Monday, June 11, 2012

House keys as hand outs

Pictured at right is something that was in my email inbox this morning.

Make no mistake, I am all for everyone being happy, but my immediate reaction to this missive was despair because I know what really goes on here.

For one thing, this effort to give "homes" to every homeless person [or, whatever the goal is] means that many people who haven't worked much in their life are leaping ahead of other people -- who have never been homeless -- who have worked all their lives and make something close to minimum wage.

It's a big deal to me that we should live in a society that properly honors and incentivizes work.

Ted and others [veteran all] that are depicted in the websites that 'link-out' from this 'presentation' all seem to have gotten very nice apartments with like-new furniture.

Nothing is said about what Ted (or the others) will now be doing with their time now that they have nice digs.  Likely, that is because their income comes from multiple disability payments homeless-services charities and veterans out-reach organizations have arranged for them to get.  Thus the moola comes gratis as it were, with no claims against Ted's time.

Homeless veterans are in particular reaping a windfall these days by piling up on disability claims, a great many of which are (let's face it) wholly bogus.

Outside of outward physical injury, many claims for benefits come from pain that cannot be proved to exist and mental disorders that can be faked.  Lawyers and homeless-aid agencies are "in on" the drive to get people an income stream that is necessary to secure these new housing situations.  Indeed, the lawyers, I am told, will tell a disability-claim applicant what to do and say to maximize chances of getting a claim approved for the highest amount.  For example (it's no secret, anymore), a claimant should always say his pain is at least an 8 when asked to name the degree of pain on a scale of one to ten. Also, applicants are told how to appear mentally incapable of doing work.

I am also told that V.A. employees and outreach groups are also "in on" the effort to get guys checks no matter how dubious the disability claim.  Again, here, applicants are let in on the secrets of how best to respond to get approved and get maximum dollars.

Usually, from what I understand, someone like Ted will pay one-third of his rent out of his new income stream while the rest of his rent is paid by the government.  Ted will have enough left over to have an OK life, without luxuries, and will have no claims on his time.  My wild guess is that Ted is now 40 years old gets $900 in Social Security Disability and $600 in Veteran's Disability.  $500 goes to rent; $1000 is left for him to live on.

What homeless people don't get in a juicy deal like this is meaning for their lives, and often, someone with a resume like what I assume Ted's to be -- in the military two years; out on the street drinking and drugging for the great majority of the last 20 years -- are not suddenly going to have a new life's course mapped out.

[Note:  Ted, of course, is A REAL PERSON, but since in the presentation he is put out their as typical for those that 100,000 Homes is helping, I think it is fair for me to fill in numbers and circumstances of what I believe is typical for what spare facts we've been given.  No offense, Real Ted!  Thus, the "Ted" I am portraying is an imaginary, filled-out Ted who is what's actually typical, from my  understanding.]

What often seems to happen is that guys like Ted know homeless services [such that they can continue to get their survival-needs met] and then use the $1000 they are getting free and clear to continue to pursue immediate pleasures -- like playing around, drinking and drugging.

Thus, all the money funneled to the Teds of the world is VERY often ill-used and never ends up bringing "Ted" sustained happiness or in making a bona fide productive citizen out of the man.  Plus the minimal affluence he has been given is not deserved or earned -- nor "fair" when so many others struggle to make ends meet while always fully providing for themselves and their family.

We live in Hard Times.  But I would insist that the effort to help the homeless cannot be one of manufacturing disabled people.  Who does that really help -- other than horrid homeless-help agencies and vulture attorneys that grab a share of the loot for themselves in various ways in these scenarios.

The effort to help solo men and women who can function is to get them some work immediately [which can include volunteer work] and a realistic goal for their future that they determine for themselves. From that necessary start, a pathway for a return to "responsible citizen" is created and sustained happiness is possible.

Certainly, people who are truly disabled need an income stream and help not wholly dissimilar to what's depicted in the email missive.  But here, too, we cannot just be air-dropping people into a nice house and thinking that is the end-all.
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Here an NPR story from two weeks ago about the ferocious increase in veterans' disability claims: "Disability Claims Rise Among Veterans."  If we cannot find better ways to identify false claims we will steal yet more from the next and future generations of Americans.  Happily, one new means to verify claims of pain may come in the next few years.  Scientists are making headway in seeing the pattern for an experience of pain in brain scans.

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