Srturday, May 31, 1975
Switchboard has the
answer to anything
in, about Ann Arbor
By LAUREL SMITH
instead of letting your fingers do the walking, let the Com-
nity Switchboard, or the "talking yellow pages" find the
aimwer to an unanswerable question.
The volunteers who man the phones at Switchboard like
to think of themselves as a talking yellow pages because they
proide information about anything to anyone who calls ONE-111
from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
WE WANT people to know we're here and we're for them to
use." said volunteer Fran Goldman.
C'ommunity Switchboard has schedules of movies, plays, lec-
tures, baseball games, bars, art fairs and even comic book con-
ventions., In addition, they have files on such topics as dental
bels, child care, furniture, encounter groups, recreation, re-
cycling centers, pregnancy, harmonica, hobbies and hitchhiking
techniques. It only takes an original question to open a new file.
"We try to answer anything people will ask us," said Gold-
sian. "You name it, we've gotten a call on it."
EVERY TIME Switchboard receives a call, a short descrip-
tion of it is jotted down in a record book. If, by chance, a question
stomps the resourceful Switchboard operators, they take down
the name and number, do some research and call back.
"If we don't have the information, we go out and find it,"
said volunteer Judy Kirkland. She added that one way Switch-
board gathers its information is by way of volunteers bringing
in daily tidbits of happenings.
Goldman estimated that about half the calls they receive
concern movies and the Ride Board, though they also provide
Animal Exchange and a Learning Exchange service.
Expansion plans of Switchboard include taking over pub-
lication of The People's Yellow Pages, an- informational booklet
first published by the Pilot Program, and creating a Job Ex-
change. They hope to get the latter underway in the next month
because of the great need for it right now.
Funding for Community Switchboard is tenuous right now,
according to Robin Giber, staff member and co-founder of Switch-
board. This year federal grants were discontinued, so Switchboard
is presently existing off money from Comprehensive Employment
and Training Assistance (CETA) and private donations. Giber
expressed hope that now that the Democrats are back in the
mayoral office, they'll recontinue the city funds for Switchboard
that the Republicans had stopped.
"MAYBE THINGS will change," said Giber. "I sure hope so,
but we can live on a shoestring budget if we have to."
Giber also explained office organization down at Switchboard.
"We work collectively here," she said. "Everyone has a say in
how the money is spent and ways to expand. There's a lot more
to Switchboard than just telling people what movies they can go
to," said Robin. "We're learning how to live our politics here."
"We feel that we're an alternative organization," said Switch-
board coordinator Kim Ronis. "Ultimately we'd like to put our-
selves out of business. We'd like to make people in the com-
munity aware of the alternatives that are open to them, such as
in the area of medical care."
NEW VOLUNTEERS are always welcome at Switchboard. The
tob entails roughly three hours of training and a commitment to
answer the phone at least three hours per week. The training
acUaints newcomers with the files and the art of referring callers
they aren't equipped to help. Since Switchboard isn't a crisis line,
they have a long list of counseling places listed above their phone.
'Sometimes people call up to rap," said volunteer David
Weisman. "They're bored, depressed. We help them, too."
KIM RONIS, staff coordinator for Community Switchboard, talks with a caller. Community
Switchboard answers calls from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and has files on everything from preg-
nancy to furniture. Anything they don't know, they'll find out.
State Housing Authority says
local tenants pay too much rent
By DAVID BLOMQUIST
Nearly one-fifth of Washtenaw
County renters devote an ex-
cessive percentage of t h e i r
income to housing costs, a re-
port by the Michigan S t a t e
Housing Development Author-
ity recently concluded.
Approximately 18 per cent of
the 76,000 renting households in
the county were classified as
occupants of "high rent burd-
en" units - dwellings f or
which the rent charges exceed
25 per cent of household in-
come for resident families or 35
per cent of income for resident
THE FIGURE represented
the largest percentage of "high
rent burden" housing recorded
in any Michigan metropolitan
statistical zone. The three-coun-
ty Lansing metro area, which
had the second highest percent-
age quantity of disproportionate-
ly expensive rental housing, was
more than six points below the
Irene Kievat, senior market
analyst for the housing author-
ity, sees the expanded entrance
of students into off-campus
housing over the past ten years
as a possible explanation for the
expensive Washtenaw rental si-
KIEVAT noted that the al-
most captive position of stu-
dents in a housing market -
caused by the necessity ft most
to live within one to two miles
of campus - led to consider-
able excesses in rents. "Where
else are students going to go?"
she commented. "If you're a
landlord, you can put four peo-
ple in an apartment and charge
$3110 a month."
Peter Schoch, director of eff-
campus housing for the Uni-
versity's Housing Office, also
blamed high rents on a short-
age of suitable units close to the-
central campus area - a sup-
ply-and-demand crisis for which
he predicted no quick relief.
A correction ...
Robert Smuts, the father of a
local woman who was kidnap-
ped and released by African
guerrillas, declared late last
night, "Contrary to the story in
yesterday's Daily I have no
disagreement with U. S. officials
who are working to secure the
release of the three young peo-
ple kidnapped in Tanzania.
"When I spoke to your report-
er I referred to inaccurate press
reports and I expressed no dis-
agreement whatever with U. S.
The Daily apologizes for its
Govt. says economy
won't revive in '75
W A S H I N G T O N () - to Congress, also predicted that
The Ford administration said -The nation's economy will
yesterday that unemployment decline by 3.6 per cent this year,
and the recession will be compared with the administra-
worse this year thane it estimat- tion's February prediction of a
ed earlier, but should be fol- 3.3 per cent decline.
lowed by a stronger economic -The economy will rebound
recovery next year than it had with a strong 6.3 per cent
predicted. growth next year, better than
In its mid-year budget and the 4.8 per cent growth fore-
economic review, the adminis- cast earlier.
tration said unemployment will -The rate of inflation, as re-
average 8.7 per cent, or about flected by consumer prices, will
7.8 million workers, for the increase 9.1 per cent this year
year. As recently as February, over 1974, compared with a Feb-
the administration predicted ruary projection for a 10.8 per
that unemployment would aver- cent increase.
age .I per cent this year. The revised economic outlook
THE FORECAST, if true, contained in yesterday's report
means that the jobless rate pro- doe nothing to change the ad-
bably will rise above 9 per cent ministration's forecast Thurs-
later this year. The April rate of day for an upturn in the econ-
unemployment was 8.9 per cent. omy beginning within the next
The report, which will be sent few months.
Wet and Wild
With a little fancy footwork these two gleeful playmates sought relief from yesterday's heat and
humidity. And their splashes in the fountain on Ingalls Street provided refreshment for anyone
standing close by.