search for a volunteer offering of a kitchen and storage space such as in a church or high school will be underway.
·         Once cooking and storage facilities are secured, when funding permits, space for dining will be sought out from churches and schools. 
·         As soon as space is secured, tables and chairs, eating utensils and plates, salt and pepper shakers for the dining room will be found for a sit down dining, and serving of hot foods.
·         As soon as possible, after a dining area, a kitchen and storage are secured, and funding is available, we will engage in an active search for food suppliers, both raw materials and already prepared, from all of the following:  solicitations for leftovers and donations from local restaurants, diners, fast foods; solicitations from all food merchants such as grocery stores, discount houses such as Walmart and Sam’s;  setting up donation boxes in all places willing to participate in food drive; solicitations from churches and other charities.
·         When funding is available, extra food may be purchased when necessary.
·         When the soup kitchen is officially registered as a not for profit facility, we can also request offerings from Government surplus supplies.
·         We will also participate in food drives at various times of the year.  Included in the food drives will be press releases, posters, talks to clubs and churches, and organizations.
·          We will enlist volunteers to work in the kitchen primarily from the residents, who may then participate in an on the job training program in cooking, which will lead to paid labor, just as with the building maintenance program.  Volunteers from the community will be enlisted secondarily, as they choose.
·         Eventually I want to see the soup kitchen expand into a three meals per day/ seven days per week, 365 days per year program, with hot foods available hopefully at all meals.
·         I have just read about one expansion of a soup kitchen into a cooking school/restaurant business, which allows the graduates to earn money in the restaurant.  This is a possibility also.

Proposed Regulations For The Shelter And Soup Kitchen

I have gleaned a good portion of these regulations from the shelter system where I stayed in Portland, Maine.  I believe that the system there was the best possible, outside of the flaws of the lack of skills training for many of the residents, and the lack of an active job search and job placement program.  This can be easily remedied, to make this proposed shelter and soup kitchen, in their fulfillment, to be the best imaginable.

·         The shelter will be considered as low barrier, meaning there will be very few requirements for staying there, and there will be no time limit on the stay.  It has been reported that this is considered to be the best option for a homeless shelter.
·         There will be no drinking or drug use on the premises, and there will be zero tolerance for the possession of drugs or alcohol.
·         If someone comes in drunk or on drugs, they will be put in a separate space that will be set up for this purpose.
·         After three times if a person is caught drunk on the premises, they will be made to have a breathalyzer test every time they come into the facility, for at least a year.  If they fail the test, they will be forced to stay in the drunk tank.
·         If a person starts trouble such as a fight, they are out of the facility for at least one year.
·         There will be zero tolerance for weapons.  Personal weapons are to be stored with the guards, to be returned when the resident plans to leave the facility.  We will try very hard to secure very professional policing at the shelter.
·         Initially, at the time when the resources are very limited for the shelter, we will have a check-in at 5:00 p.m., and wake-up will be at 7:00 a.m. for cleaning and straightening up.
·         The soup kitchen hours, when a full soup kitchen has been set up, will be 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. – 7:30.  Everyone will be served at the same time in the same place.   Initially, before the soup kitchen is officially set-up, we will be handing out bag lunches throughout the day, until we run out.  We may have a sign-up for the bag lunches until mid-afternoon, then if there is anything left, we can hand out seconds.  We may have a later hand-out for those who can’t make it that early.
·         Until we have a day center, there will be an issue with cleaning up during the day.  I am hoping that as this will be from the start our own space, the residents should be permitted to stay on the premises all day, except for the need to relocate for the purposes of mopping and sweeping.
·         From my own personal experience, I believe that all the residents should be allowed to speak their minds as they choose on the premises.  This is our Constitutional right.  If issues move into a physical confrontation, this will be considered worthy of getting kicked out for a year.  The issue of provocations will be taken into consideration.  Choosing not to provoke in a serious manner will be strongly encouraged by the staff.  These rules may be adjusted to the circumstances.
·         This will be a secular shelter and soup kitchen.  There will be no religious attachment to the facilities.  If people choose, they can pursue their religion on the premises in accordance with any allowance for any group study or get together, religious or not, according to the guidelines of the Federal  Government.
·         People will choose a safe shelter environment due to the need to feel protected.  There has been an issue with people who have a solid income from entitlements, who choose to stay in a homeless shelter and use their money to stay in motels for a few days and get drunk.  Because of this, and because of the inherent need for compassion concerning people’s sense of dangers, this issue will be brought to discussion so to reach an appropriate and humane manner of dealing with the  problem.  As it stands, the shelter will be low barrier, even with people who are getting SSI or SS checks.  This could change if an appropriate, reasonable, and humane manner of re-housing these individuals can be found.
Bylaws For Staff And Volunteers
·         As the organization grows, members of the board will be enlisted with pay.  The pay schedule for all members of the board will be $1,000.oo per month, as it is financially solvent.
·         All aspects of the shelter and the soup kitchen/bag lunch program will be operated by volunteers initially.  When it is financially solvent, key workers will be enlisted as paid employees.  This will include cooks, maintenance, administration and bookkeeping, social services, medical, and instructors.
Your donations are much needed, and will be greatly appreciated.  Thank-you very much.