Mary Smith: A tremendous responsibility

Michael Crosby, left, and others eat dinner at the Bridge to Home temporary shelter in Saugus on its opening night in 2014 KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal.
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To help prevent homelessness, the city of Santa Clarita should have goals and requirements.

They are: 1) allow no use of drugs or alcohol; 2) question the homeless regarding their goals (because some say they like homelessness); 3) select people who do not want to be homeless for housing and various programs.

This involves providing interested counselors, volunteer or paid, to help individual homeless persons with their goals and special needs in line with city expectations.

Once initial requirements are established, utilize the experience of the Union Gospel Mission in teaching individual responsibility, society’s expectations, living together and how to live independently, as well as job expectations.

Union Gospel Mission provides guidelines for deep-seated problems as well as mentoring in the work place. The Salvation Army and Union Rescue Mission may be helpful, also.

The city should have goals for the homeless willing to work: If the goal is to have a job, it should be a 40-hour-per-week job to maintain a family on what a family can live along with supplemental government benefits for poor families.

The committee needs to go to the Employment Laws Luncheon on Feb. 21 and be aware to the problems of small businesses who only net a 5 percent to 15 percent profit and the burden of hiring a person because of restrictive laws.

In addition, the committee should visit the various job centers like the one at COC to see what is offered and the job skills required.

Certainly Santa Clarita does not want an enclave of homeless people living in public housing forever if independent housing and productive citizenship is possible.

A not-too-expensive and not-greedy competent watch dog should monitor the use of the potential tax, and we should keep the money within the city to prevent excess cost.

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