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Olympics' Surplus Could Be Used to Help the Homeless

December 22, 1985

If it " 'Tis the Season to be Jolly," why don't we make it so by giving the homeless men, women and children of Orange County a sporting chance, using a portion of those excess millions left over from the great Olympics?

Then we could be as proud of our humanity as of our muscles and competitive spirit.

Each community that has homeless could have aesthetically designed buildings with a gymnasium, supervised sleeping quarters, toilets, showers, dining room, kitchen and community room.

The government could speed these good citizens into private quarters by means of retraining programs and adequate social services.

To my surprise, when participating in an interview program last spring and summer, most of the homeless I interviewed were neither mentally ill, mentally retarded nor outsiders. Most had lived in this county for over 10 years.

Needless to say, the mentally ill and the mentally retarded need special services that any self-respecting community must feel ashamed not to provide when it has the means to do so.

One other advantage to this Christmas thought is the prevention of a lawsuit against Orange County for failure to provide food and shelter, such as was waged and won by the New York lawyer Robert Hayes.

There are sure to be public service lawyers who will seize upon this idea, point out that we are one of the richest counties in the country and hold us up to public ridicule.

If added funds are necessary, we could easily set aside a portion of every fund-raising operation. Let us lose no time as it is cold out there on the ground during these winter months, even in California.

SYLVIA EASTON

Irvine

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