Monday, November 16, 2009

Schools can fill the gap

The following was published in the "My Oregon" public blog "Letters to the Editor" by on May 11, 2009. See here.

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Schools can fill the gap

Without delay, every public school board in America should call an emergency meeting to assess what the current homelessness problem is in its school district. The districts should then make immediate plans to open select middle school and/or high school buildings in their districts during the coming summer months to serve as an emergency shelter for the homeless families in their community. The opened buildings should include the school cafeteria and the school locker rooms. Also, in addition to the rooms opened to serve as makeshift living quarters, select rooms equipped with Internet-accessed computers should be opened to serve as classrooms to teach computer skills to the people being sheltered.

Though the intent should be to fill a very temporary need, contingency plans should be made to allow for the continued use of some public school facilities as homeless shelters during the next school year. Very importantly, the public schools should be used to shelter only families and only those families who have been established residents of the local community.

Those with relatives who can shelter them in another community should be encouraged to relocate, and that encouragement should include one-way bus fare. Those being sheltered should be given free public transit passes, free on-site child daycare, and free family medical screening. We should live the Golden Rule.