Combining the resources of these public and private services may be a good idea:
1. If someone uses their food stamps to “buy” a hot meal at a soup kitchen, those facilities will be funded AND the homeless person will have a hot meal (hot meals are currently not allowed under food stamps ).
2. If people using the food banks and soup kitchens are required to have a food stamp card to get services, there would be a system to track the people getting food. Then cases where people who “double and triple dip” into the system will be discouraged and more people can be served. I know a man who has food stamps, disability checks and every day he eats 3 meals at the free feedings at shelters, etc. AND he goes to the food bank for snacks. He is 400 pounds, at least!
3. If people were at the food banks to assist the homeless in filling out applications for food stamps, there would not be cases where homeless people are falling through the cracks.
4. Food stamp fraud would be greatly reduced, because people would have only a portion of the amount they get in food stamps available for shopping at grocery stores. Maybe 20%. The rest they would have to get at food banks. No more people paying homeless drug addicts to use their food stamps. No more people buying junk food and unhealthy food on Uncle Sam’s dollar. No more steak and lobster on food stamps.
Sound good? Write your congressional representative or senator.
I see that more people have been clicking on my Small Houses Resource Guide post. It would be great if the mayors of our cities would take an interest in providing small housing options for people who do not want or need a large house, but who do want to feel like they have a house and a piece of land to work on and grow food.
I know, I know, we are all supposed to live in apartments, if we can’t afford big monstrous homes. That’s our punishment, right?
When did housing your body get so complicated? Lots of people only need one room and can only afford it. But does that mean they should be cramped into an apartment slum? Think about it; land that is just going to waste somewhere. Lay some plumbing and a road. Some street lights. Then divide up lots. 25’x25′ or 50’x50′. The people can move in with just tents, if the climate permits, and then move around in the space to find neighbors that they are comfortable with. No assigning and locking people in. Too George Orwell. When they find their spot and keep peaceful for a trial period (about a year)… then they get to meet with charities who can help them build their safe, affordable, snug home. Whooo ray for us, we helped stop homelessness.
I’ve heard it more than a few times, shelter employees and directors stating that their shelter is the only one that should be serving their community. If you look beneath the self-serving promotion, you realise that the shelters in each city and state are all competing for federal money. The lack of which means loosing jobs. Their jobs. Meanwhile, homeless people are trapped in the middle. Such practises as barring shelter residents from moving from one shelter to another, voluntarily, are common. They don’t like “shelter shoppers” they say. They might have to upgrade their services (and attitude) if people were given freedom of choice.
When I hear a shelter staffer or director trash talking another shelter, I ask them: “What if the other shelter is closer to a job?” “How about if a homeless person has a dispute with another resident and wants to move?” Shouldn’t homeless people have the right to freedom. Many of them were in the armed forces and fought for those rights. Why not give it to them, and stop competing for business at the expense of those you are being paid to serve.
That’s all I have to say about that.
I experienced ‘GateKeeping’ myself. The public housing people try to make it very hard for the homeless to get a unit.
Remember that line from the movie The Help? “You want stories? I’ll give you stories!” Street life goes on stage in Portland.— T.J.