Is US Profiting from Miseries of the Homeless?
A Close Look at One of America's "Bum Factories"
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
As a growing population, the homeless worldwide are totaling over 4.5 million of which 3.5 million reside on the streets of the United States.These men, women, and children of America's homeless are becoming our new silent minority. Their numbers are increasing everyday, even though the numbers of federally funded programs are growing to help alleviate the plight of the homeless here in our fair America. With the growing population of displaced persons giving rise to the number of organizations, which are dedicated to helping these Americans, which are living on the streets, there does not seem to be that much help directed towards the homeless in general. Here in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, we have an established facility which is dedicated to helping the homeless and needy; of which they pretend to help the elderly, veterans and the general homeless population which is either directed to them through referral or through walk ins. This organization is truly what one would refer to as a "Bum Factory." The use of the revolving door technique is the cornerstone of this 'high minded' non-profit organization. Essentially, the homeless are being fleeced by those moneygrubbers who skim the profits off the government grant monies and turn the needy back to the street without the help, which is needed to rehabilitate them or make them again viable members of our society. This organization is barely held accountable and with the use of creative bookkeeping they can hide funds from auditors and investigators neigh indefinitely. Thus the fat cats get richer and the poor get poorer. From where I am standing, the professional health care community has a different view of our nations homeless in relationship to the operators of these "Bum Factories." The health care providers see the homeless as being extreme mentally disturbed and in need of rehabilitation, either with the use of drugs and or counseling or through sound psychological therapy. But the proprietors of these 'homeless shelters' view their clients with distain and as crazy misfits and do not have a bit of understanding of the true nature of the individuals under their care. In most cases the operators of the homeless shelters refer to their charges in silent hatred and in secret abuse as; bums; and nut cases, hard cases and lazy bastards also including, drug addicts and drunks; to verbalize just a few of the many names and attitudes directed towards the people which are in need of help on our streets. This facility in the San Fernando Valley has no qualified Medical or Psychological care workers on their staff and consequently they are not qualified to handle most of the mentally disturbed clients, which cross their threshold. The simple fact of the matter is this; this homeless shelter is just a place where the numbers can be accumulated and the results are less than important. For most every one who is there this place is just a job, and nothing more. I doubt that there is a degreed social worker anywhere on the staff of this facility. Furthermore, I also believe that the amount of compassion for the charges they get paid for is less than zero. It is all lip service and aggrandizements in the form of sexual abuse of those who cannot defend them selves. Here is a place in our society which is in true need of reform and investigation, no social help organization can bend as many rules with out the government looking to see what stinks. How loud do we have to yell before the powers that be finally look to see what the problem is, how high do we have to jump in order to get the government interested in a local eyesore which is laughing all the way to the bank. In 1986 the Federal Government passed the McKinney – Vento Homeless Assistance Act under President Ronald Regan to help the growing concerns of the homeless in America, this act was to give H.U.D. fifteen federally funded programs which were aimed at the agonies of Americans with out proper sleeping shelters. This was given in most cases out in the form of grant monies to various sub-organizations to help the various situations, which afflicted our homeless population. From what I see, the U.S. Government does not keep that close an eye upon those who are entrusted to dole out the grant money to the population in need, this money is not money which falls from the sky, this money is gleaned from the tax payers dollars and should be jealously guarded by the government organizations responsible. The facilities, which are given the duty and task of administering this money, should not be allowed to make a profit from the federal monies and should be accountable for every penny, which H.U.D. grants to them nonetheless. No outrageous salaries or floating slush funds should be allowed, nor should there be any mislabeled accounts where money is hidden for future use by company officers. Every thing should be on the up and up constantly, no funny business or cooking of the books, every thing straight forward, and nothing else. These grant monies should be used for what they were intended to be used for; to eliminate the pain and suffering of the nations homeless, end of story. Private grant monies, just like the money given by the Federal Government, should be scrutinized by all parties concerned, not a cent should be wasted or used arbitrarily; all these monies should find their way to the public trust as they were intended. Let me sum up this essay by saying; that our homeless population needs shelters and places to sleep where they can go to feel safe and clean, were the funds given to their care providers are used to full efficiency. Were the sick and elderly are given and referred to adequate health care facilities. There should also be qualified workers at homeless shelters who know and understand the physical, psychological and health needs of the men, women, and children who are relying on them for their survival. After all isn't homelessness a life and death struggle?
|A homeless man in the United States|
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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”