Timesizing® - Homepage
[Commentary] © 2001 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622 Cambridge MA 02143 USA (617) 623-8080
Homelessness Stories, Oct-Dec/2001
12/31/2001 1 homelessness story -
12/29/2001 3 homelessness letters to editor -
- A reborn city, stamped 'Giuliani', by Jim Dwyer, NYT, front page+A13.
...Every crime was weighed on the same scale. A mugging in Bushwick was just as bad as one in Carnegie Hill....
[Wasn't this called "zero tolerance"?]
A feeling of order settled across [New York City (NYC)], with the biggest changes in neighborhoods of the impoverished and the working poor who had suffered with the most crime. Suddenly, criminal atrocities no longer dominated the city's news.
Even in the wealthier precincts, the lost and damaged souls [i.e., the homeless] who once seemed to occupy every other street or subway car vanished. Gone, too, was the hint of menace associated with the chronically unstable. For many, that seemed like another visible wonder [i.e., modern-day miracle] achieved by Mr. Giuliani.
[Where did they go?]
Its proper name would be 'timing.'
- About 9,000 of the mentally ill homeless found homes in safe, small, structured residences with medical and social supervision. The homes were built under a program called 'New York, New York,' begun by former Gov. Mario Cuomo and former Mayor David Dinkins.
- Just as Mr. Giuliani became mayor, thousands of police officers hired by his predecessor under the Safe Streets, Safe City program were going on duty.
- The last of about 100,000 apartments were rebuilt under a program dating back to Mayor Edward Koch.
- Acres and acres of rubbled blight in the South Bronx and Brooklyn had been salvaged and settled by two private concerns - the Nehemiah Housing program and the NYC Partnership....
- The national economy soared. Jobs were plentiful.... For most of his tenure, the city's treasury gushed with revenues generated by Wall Street....
12/28/2001 1 homelessness story -
- Share the burden of homelessness, NYT, A32.
- By Pres. Peter Powell of Interfaith Housing Assoc. of Westport CT.
...To many suburbs see the cities as the solution to the problem and provide nothing for local homeless people.... Since 1984, Westport, Conn., has bucked this trend. Shelter, transitional housing and permanent housing are provided in several small programs for families and individuals in need. ...If other suburbs would join us, we could make a significant dent in solving the problem of homelessness and relieving some of the burden on NYC.
- By Dirs. Rita Zimmer and Fran Levenson of Women's City Club of NYC.
...NYC has had a small rental subsidy program for some homeless people that provides $400 to families and $300 to individuals monthly. But recent budget modifications eliminated the subsidy for individuals. Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg should reinstate this subsidy for individuals....
- By Allen Thorpe of Castle Dale UT.
...Mayor Rudolph Giuliani...made an important and compelling statement, pointing out that most of us, if one of our siblings or friends was on welfare or living in the street, would not consider it caring or loving simply to subsidize this existence. We would want to get them into shelter, to find treatment for their alcoholism of mental illness, and to help them find work...
[It all comes back to jobs. And jobs all come back to Timesizing, which means sharing the vanishing work instead of limping along trying to get government makework to make up for private-sector downsizing.]
..\..and to help them find work, even if we had to do it against their will.
[À la St. Paul? - "If any would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thess.3:10. But that clearly requires a much friendlier job market than today, and much more training, and much shorter hours. And that, in turn, requires Timesizing, not downsizing.]
We would do this because we know that being dependent on the government and sleeping in the street are degrading. We would want for them what we wish for ourselves: self-worth, self-reliance, and productive lives.
12/27/2001 2 homelessness stories -
- Wisconsin: Crowding in homeless shelters, by Elizabeth Stanton, NYT, A12.
Milwaukee's homeless shelters and the city's only operating overflow shelter have exceeded their capacity, the chairman of the Milwaukee Emergency Shelter Task Force, Joseph Volk, said. It is the first time the 30-bed overflow shelter, created as a backup facility in 1998, has run out of room. The city's other overflow shelter, run by the American Red Cross, is closed for renovation until March.
[Great season to renovate a homeless shelter - winter!]
The task force said the city has about 900 beds. The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee has started preparations to provide temporary beds at a church.
