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Facility for Poor in Business District Opposed

December 15, 1985|KENNETH J. FANUCCHI | Times Staff Writer

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will attempt to convince Chip-In, a new group formed to aid the homeless, that a hotel for the poor should not be located in the business district.

Leaders of the two groups will meet Monday in the first of two meetings scheduled to resolve a conflict over a meals program on Hollywood Boulevard and the proposed purchase of a hotel for the homeless in the business district.

Bill Welsh, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said programs to aid the homeless in Hollywood are laudatory but should not be "located so conspicuously" near the business district.

He referred to an evening meals program organized by Chip-In and conducted weeknights by the Salvation Army at 5941 Hollywood Blvd. and a proposed location of a shelter for the homeless near Santa Monica Boulevard and Vine Street.

Why 'So Conspicuous'

"Why must they be so conspicuous in their otherwise laudatory efforts," Welsh said. "In Los Angeles, they do not feed the homeless on Flower Street or Broadway. They serve the meals on Main Street.

"This is not to say that there is not a homeless problem in Hollywood. I see it every day, and it is a terrible tragedy. We want to be supportive of Chip-In's programs if only the organization could understand our concerns about panhandling on Hollywood Boulevard."

Rabbi Gilbert Kollin of Temple Beth-El in Hollywood, president of Chip-In, said there is no reason why his group and the chamber cannot reach an agreement on homeless policy.

He said there is no necessary conflict between the aims of the organizations.

"We can understand the goals of the Chamber of Commerce," he said. "Chamber members want to polish the image of the community and improve their businesses. We want to do the same thing, by getting the homeless people off the streets, get them clothed, fed and sheltered so that they can make a positive contribution to the community.

Joint Effort Urged

"The last thing we want is to alienate the business community. We are searching for a joint effort in which the interests of both groups can be satisfied. We are approaching the meetings on a positive note."

He said Chip-In's efforts to acquire the hotel are in a "very preliminary stage. We have made an offer; we have not yet received a reply from the owners."

Kollin declined either to identify the property or the amount of money in the group's offer. He said the facility, if acquired, will be run by Volunteers of America, a group with a history of operating housing for the indigent.

"We are merely the organizing agency," Kollin said. "The whole point of Chip-In is to activate other agencies into doing the job." Chip-In, he said, is made up of 40 Hollywood churches and social service agencies.

An apparently long-simmering dispute between Chip-In and the chamber over aid to Hollywood's homeless surfaced last month when the Hollywood Christmas Parade committee of the chamber rejected Chip-In's application to sponsor a float in the parade Dec. 1.

Reason Disputed

The two groups disagreed over the reason for rejection. Committee sources said the application was turned down because the group failed to meet parade qualifications, but leaders of Chip-In maintained a dispute over its programs for the homeless was the unstated reason.

Welsh expressed confidence that the two groups could reach an agreement for Chip-In's participation in the parade next year. "The dispute stemmed from a misunderstanding," he said. "We will explain our rules so that they can participate next year."

And while Welsh expressed himself as "hopeful" that the groups can work out an agreement on Chip-In's programs for the homeless, he acknowledged that the issue is difficult to resolve.

He said the meetings Monday and at an undesignated date in January will be closed to the public so that the groups can iron out their differences in private.

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