Thursday, February 08, 2007

"... such a primitive shelter
in such a luxurious county"

Palm Beach County is in denial when it comes to the problem of homelessness, the head of the National Coalition for the Homeless said, testifying in the civil trial between Westgate Tabernacle Church and the county.

The night before he took the stand, Michael Stoops visited Westgate. What he found, he reported to jurors, was both awful and wonderful. He saw at least 100 people crammed among the pews sleeping on the church's trampled floor because "they don't have anywhere to go."

"I've never seen such a primitive shelter in such a luxurious county," he said.

Stoops was called to the stand to rebut the county's assertion that it does well by the homeless, providing adequate shelter and services. He dismissed the county's homeless assessment center.

"I've been told there's a 12-person HAC (homeless assessment center), which would be the smallest HAC in the country," Stoops said.

He testified he believes there are no true emergency beds in Palm Beach County.

Read the Palm Beach Post story here. And check out Howard Goodman's column about the folks in the courtroom audience.


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