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Board Raise With Many on Streets

August 07, 1988

How can the five Orange County supervisors award themselves a second raise this year, up to almost $66,000, not to mention the benefits, and then give 22 Orange County department heads across-the-board raises?

Meanwhile, up to 10,000 men, women and children, according to reports, wander Orange County streets, parks and abandoned buildings, trying to find someplace to lay their hungry, weary, frightened bodies. They are Orange County's homeless. Almost half of them are children, all out of school because you have to have an address to get an education in Orange County.

The lucky homeless squeeze into a motel where each day is an endurance contest to see whether they're going to get evicted.

If you're on minimum wage, your take-home pay roughly will be $512 a month. A minimum rent would be $425, if you can find one. Want to try to live on what's left? And contrast that with what the supervisors and their 22 department heads take-home each month.

Orange County's homeless problem is growing. Our supervisors this year have a budget of $2.3 billion, yet of the social services money in that budget for Orange County's needy and similar services, 85% comes from the federal and state governments; our supervisors only obligated themselves for the other 15%.

Beyond? Aid to Dependent Children, social services for the poor, homeless, helpless, hungry of Orange County are not coordinated or organized. There is no telephone number to call if you are starving or being put out on the street.

There are a multitude of volunteer, church, civic, government and miscellaneous agencies, some manned by volunteers and small staffs and income, attempting to stay on top of this crisis. In the meantime, the problem grows and grows.

What has to happen before hunger and homelessness are recognized as a crisis situation in Orange County?

BETTY MEAD

Secretary-treasurer,

Placentia Lend-A-Hand Inc.

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