Monday, January 11, 2010

SacHo snips for January 11, 2010

Here, a brief look at several very recent news stories, that caught my attention, that are important for the futures of those of us in Homeless World Sacramento.

Time magazine focuses on California's budgetary cesspoll and Governor Swartzennegger's plan to address the latest revenue-expense gap in an article titled "California Deficit: Arnold Has to Make 'Sophie's Choice'". Per expectations, for homeless people bad becomes horrible becomes worse.  The safety net for the most vulnerable of the vulnerable ― homeless children! ― is to be further cut if the Governator has his way.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, said she is "highly troubled" by Schwarzenegger's proposals for further cuts to a social welfare system under severe strain. Unemployment in many urban neighborhoods tops 20%, and the number of homeless women and children is growing. Additional cuts to the foster care system and increased caseloads for social welfare workers will put children's lives at risk, according to Bass. "Last year's budget left the safety net on life support," she said. "Now the governor is talking about disconnecting the respirator."
An article in a U.S. Airforce publication, Installations, Environment & Logistics, "Homeless find hope at closed California bases," tells us about the communities for helping homeless people at the former McClellan Air Force Base and the rehab program at the former military barracks at what was Mather Air Force Bace. A couple introductory snips follow [Read the article for history and some details.]: the former McClellan AFB, a non-profit called Cottage Housing Inc. operates Serna Village. The complex of 83 apartments houses 100 recently homeless parents and more than 200 of their children. The program opened in 2002 to provide transitional housing and life skills training.

Serna participants work with personal development coaches to become self-sufficient. They set personal goals such as finishing requirements for a high school diploma or getting a first job. Various programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are offered regularly, as are numerous classes including acupuncture, yoga, nutritious cooking, parenting and writing. Children can take part in various clubs and a mentoring program.
[A] homeless rehabilitation program called Mather Community Campus has been operating since 1995 in former military barracks at what was Mather AFB until the base closed in 1993. The program offers temporary housing for homeless single adults and families "who believe employment is an essential part of their new life."
An article in the Bee, yesterday, "Gift cards can be a headache for recipients" tells us that gift cards [that is, those debit cards that merchandisers and fast-food stores sell to be given as gifts (which many kind Sac'to homed citizens gave out to homeless people) ] with a balance under $10 can be redeemed for cash in California. [I didn't know that!] BUT, it can be a hassle. Following, a snip [but read the whole article and comments for a full understanding of the hassles]:
By law in California, any gift card with a balance below $10 can be redeemed for cash. (The only exception is for perishable food, but not for restaurant meals.)

Two years after the law was passed, apparently not every store manager got the memo, says Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the state Department of Consumer Affairs.

"Staff turnover at some retail outlets is so high … one store manager who may know about the law is replaced by one who doesn't," he said. "That's what we've found."

Heimerich advises consumers who are stymied in efforts to cash out a $10-or-less gift card to "go up the chain of command" by contacting the company's regional or corporate office for assistance.

And, finally, an article in the New York Times online, "Citing Hazard, New York Says Hold the Salt." The piece tells us that in New York, the mayor there is wanting to get food processors and restaurants to cut back on the amount of sodium. Here, a snip:
The plan, for which the city claims support from health agencies in other cities and states, sets a goal of reducing the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food by 25 percent over the next five years.

Public health experts say that would reduce the incidence of high blood pressure and should help prevent some of the strokes and heart attacks associated with that condition. The plan is voluntary for food companies and involves no legislation. It allows companies to cut salt gradually over five years so the change is not so noticeable to consumers.
While many of my friends in Homeless World would like more salt on their food, others of us would benefit from and like much less. I know that cornbread served at Loaves & Fishes can be very very highly salted. Less salt in recipes and the availability of tiny salt packets might satisfy everyone, albeit at some not-negligible expense to L&F.

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