Garment Companies Join in Effort to Clothe Homeless

Article excerpt

JOE, a homeless man staying at a local shelter, says he's tired of getting hand-me-down clothes. He says it's degrading and stamps him as chronically unemployed when applying for jobs.

So when the garment industry-sponsored San Francisco Clothing Bank provided him and other residents of the Episcopal Sanctuary with new clothes, he adopted a "new attitude. It makes you feel more pleasant and more responsible for yourself." Joe is now getting occasional day work through the warehouseman's union.

The San Francisco Clothing Bank not only makes the homeless feel better, it benefits clothing manufacturers as well.

Randall Harris is executive director of San Francisco Fashion Industries, the trade association that set up the clothing bank. He says manufacturers donate mainly for charitable reasons, but they can also get a tax write-off for the "fair market value" of the products. He adds that some companies with a very "high level of quality control don't want second quality merchandise being sold at discount stores because it would denigrate their product. …

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