Shelter Funding

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

It was not good news to learn Tuesday that the United Way and Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless had agreed to part company.

United Way officials, along with many others in the community, had concerns over the shelter’s policy of closing on certain holidays provided, shelter officials maintain, any residents have a place to go.

The United Way wanted the shelter to change the policy. The United Way has a right, if not the duty, to make sure that agencies that seek funding from it comply with whatever strings come attached to that funding.

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The shelter, rather than alter its policy or, heaven forbid, admit the possibility that it’s policy may be misguided, decided to tell the United Way where it could stick its $23,000 and go it alone.

The only losers here, if any, will be those who benefit from the money that comes to the shelter via the United Way – Suffolk’s homeless.

It certainly appears that the shelter’s decision was based more on pride than on doing what is in the best interests of the families it serves. Ever since last Thanksgiving, when the closing policy began receiving widespread publicity after six families were turned out for alleged rules violations, shelter director Terry Miller and the board of directors have steadfastly refused to even consider changing the policy and have instead adopted a policy of attacking those who criticize them.

We do not wish the shelter any ill will remain convinced that those in charge of running it are committed to helping our less fortunate fellow citizens turn their lives around. Nonetheless, we wish they would not let pride or ego get in the way of achieving that goal.