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[Susan notes: This letter makes such important points. Follow the link and read about The Doe Fund.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re Albuquerque Offers Its Homeless a Day's Work (news article, Dec. 8):

Albuquerque's day labor program for the homeless is a good start, but the dignity of work doesn't come from a few bucks in cash at the end of a day; it comes from joining mainstream society through a productive working life.

A full recovery from homelessness requires a sustained investment in homeless people, their lives and their long-term success. A social-service-rich, holistic approach that integrates people into society through work benefits us all: People recover their lives and reunite with families, our work force swells, and crime drops.

Allowing the homeless to work periodically but only on the fringes of society perpetuates the economic and social deprivation that drives up poverty, drug use, crime and, yes, homelessness.

The success of Albuquerque's program proves how much value is waiting to be unlocked among homeless Americans, even when offered only a dayâs work. Provide the opportunity to go to work each day, and their potential, like that of all Americans, becomes limitless.

George T. McDonald is Founder and President, The Doe Fund

George T. McDonald

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