City Hall

SHARE's Latest Temper Tantrum

By Erica C. Barnett August 4, 2010

Maybe I'm just feeling especially ornery this morning, but I'm running out of patience with repeated temper tantrums by SHARE, the homeless advocacy group that runs Tent City.

Short version: SHARE (which routinely requires its members to participate in illegal campouts outside city officials' houses) is angry that the city won't provide it with $50,000 (in addition to the $300,000 the city gives SHARE annually), no strings attached. The city's "unreasonable" request? They want SHARE to keep its shelters open year-round, rather than closing them in the winter, when demand for shelter beds is highest. (SHARE's latest threat to close its shelters was thwarted when supporters pitched in with $10,000 in donations).

SHARE gets $300,000 from the city every year. The city's human-services department offered to advance the group the $50,000, but SHARE refused the money. Instead, the group sent out a series of press releases saying the city was "forcing" it to close 11 shelters, showed up at the mayor's office without an appointment, and accused the city of "not responding" to their demands.

If that $50,000 sounds familiar, that's because it's the same $50,000 SHARE has been demanding, to pay for reduced-fare bus tickets to and from shelters, since at least October 2009, when the mandatory campouts began. After receiving enough donations to keep it afloat for several months, SHARE again started demanding the $50,000 in March. In April, the group got the bus tickets it had asked for but said it would begin protesting over the same $50,000 as soon as those bus tickets ran out. And in July, the group vowed again to resume its campouts soon if the city failed to cough up the money, no strings attached.

Homeless shelters are obviously a worthy place to spend city resources, something the city has acknowledged by preserving SHARE's funding during years of record deficits. But there's no reason SHARE should be treated differently than every other group that receives funding from the city.
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