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Shelter residents need a plan to become self-sufficient

I read with interest that the goal of the city's program for ending homelessness is to reduce shelter stays to fewer than 90 days, at a cost of roughly $40,000 a year ("Aid for street people failing," March 18).

Why then is Robert Cook, a 52-year-old man who wants to see a 24-hour police presence in the Fallsway shelter where a homeless person was stabbed last weekend, claiming to have stayed there for the last three years, if it is such a dangerous place?

I don't mean to denigrate Mr. Cook, but during that time he could have earned a high school equivalency degree, and associate degree or any number of trade certifications.

My feeling is that if you are going to be a long-term shelter resident, you must have a practical plan in place to become self-sufficient.

In the same article, some people from the former encampment under the JFX said they refused to stay in the city's shelters because of safety and sanitation concerns. That sounds like an opportunity for Mr. Cook to give something back. All he needs is a phone, a mop and a scrub brush.

Dan Shannahan, Fullerton

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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