The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 2, 1990 - Page 3
protests against Census
Bureau's count of homeless
by Josh Mitnick
Daily City Reporter
Members of the Homeless Action
Committee (HAC) burned copies of
the U.S. census in front of City Hall
yesterday in protest of the Census
Bureau's attempt to count the num-
ber of homeless in Ann Arbor and
across the country.
William Griffin, director of the
Ann Arbor Census Bureau, said
March 20 will be "street and shelter
night" or "S-night" - when 40 bu-
reau employees will take a census of
the homeless in Washtenaw, Jack-
son, Monroe, Hillsdale, Lenawee,
and Branch counties.
HAC spokesperson Jeff Gearhart
said 40 bureau employees aren't
enough to take an accurate count.
The Census Bureau will overlook a
significant portion of the homeless
population if it counts only the
homeless in the streets and shelters,
"There will be no effort to count
the hidden homeless people,"
Gearhart said, such as those in tem-
porary housing, parks and parking
structures. HAC will urge local shel-
ters and homeless to boycott the
count, he said.
. Members of HAC - a group
which is currently pressuring the
City of Ann Arbor to allocate
money for low-income housing
units - said they wanted to fore-
warn the public of the bureau's inad-
equate counting methods before the
census findings are released.
HAC member Bob Harris said
when the last census was taken in
1980, he was on the streets and he
wasn't counted. "This census is a
damn joke," he said.
Griffin acknowledged that the
Census Bureau wouldn't be able to
count all of the area's homeless.
"We're the first to admit we can't
'There is a need... to
realize that most
- Jeff Gearhart
catch them all. We're just trying to
get a component," Griffin said.
Gearhart said before the bureau
took any count of the homeless, first:
an effort had to be made to learn who
the homeless are. "There is a need.
to realize that most homeless people
aren't visible," he said.
Griffin said that the definition of:
homelessness has already been set by
the Census Bureau.
HAC says the census is a deliber;
ate move by Bush's administration
to understate the number of homer
less people and reduce the severity of
the problem in the minds of the pub-
. HAC erected a new shanty ih
front of City Hall yesterday in its
ongoing effort to dramatize to the:
city the plight of the homeless.
Last week the city took down a
shanty constructed by HAC.
Group offers free income tax help
by Angela Bommarito
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
(VITA) - a student volunteer orga-
nization- will offer free income tax
advice on the nuances of tax exemp-
tions and itemized deductions in the
Michigan Union from March 12
through April 13.
VITA volunteers - mostly
Business School students - are part
of the nationwide VITA organization
which offers free tax assistance to
anyone who needs it.
This year 200 University students
volunteered to help community
members with their tax forms, par-
ticipating in four two-hour training
sessions on filing federal and state
income tax returns. The Detroit ac-
counting firm Coopers and Lybrand
taught the sessions.
"To tell the truth, when I first
joined, it was for my resume....,"
said VITA volunteer and first-year
Business School graduate student
Jimmy Huang, "but VITA really
helped me learn about the value of
money, when I saw how happy peo-
ple are to get even $20 more back. It
made me feel very lucky, because I
don't have .to worry about that. So
this year I joined because I wanted to
continue helping people."
VITA site director and LSA se-
nior Lea Odtohan said the most
common questions people ask the
volunteers are basic, such as which
form to use and which deductions to
First year medical student Karen
Wang said VITA couldn't answer her
question about tax exemptions two
years ago, "It was right when the
new tax laws were taking effect and I
had a complicated question. I think
otherwise VITA's pretty knowledge-
"If anyone has something as
complicated as capital gains to re-
port, they should also be able to af-
ford H & R Block," replied Steve
Kahl, VITA's co-director of public-
ity and Business School junior.
Kahl said the organization tries to
make filling out the tax forms easier
for community members.
"Obviously we don't want to make
someone use a 1040 form if they can
use a IO4OEZ," he said.
Run Spot, run
Mike Velthoven, an LSA junior, enjoys a game of snowball fetch in the
Diag with his dog, Jack.