12/24/2001 1 homelessness story -
- A quiet line at sunrise speaks of growing need - Pantries have less food for more people - Many at the pantries are taking [charity] for the first time, by Alan Feuer, NYT, A16.
...The line outside the Bronx Seventh Day Adventist Church at 1695 Washington Ave. starts forming just after sunrise, about 7:15, most mornings. The ragged men and women shuffle up to the wooden doors as if from nowhere, dressed in thrift-store parkas and old wool caps.... It is still too early for conversation and the few words exchanged are mostly vague grumblings about lost jobs and the hard December cold.
An entire system exists to feed these people, from the warehouse at the Hunts Point Produce Market, where donated food is shipped out in 18-wheelers every day, to the food pantries that distribute boxes of raisins and cans of pink Atlantic salmon. But with donations sinking in the wake of 9/11, and the need for food increasing, the system is in danger of collapse.
Perhaps 1½ million New Yorkers now rely on food pantries, experts on hunger say, and since 9/11, more than 60% of them are taking donations for the first time....
- Homelessness in New York, editorial, NYT, A18.
Mayor-Elect Michael Bloomberg faces all sorts of daunting challenges when he takes office in NYC next week. High on the list are the twin problems of hunger and homelessness that have taxed soup kitchens to the limit and jammed the city's homeless shelters with record numbers of men, women and children. ...The problem of what to do for the very neediest has bedeviled mayors for the last two decades. We hope Mr. Bloomberg can bring a new energy and determination to the issue.
[After all, he's one of the richest men in the world.]
The crowds at the soup kitchens and homeless shelters were already growing before 9/11, [which] cost the city nearly 80,000 mainly low income jobs in October alone.
Many of those thrown out of work are still receiving unemployment benefits or emergency disaster aid. But the state has nonetheless reported that welfare caseloads grew between Sept. and Oct. After six years of dramatic reductions, New York may be facing the start of a new surge in the welfare population.
[And just when will they be prepared to drop the subjunctive?]
Local food pantries are reporting a startling increase in the number of New Yorkers who seem to be putting what money they have toward the rent [if they've still got an apt.!] and turning to charitable organizations to feed their families. People who somehow found ways to support themselves in the booming 90's have begun to reappear on the streets and subways.
As of the Nov. census, the city's homeless shelters house about 30,000 men, women and children. Homeless-rights lawyers describe this as the largest number since the city began keeping records in the early 1980's.
The state provides a welfare family of three with a rent subsidy of just $286 a month - far short of the nearly $700 it would cost that same family to find a two-bedroom apartment in a low-income neighborhood. However, that [$700x12= $8400] is still far less than the $36,000 a year it costs to house a family in a hotel-style shelter.
Mr. Bloomberg should begin his administration by vowing to ensure that every New Yorker who is eligible for federally funded food programs is enrolled to get help as soon as possible. Beyond that, he should work with Albany to redirect the state's homeless dollars toward housing subsidies. Common sense calls for a policy that keeps as many people as possible in their own homes instead of driving them into homeless shelters that cost the city and state a fortune.
[We have a better idea. Drop the bandaids and set up a citywide work-sharing program. There's plenty of work in NYC and tons of money, but they're all bunched up on a very few people, like the Mayor-Elect himself, for example, dba the founder of Bloomberg News. How could this be done? Start by enforcing the old 40-hour workweek. Tax every business and individual that works overtime, and give them a complete exemption for setting up training and hiring in overtime-targeted skills. Use the tax revenues to approximate the training and hiring the businesses and individuals paying the tax should be doing. It's time the private sector cleaned up its own mess. And step one involves accepting the technological imperative to share the vanishing work and cut the outdated crap about "working hard (= long hours) to get ahead." There just isn't enough human work out there for our huge human populations in the Third Millennium now we're introducing robotization like gangbusters. If we want an economic future without chronic recession, we'll need strong domestic markets. And if we want strong markets, we'll have to start timesizing and stop downsizing. There's no alternative except militarization, if you call that an alternative in the Atomic Age.]
12/21/2001 1 homelessness debate and 2 stories -
- Christmas dinner for 1,000 - The homeless and hungry, in the midst of recession, by Bob Herbert, NYT, A17.
...Between 25000 and 30000 people are showing up at the homeless shelters each night, and many others are sleeping in the subways, in the parks or on the street.... The homeless population served by the shelter system consists primarily of families with children..\..
