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Salvation Army In Sarasota Charging The Homeless

Updated on January 19, 2016
A tent belonging to a homeless person.
A tent belonging to a homeless person. | Source

Salvation Army Charging $12 a Night.

I do not usually spend much time researching homeless issues, however, over the course of the past few years I have known several people who have found themselves in the unfortunate position of needing a place to stay. As a result, I tend to hear about the various happenings at the outreach centers around town.

Most of the information I hear is pretty standard, however, when I heard that the Salvation Army was now charging the homeless twelve dollars a night for a place to sleep I was in disbelief. I actually brushed it off as misinformation until I read about it in the paper a couple weeks later. This got me to thinking. I don't imagine too many homeless people can afford $360 a month, thus who can afford it are likely on social security or disability of some sort.

Should the Homeless Pay to Stay at a Shelter?

This is a difficult question to answer, even for myself. I have to admit that I prefer a hand up, as opposed to a hand out approach and find it reasonable to require those in need of services be willing to help themselves whenever possible. I would be alright with the idea of requiring those who are able-bodied to seek work of some sort, perhaps even community service if nothing else is available.

I would only be speculating as to the reasoning behind this new policy, I have heard the city is behind this as a result of their dispute with the county over the county's plans to build a new homeless shelter in the city. As the theory goes, the city can claim there is no reason to build another shelter because the Salvation Army is only at half capacity. However, these are just theories based on the city's known opposition to the county's plans on putting another shelter in the city.

Perhaps the reasoning is simply an attempt to persuade the homeless to move on to another town. One thing is for certain, it was not done in the best interests of helping the homeless.

Is $12 a Night Too Much to Charge the Homeless?

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Is This Simply a Local Matter?

This situation has got me wondering if this is just a Sarasota issue, or if this is happening all across the United States. I know each Salvation Army location has its own rules and policies, so I wonder if other locations across the country are also charging this nightly fee. Either way, I feel we need to speak out on behalf of those who are less fortunate among us.


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 24 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting read. The point of things like homeless shelters is that by that point you are at the bottom and something as essential as a place to stay should be free.

      But the $12 fee is a sign of the times. People are unwilling to support assistance, especially those who are most able, and as a result charitable organizations might be forced to charge a fee.

      They're non profit, but they still have costs. In all, this isn't how it should be, and the whole thing makes me sad.