VITA volunteers also visit the
homes of those who cannot walk or
drive to the Union. Most people
'To tell the truth,
when I first joined, it
was for my resume...
but VITA really helped
me learn about the
value of money, when
I saw how happy
people are to get even
$20 more back'
-- Jimmy Huang
who seek advice from VITA are
elderly citizens and low income
Odtohan said that in the past
only about 20 percent of those
helped by the organization were
Michigan students, and added she be-
lieves many students give their tax
forms to their parents.
LSA junior Tonya Smith said her
father does her taxes. "I've never
even seen my income tax form, and
if I did I wouldn't know what to do
with it," she said.
Smith said she had never heard of
VITA, but added that "soon I'll have,
to do my own taxes, so this organir
zation would be a big help."
VITA's lack of sufficient advertis-.
ing in the past could be another rea-
son why students don't utilize the
service, Odtohan said.
Kahl said most of the students
who use VITA are foreign graduate
students and teaching assistants.
VITA often refers these students to
the International Center, which holds
federal tax workshops for foreign
But'Zhaodong Jiang, a Law
School student, said the tax forms
are simple enough for him to com-
plete without assistance. "I just read
the instructions and usually I have
Fridays in The Daily
*discuss E. Europe
and USSR's future
by Tim Gammons
Four University specialists on
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union
agreed in a forum yesterday that re-
cent changes spell difficult years
'ahead for those countries.
Addressing the immediate ethnic,
cultural and economic problems con-
fronting the USSR and Eastern
Europe, Professors Zvi Gitel-
Man, Roman Szporluk, Ron Suny,
and Bill Zimmerman spoke to a full
Rackham Amphitheater at a confer-
ence titled, "Upheaval in the East:
evolution in the USSR and East-
The speakers praised Gorbachev
for his aggressive reforms. Szpor-
luk,.history professor and director of
the Center for Russian and East Eu-
ropean Studies, said he admired Gor-
bachev's accomplishments and mar-
velled at the Soviets' new freedoms.
"People like myself remember
Othe extraordinary controversy regard-
ing Soviets- when they wanted to go
abroad. It was totally incompatible
with the Russian system. Now under
Gorbachev, it is commonplace," he
Gitelman, a political science pro-
fessor, said Soviet citizens are afraid
Gorbachev will change too much too
soon. "Gorbachev is now telling the
Soviet Union 'We're not going to
tell you what to do' anymore,'"
Gitelman said. "To some this is an
exhilarating prospect. To others, it
The speakers agreed that to insure
popular support, the Soviet govern-
ment must decentralize. "If Gor-
bachev chooses central leadership his
only supporters will be those who
do not support glasnost," said Szpor-
Zimmerman, political science
professor, said multi-party elections
are inevitable in Eastern Europe.
"Eastern European nations thought
the rules of the game were that a
country couldn't have a multi-party
system. This is no longer the case,"
The panel also said that in the fu-
ture the Soviets and the United
States will share common political
and economic ground.
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Fire in Egyptian hotel
skills 16, wounds. 70
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Fire
broke out in a luxury hotel's tent
restaurant early yesterday and wind-
whipped flames leaped to the main
building, killing 16 people and in-
juring about 70. At least one Ameri-
can was among the dead.
Frantic guests at the six-story
ieliopolis Sheraton jumped out
*windows and clambered down bed-
sheets that were tied together. Many
Of the injuries were broken bones
suffered in falls.
U.S. Embassy spokesperson
Marcelle Wahba said one American
was killed, but she refused to release
any information on the victim.
't'hree Americans were seriously in-
jured, said police Brig. Abdel-Rehim
many guests.heard of the fire from
Tourism Minister Fuad Sultan
said the blaze started accidentally in
the Nubian Tent restaurant - a cot-
ton-canvas tent attached to one of the
three blocks of the T-shaped hotel.
The head of Cairo's fire brigade,
Maj. Gen. Adel Nigm, said such
tents are fire hazards and the Shera-
ton put it up without consulting the
Sparks jumped from a clay oven
to the ceiling of-the tent, igniting
flames that quickly spread to the ho-
tel, said Sultan.
Cairo Gov. Mahmoud Sherif told
the official Middle East News
Agency the use of such tents at ho-
tels would be reviewed. A fire broke
out in a similar tent at the Nile-side
CAMPUS-WIDE STUDENT GOVERNMENT
CALL FOR CANDIDATES
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