It wasn't long ago that we were crowing about the economy, patting ourselves on the back and telling anyone who would listen that it was the best of time. And yet, across the country [already] hundreds of thousands of people were struggling with the desperate and demoralizing experience of homelessness.
That population has only grown as a result of the economic downturn of the past several months and, especially in New York City, the devastating economic effects of 9/11.... One of the reasons so many people were homeless even before the economy tanked was the shortage of housing that could be afforded by people earning low wages....
[As so often, Bob focuses on the unsolvable detailed problem - here, the "shortage of affordable housing," and on non-answers - furious rhetoric, and over-specific or over-general exhortations -]
Americans have been waging war on the poor for a long time.... Homelessness is not an unsolvable problem. There are programs that are successfully housing previously homeless people.... The blueprints for such programs are available. What has been been lacking is a national commitment to address the myriad problems associate with poverty. Homelessness is just one of them.
[The penultimate flagellation for "lack of national commitment" is indeed too general and off target to boot. But the final pointer to poverty, expecially if carried back to the complaint about low wages, is on target.
The hundreds of thousands of homeless people represent lost markets to all our businesses. But those businesses must reinvest much more in their many ordinary employees and much less in their few very wealthy employees, because the more concentration of spending power, the less actual spending. What on earth could induce them to shift the bulk of their reinvestment? A general shortage of labor, and not just the shortage of top executive skills that the B-schools and executives themselves are able to project. The usual way we have engineered these general shortages in the past two generations has been militarization, in response to real or imagined external threats. The way we did it - albeit it too little too late - over the previous 100 years was more intelligent - we cut working hours per person. The Timesizing program updates this method and presents the only complete redesign of the core institutions of our economy. Or rather, the only design of a complete pumping mechanism to circulate the national income fully throughout the body economic instead of allowing it to pool in useless profusion about the brain in our present primitive kind of capitalism, which may be called hydrocephalic capitalism. Timesizing, then, is the only complete design of a heart muscle for capitalism, not in the squishy compassionate sense but in the sense of circulating the vast spending power to those who actually have time and need to spend it, so they are not lost as active parts of the consumer base and consigned to the vats of homeless or the bins of incarcerated, and wasted.]
12/18/2001 1 homelessness story -
- A real home for the homeless, letters to the editor, NYT, A26....
- Con - By Douglas and Birgitta Sinsel of New York.
As residents of West 55th Street for almost 40 years, we applaud[ed] Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the Police Dept. for having tried to clean up the cardboard-box shelters and tents on the corner of West 55th and Fifth Avenue ("Judge Orders End to Rousting of Homeless Near Church," news article, Dec. 20).
We have sadly watched our block turn into a shantytown with 20 or 30 homeless people living in boxes on the sidewalk, and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has encouraged them to do so.
Instead, the church should follow the mayor's lead and encourage people to go to shelters, where they can find food, warmth, and safety..\..
- Pro - By Rev. Michael Kendall of Commission of Religious Leaders' Housing Committee of NYC.
While religious communities try to provide shelter, the numbers are reaching a level beyond control. Furthermore, a shelter is not a home.
[In the same way as even a cardboard box of your own is?]
The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church took the courageous stand of providing sanctuary to the homeless people in its neighborhood and of going to court on their behalf. Where is the housing program desperately needed in New York City? What is the federal government doing about the homeless in our country?
Surely during this holy season we can make room for our brothers and sisters who have no home.
[Does that mean we can evict them when this holy season is over?]
- Pro - By Marea Wexler of Northhampton MA....
In "Trumping Charity" (column, Dec. 20)..\..Bob Herbert...writes of one of our society's greatest contradictions: how we define and respond to human suffering. Juxtaposition the outpouring of support for the victims of 9/11 with the daily callousness shown to the homeless, the poor and victims of inequality. No one can argue with the need to help the victims of 9/11, but how can we at the same time ignore the plight of any who suffer needlessly in this, the richest country in the world? When America's ills at home are faced with the same vigor and sense of righteousness with which goes to war, we will be the caring society we say we are.
- Report: Most homeless rejected, by Mac Daniel, BG, B11.
