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Benefit Raises $70,000 for Shelter Partnership

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Even though there were moments when it felt suspiciously like a peace rally, Tuesday night’s fund-raiser for the Shelter Partnership was no ‘60s flashback.

Joan Baez, who provided the evening’s entertainment, couldn’t resist a chance to to speak out against war. “I’m always grateful to have a platform,” she said. But otherwise, the evening’s focus was Los Angeles’ growing homeless population.

The nonprofit Shelter Partnership, founded six years ago, assists more than 200 shelters and social service agencies by coordinating efforts to provide housing and resources to homeless men, women and children in Los Angeles County.

“We know Shelter Partnership’s number by heart, all the secretaries,” said Wendy Greuel, representing Mayor Bradley’s office, as she presented Ann Reiss Lane, Partnership president, with a resolution acknowledging her work.

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“When the homeless problem hit, there were a lot of people who wanted to do something about it and didn’t know how,” said Jill Halverson, director of the Downtown Women’s Center, a beneficiary of Shelter Partnership.

“This agency taught them step one, step two, step three, step four how to open a shelter. It’s unique and fabulous,” said Gary Blasi, president of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “We don’t have a Grammy, but they would get one if we did.”

The presence of dinner chair Barbara Orbison, widow of rock star Roy Orbison, was more than superficial. She said her interest in homelessness related to her late husband’s belief that musicians, unless they made it big, were always living on the edge.

“Homelessness was something my father personally was very concerned about,” noted Roy Kelton Orbison Jr., 20, who attended with his brother Alex, 15. “This is a way my mom keeps an involvement with my father’s name.” Barbara Orbison produced last year’s Roy Orbison Tribute Concert to Benefit the Homeless at the Universal Amphitheatre.

The event at the Biltmore Hotel was the Partnership’s first bona fide fund-raiser, netting about $70,000. Dinner costs were underwritten by the hotel.

Among those attending were Andy Raubeson of SRO Housing Corp.; Molly Lowery, head of Los Angles Men’s Place; Virgin Records executives Jordan Harris and Jeff Ayeroff (Roy Orbison’s recording label); Steven Tisch, who is producing a film on Orbison’s life, and Jeff Lynne of the Traveling Wilburys band.

Receiving special honors for their efforts on behalf of the homeless were Comic Relief’s Bob Zmuda, HBO’s Chris Albrecht, the Gillette Company’s Cameron Beers and Charles A. Lynch of Kimberly-Clark Corp.


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