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Monday, December 17, 2007


Local homeless now have a new weapon in war on poverty. In a pilot program funded by the Salvation Army and local homeless activist Rev. Gary, those suffering a domicile deficit have been armed with debit card readers.

"We have found that there are less people carrying cash so the traditional Homeless Times was not making any money. Plus some people were just lying. Now the habit challenged individual can be like, 'That's okay. I take debit cards."

The cards are linked through satellite to a central computer at Rev. Gary's chapel. Donors can only donate in whole quarter amounts, but advocates believe that the ease of the transaction will persuade those that wanted to donate less to give anyway.

Officials have been careful to screen applicants for the program. "We obviously have some clientele that are not comfortable with the satellite link. Our paranoid schizophrenics fell that the wires placed in their brains by the government was already enough of an intrusion."

If successful, the Salvation Army will be placing card readers on all of their red kettles next Christmas.

Not everyone is a fan of expansion however. Critics cite the potential for fraud as a primary concern. "So I'm supposed to swipe my card and enter my PIN for a total stranger? I don't think so," says professional critic Bob Hayda. "Get a job, or get out."

When questioned about exactly where the homeless should "get out" to, Mr. Hayda had no comment.

All attempts to contact the homeless by phone were unsuccessful.

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