The majority of homeless mothers and their children seeking temporary shelter in Massachusetts are turned away by the state, according to a survey by homeless advocates released yesterday. The Mass. Coalition for the Homeless report found that 82% of families on the street were...turned away from overcrowded shelters after failing to meet state requirements [or] providing the necessary documentation..\.. The report also found that only a third of families were approved and placed in shelters on the day they applied....
As Boston's homeless population continues to grow, spurred on by the ongoing affordable housing crisis, a weakened economy, and a state budget thin on funds for social service programs, the state is...facing a huge shortage of shelter beds. More than 300 families are now living in hotel or motel rooms, according to..\..Dept. of Transitional Assistance spokesman Dick Powers....
- A life recalled - Relatives and longtime friends remember the talents and dreams of homeless man, by David Arnold, BG, B1.
...He was once a towheaded boy, a track star, a top student, a voracious reader, a dexterous guitar player, a songwriter, a poet, a hopeless romantic, and a man who more than once gave up his own coat to someone who needed it more. But those who knew him say he was also haunted by demons - that he had not lived up to a father's expectations, that he had lost forever the love of a girl.... Occasionally he agreed to enter a treatment center. But in the end, he chose to fight his demons with drink....
What he was doing on the tracks remains a mystery..\..
[Inviting an end?]
At 7:20 pm last Friday, [the man] who carried no identification, was struck and killed in South Boston by a commuter train.... On Tuesday, police were finally able to identify the victim using fingerprint records. He was Mark Harold Henderson, 40..\.. The last time [his] mother [from Atlanta] tried to call [him] was one week ago, coincidentally just an hour or two before the homeless man would die....
"With your head down in a driving rain and a train being pushed from the locomotive in the back, you'd be surprised how easy it is to be hit," said Peter Pasciucco, an MBTA police superintendent....
["There but for the grace of God go I."]
This year, trains in Greater Boston have killed four homeless people, who frequently slip through cuts in chain-link fences to use the tracks as shortcuts....
12/14/2001 1 homelessness story -
- New wave of the homeless floods cities' shelters, by Pam Bellluck, NYT, front page.
With unemployment rising and housing costs still high, cities around the country are experiencing a new and sudden wave of homelessness. Shelters are overflowing, and more people this year are sleeping on floors in dingy social service centers, living in cars or spending nights on the streets.
In New York, Boston and other cities, homelessness is at record levels, a consequence of a faltering economy that has crumbled even further after the Sept. 11 attacks.
A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors released last week found that requests for emergency shelter in 27 cities had increased an average of 13% over last year. The report said the increases were 26% in Trenton NJ, 25% in Kansas City MO, 22% in Chicago, 20% in Denver, and 20% in New Orleans.
An unusual confluence of factors seems to be responsible.... "This is an unprecedented convergence of calamities," said Xavier Briggs, asst. prof. of public policy at the JFK School of Gov't at Harvard.... In many cities, shelters said they were seeing...
More than half the cities surveyed by the mayors' group reported that in the last year people had remained homeless longer, an average of six months.
- more people who became homeless after having lost jobs or
- being priced out of apartments..\.. Housing prices, which soared in the expansion of the 1990's, have not gone down, even though the economy has tumbled.... Low-cost housing is so tight that one-third of the vouchers for the Section 8 subsidized-housing program are being returned unused, according to the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development.... In Rhode Is., the state is dropping a $5m housing program from its budget. Yet this month, a crush of homeless people forced the opening of a shelter in an old convent in Warwick, the first new shelter for the homeless in the state in 10 years. [And] this year, 120 families with children have slept on the floor of Travelers Aid, a social service center in Providence that is not a shelter..\..
- A stream of layoffs has newly unemployed people taking low-wage jobs that might have otherwise gone to the poor....
- Some of the newly homeless people have jobs but do not earn enough to allow use of a home.... A senior policy analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York, Patrick Markee, said: "Now, especially since 9/11, we're seeing the recession effect, low-wage people who were just hanging on, messengers, people who work in restaurants turning up at our door"..\..
- Benefits from welfare recipients are expiring under government-imposed deadlines....
- ...States and cities, facing budget crises and burdened with security costs, scaled back on financing for housing and other programs that keep people from becoming homeless, like rent assistance and health care..\..
- And charitable donations to programs that help the disadvantaged are down considerably, officials around the country said, because of the economy and the outpouring of donations for people affected by Sept. 11....
