A Hundred Bucks a Day

The City of Beverly Hills sent out a call for volunteers and donations this week in an effort to help the homeless "as winter approaches."

But, buried at the bottom of the donor form, beneath the requests for socks and blankets, is a suggested adopt-a-family donation that's beyond blingtastic. It says, "$100 provides shelter and a meal voucher for a family for 1 day."

"One day?" you ask, remembering that it wasn't that long ago you saw Sally Struthers talking on cable TV about how, for just pennies a day, you could feed a four year old in Zambia for a month.

Much as we all enjoy ribbing Bevery Hills about its propensity for excess, turns out this isn't a laughing matter. After a bit of checking around, it seems that $100 a day per family is a fairly common cost for big city shelters.

For sure, if there's one industry booming right now, it's the one that serves the homeless population. Trouble is, there's no money in it -- literally. Demand is reportedly up more than 40 percent in the past year at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, but donations are falling short by about eight percent.

An Op-Ed piece in this past Sunday's Los Angeles Times by Teresa DeCrescenzo , the executive director of GLASS Youth and Family Services said a drop in donations is only part of the problem. Remember that state budget crisis?

"No group was spared in the budget slashing," DeCrescenzo wrote, "including children, the homeless, the elderly, the blind and the disabled."

Still, there's something about that number, isn't there? A hundred per family, per day? Really?

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