- "A greater segment of our population [has only] tenuous connections to family and friends, and therefore has fewer resources to fall back on when something very bad happens like when they lose their job"...said..\..Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution..\..
[They talk about it as if it's just a bout of unemployment.]
There is no total number for the homeless nationwide....
[Yeah, the "richest country in the world" is scared to find out it isn't. Only those with the hugely over-concentrated income and wealth are rich, and there are people like that even in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. And maybe they aren't so rich in any meaningful sense because they live in rathole countries and their lives, unless protected by thick walls and bodyguards, aren't worth a dime.]
An increasing proportion of the homeless are families with children, compared with the chronically homeless who often have serious mental illness or substance abuse problems. Requests for shelter from families with children increased in three-quarters of the cities surveyed. In more than half, families had to be broken up to be accommodated in shelters....
- In New York, the number of people in shelters, 29,802 as of last month, is the highest ever. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of families in shelters has grown 50% in three years, to 6,669, while the percentage of children in shelters has risen 60%, to 12,576.
[America, get off the pot. Either sterilize the poor or share the vanishing work with them, or cut the self-congratulatory crap about how wonderful you are.]
Mr. Markee said 1,500 families were being housed in welfare hotels, three times as many as three years ago.
- In Boston, officials conducted a census of the homeless on Dec. 10 and found 6,001 homeless people, a record, said Kelley Cronin, director of the Emergency Shelter Commission. Ms. Cronin added that the number of people [sleeping?] on the street, 277, was also the highest on record.
- Chicago reported in the mayors' survey that the number of people who were homeless or receiving emergency assistance to keep them from becoming homeless had jumped, to 19,421 from 15,682 last year.
- In a school district in Sacramento, Liane Ramirez, who works with homeless families, said she had already seen twice as many families living in their cars as she had seen in the previous few years combined. "We feel like we're seeing a lot more first-time scared-to-death homeless," Ms. Ramirez said. "And we're looking at working homeless, not just welfare homeless."...
12/11/2001 1 homelessness story -
- Hub's homeless population rising - Boston [Mass.] warily eyes steady increase in homeless population - 'This guy is my age and he's sleeping in an alley,' Kim Hildebran, 22, city volunteer worker, by Douglas Belkin, BG, B1.
...277 people [were] counted Monday night in the city's annual census of the homeless. About 200 volunteers...spread out across the city to count the number of people sleeping on sidewalks, park benches, and grates. What they found was...the number of homeless living on the streets and in the alleys of Boston has increased again.
This week's census, which also counts people sleeping in shelters, revealed that for the first time in the city's recent history the number of people without addresses has topped 6,000. That's a 3% incrase from last year and a 54% jump from a decade ago. In that time the number of homeless children has nearly tripled and the number of homeless women has increased by 77%, according to City Hall....
[The "richest nation" slides another level down into the Third World, randomly injecting worksaving technology without ensuring that the remaining work is spread around - "even" if it "has" to be spread thinner. (Meaning fewer hours for the same or better pay - after all, what's technology for if not that?)]
12/01/2001 1 homelessness story -
- Maryland: Sentence in police dog case, AP via NYT, A16.
A former police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for setting her police dog on an unarmed homeless man.... Ricardo Mendez, in 1995...and another homeless man were sleeping on the roof of a building when the police, suspecting a burglary, confronted them..\.. Stephanie Mohr...said she was doing her duty \as a\ member of Prince George's County force in suburban Washington...when she let her dog attack...Mr. Mendez, [whose] leg was severely gouged. \Ms. Mohr\ received the maximum sentence for violating a man's civil rights....
[Talk about a 'rude awakening'!]
11/22/2001 1 homelessness story -
- Barely sheltered lives - Facilities for homeless men, women experience early-season crowding - The city estimates that on Thursday night, 2,300 people slept in Boston shelters, by David Arnold, BG, B1.
...At dawn yesterday, 165 men and women awoke on cots, sleeping pads, chairs, or the bare floor of..\..the Boston Rescue Mission.... About one-quarter of them leave the next day, shaved and showered for full-time jobs....
[Guess these "full-time jobs" don't pay much thanks to the general labor glut we've allowed to creep up over the last two generations by jamming ever more worksaving technology and population groups (babyboomers, women, immigrants) against a frozen pre-technology workweek. Gotta do Timesizing or have a "nice" big war.]
The homeless overload, attributed partly to a faltering economy that is driving recent shelter "graduates" back to the street, leaves shelter operators worried about what could happen in January, when temperatures plummet and proposed [Massachusetts] state budget cuts take effect....
11/20/2001 1 homelessness story -
- [Well kids, today we learn a new phrase - "homeless rebound."]
Taking shelter in a downturn - Once homeless, some needing help again, by David Arnold, BG, C1.
...For Scott, the name this middle-aged man with a graceful manner chose to use to protect his identity the other day, life had bottomed out from booze a number of years ago. He was a frequent guest in homeless shelters.
Last summer, Scott had gotten his life together, with an apartment in Boston, an alcohol-free lifestyle, and a well-paying job in the city's tourist industry.
[That's in reverse order of importance.]
But tourism went into freefall after 9/11, and so did Scott's security. By his assessment, Scott's job is dangling by a thread; if it falls, his apartment will probably go with it. And he figures he will be headed back to a Boston homeless shelter soon, part of a new phenomenon advocates are calling homeless rebound: former clients who found jobs and permanent homes, only to wind up back at the shelter, victims of a sagging economy made worse by the terrorist attacks....
11/18/2001 3 weekend homelessness stories -
- California: An increase in homelessness, AP via NYT, A14.
San Francisco's one-night count of homeless people found 36% more than a year ago. The mayor's Office on Homelessness reported there were about 7,305 homeless in the city, compared wtih 5,376 last year. Officials attribute the increase to more people living outside in mild weather...
[Oh yeah, it's "their own free choice"!]
...and better census-taking. Advocates for the homeless said the reported numbers were too low.
11/10/2001 1 homelessness item -
- Murder shatters a street 'family' - 'They killed the purest thing' - Iin search of 'family,' she found death instead, by Burge & Stockman, Boston Globe, front page.
[Photo captions -]
- Clothes and a suitcase near the Harvard Square cemetery where homeless youths spend their nights.
- An undated high school yearbook photo of Io Nachtwey, a Hawaii native who was found stabbed to death this month in Cambrige MA at age 22.
- ...A memorial created by Nachtwey's friends at a Harvard Square hangout known as "the pit." It was there, authorities say, where Nachtwey met two teenage women who prosecutors say held her down while several others stabbed her. A total of six people are facing charges in connection with Nachtwey's slaying.
- Freeks and geeks - Harvard Square's 'Pit' under scrutiny after killing - After young woman's murder, Cambridge officials to meet on Pit - 'When I saw you were a reporter, I seriously wanted to hit you. All of a sudden, you want to know what's going on in our lives because there was a murder. You didn't care five years ago that people here were homeless.' Daher, a Pit regular, 20, from Waltham, who declined to give her last name, by Dorie Clark, BG, City 17.
A teenage girl panhandles inside the Harvard Square MBTA [subway] station while a friend looks on. The nearby "Pit" attracts a shifting crowd of area youth. [= photo caption]
...When the MBTA redesigned the Harvard Square station in the early 1980s and created "the Pit" - a depressed brick semicircle above the T stop on Mass Avenue - the kids adopted it. In the nearly 20 years since, a shifting pack of youth, roughly ages 14-25, has gathered there every day, with about 30 "regulars" at any given time.... Regulars describe the Pit as an idyllic, understanding place, but...two weeks ago, Io Nachtwey, a 22-year-old woman who hung out in the Pit and was known as Rook, was found viciously murdered, her body floating in the Charles River. Prosecutors, who have charged four men with murder and two women as accessories, say the killing resulted from the men's [blaming Rook for a] failed attempt to recruit homeless youths for a gang....
- Motel blues, editorial, BG, E6.
The soft economy offers little. But it loosens the real estate market slightly, creating a chance to move homeless families into homes. [Massachusetts] state officials should help this happen.
The hot economy drove rents beyond the reach of many families. Homeless shelters began to overflow.
[Now the bizarre twist -]
So in August 1999, the state's Dept. of Transitional Assistance started putting homeless families into motels. For example, 33 families, including 90 children, have been housed since the summer at the Red Roof Inn in Southborough. They are isolated on a highway, with no cooking facilities, no public transportation, and far from support services....
This is a huge defeat. By 1995, the state had eliminated the need to put homeless families in motels. Now the numbers are climbing. Last November, 71 families were in motels. And last year, the state spent $3.7m on motel rooms. This month, over 300 families are in motels.
Two programs could help....
By wrapping families in resources so they can succeed, these programs could ensure that public dollars are well spent. But this would only be a partial fix. Massachusetts still needs a master plan for housing poor families.
- ...Place homeless families in "scattered-site" units temporarily...a single apartment..\..instead of shelters where many families stay.... Using..\..scattered site units...is much faster than trying to finance and build more shelters.
- ...The rolling stock model in [which] a nonprofit agency uses its resources and clout to find apartments and negotiate with landlords. The nonprofit finds families that are ready to live independently, places them in the apartments, and provides the support services and initial rent money that families need to become stable tenants....
[No, Massachusetts, and the nation, need a master plan to make it much easier to gain marketable skills and earn a good living, for example, Timesizing. We can focus on the long list of details forever - housing, food, transportation, childcare, health insurance,... - without solving the fundamental issue. By perpetuating an antique, pre-automation 40-hour workweek now 61 years old and still rigidly frozen despite waves of automation and downsizing, we have loaded the natural market-demanded working hours on proportionately fewer and fewer people and flattened their pay and benefits regardless of their hours. We can continue with the Democrats' failed liberal policies of throwing money at the grocery list of detailed problems, micromanaging all the way, or we can attack the paper and ink of the list itself - our failure to share the vanishing work. Here's the same type of story on a national level by a standard "go back to the old failed welfare setup" liberal from tomorrow's NYT -]
The vanishing act - The loss of welfare and other help in tough times, op ed by Bob Herbert, 11/19/2001 NYT, A23.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose sharply in October, to 5.4%, the biggest jump in five years.... We will soon be hearing about the terrible difficulties jobless men and women will encounter when, after tumbling out of the labor market, they look around for a helping hand that is not there....
[No, don't let them tumble out of the labor market. Cut our obsolete workweek and share the vanishing work, and quit the failed liberal backbends that are too little, too late. The only adequate economic design for a rapidly automating economy is a flexible workweek that adjusts automatically against unemployment. As long as unemployment is too high or rising, the workweek adjusts downward. If unemployment ever gets "too low" (whatever that is, when you rule out controlling inflation by fostering unemployment - the Fed's self-cannibalizing NAIRU approach), the workweek can adjust back upward.]
10/31/2001 1 homelessness item -
- People in need criticize plans to close a center of help, by Barbara Stewart, NYT, B1.
The Family Assistance Center [FAC] on Pier 94 [NYC], set up by the city for people left jobless, homeless, bereaved or injured by the attack on the World Trade Center, is being dismantled, and the system replacing it is already generating complaints from volunteers and those seeking help....
Last Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, at the city's request, took over half of the building used by the FAC.... The Center offered a full buffet, child care and free access to telephones and computers..\..
But the main purpose of the FAC was to help the bereaved, not the jobless or homeless. \So\ the city-run side is closing in about two weeks...now that the number of bereaved people seeking help is dwindling..\..
10/30/2001 1 homelessness item -
- Washington [State]: More aid for homeless, by Matthew Preusch, NYT, A13.
Seattle's City Council voted unanimously to allot $2¾m more for the city's $14m budget for the homeless in the 2002 fiscal year, part of a compromise to keep a citizen's initiative to increase shelter financing off the November ballot. Up to 270 beds would be added over 18 months.
[Nice to know we can always get a bed in Seattle, if we can just ride the rails thru the Rockies in winter.]
For earlier homelessness stories, click on the desired date -
- Growing losses force Village Manor to close, by Liz Kowalczyk, BG, F3.
Village Manor Nursing Home in Hyde Park MA, which has taken in homeless residents for several decades, will shut down in 2-3 months because of growing financial losses.... More than 50 nursing homes in [Massachusetts] have closed since 1999. Executives at Village Manor said...they likely will find spots for all 88 residents at other Boston-area homes.
[But then, what'd you expect them to say.]
Dec/2000 & earlier.
For more details, see our campaign piece Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at the Harvard Coop (3rd floor) in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. 02138
Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.