Peace be with you
I wrote a letter to the editor of the North Coast Journal in response to two other letters in response to their article about the houseless family begging in front of the Cosco Corporation. I really believe it is important to recognize that there is a scam being run, in plain sight, and it is perpetrated by those considered to be pillars against those considered unwanted. That scam is intimidating the public to give any alms they would have given directly to the poor, to the service providers instead. Since the poverty pimps own stated logic is that they do a better job of providing “services” to the houseless it would be the better investment. I however, live in a town, and so did at least one of those letter authors, that shutdown its soup kitchen, public bathrooms, and public feedings. What do the poverty pimps do with the dollar you give them? They buy a new hot tube, or widescreen TV, or some other item for their house, while herding the hungry unhoused through mental health like cattle on their way to slaughter. This is theft. If I tell you to give me your rent and I’ll make sure the rent is paid, and it isn’t, then it is easy to call me a thief. If I tell you to give me your alms and I’ll make sure the houseless are fed, and they aren’t . . . – well it sure as hell ain’t no Mother Teresa. Though my letter might have a few (okay a bunch) of “grammatical errors,” I did go to all the trouble to change all terms “poverty pimp” into “service provider.”
Anyone who thinks the North Coast Journal (herein after, and probably ever after, referred to as “the Urinal”) isn’t a bias arm of the rightwing mainstream media machine needs to reconsider their position. When the truth is compromised in its paper it refuses to print alternatives to its lies. There are three basic ways a propaganda paper conceals their lies. They out and out lie, relying heavily on so-called experts to vocalize those lies, leave any contradicting truths conveniently absent. This is how the Urinal attacks those who are down on their luck and unhoused in Humboldt County. I hope I left no doubt that when you’re asked to take food out of a child’s mouth, so Fox can party her ass off, I consider it an attack of the most cruelest nature. It has always bothered me how we demand human rights in some foreign land, but we happily deny them here where we’re so-called liberals. The Urinal exemplifies this liberal tradition.
Attached is a letter that the editors wouldn’t print in response to lies they did print. Since I am not under any word limit as I would be if they had printed my letter, will take a few minutes to extrapolate on the issues I raised in it. To set the stage: There was an article written two weeks ago about a homeless family in Eureka. The North Coast Urinal then printed two letters in response to that article. Both letters were written by poverty pimps, one from a Nancy Corral, and the other from the poverty pimp poster child, Karen “fox in the Arcata house” Olson.
The basic gist of the letters was, “homeless people bad, poverty pimps good, give poverty pimps money instead of homeless people.” These two self-righteous, grant-whoring, “service providers,” wish you to not give a few pennies to the needy, but rather to give those crumbs to them instead. The notion that giving money to houseless somehow is destructive is simply not true and cannot be proven with any empirical evidence. Further the belief that giving money to poverty pimps, so they can continue their own personal self destructive behaviors, will somehow end homelessness by 2011 is also an unsubstantiated fabrication.
With 90 cents out of every dollar spent on homelessness in this country going into the bank accounts of poverty pimps, only 10 cents is left for “chronic homeless services.” Since only 1 out of 10 houseless people fit that “chronic” definition (see: HUD, USDHHS, and the VA) the amount left for feeding the economic refugees of our current “free-market” economy is basically what you and I feel compassion to give them. The only option left for these people is odd jobs, begging, and creating income (dumpster diving, recycling, etc).
We have no soup kitchen! The same poverty pimps advocated the pan handling law, but believe they should be allowed to beg for that same “spare change” to provide those non-existent services. As one studies the Nazi methodology in the genocide of “social outsiders,” one realizes that it was through “charity organizations” that the policies were performed, especially their policies towards those “with no fixed abode.” During the great depression the Nazis labeled the unemployed as “work-shy,” the cause of crime, genetically inferior, and interned them in “work-camps” to earn their “services,” and worked them to death. I have for some time now spoken of the houseless being the canary in the coal mine to the rest of society, and as people start advocating antiquated concepts that harm fellow community members, one should understand that it won’t stop at the annihilation of the unhoused.
This is part, and parcel, of a pattern of the “free-market” scheme, which with very little research one realizes is the same economic system put in place under the fascists (of any era). Now even groovy liberal Arcata has outlawed eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom for its entire houseless community. This bigotry is the desires of the wealthy to maintain a society expressly for their comfort and profit. As rents race through the roof and unemployment becomes a bigger part of everyone’s lives, the making of those who failed at the “freedom of the markets” game villains is the coldest of immorality. The profiting off of a campaign designed to increase hunger is the most ignoble of deeds, but to then state you did it “for their own good” is insincere thievery.
Even those that failed in the rat race, the unemployed, are not always the cause of their failure. Poor people have more outside interferences from child welfare services, special education, mental health drugging, police harassment, drugs and drug wars, unemployment, lack of health care, and all the goons hired to enforce those “free-market” ideologies against the impoverished. If we want an improved society for our grandchildren, then we need to dump those inadequate programs designed to divert actual aid into a privatization scheme. Nowhere is this truer than the way we treat those in whose shoes we someday might very well walk a few miles in. “Care not cash” programs are one of the most incipient programs we could ever get behind, because both objective and realistic care is not, and cannot, be realized through policies that year after year ignore the actual need of those they claim to be aiding. The caring of the community is never more realized than when someone kicks you a few bucks when you’re hungry, and don’t know where your next meal is coming from.
A wise elder once told me, treat everyone like they are an angle sent to check up on you. Nothing is more important in standing up to the divide and conquer tactics of global fascism then taking care of our own communities, especially those whose every option for survival has been co-opted by profiteers.
My objective was to get a view out there that countered the anti-houseless views held by the editor, the management of the Urinal, and those “behavioral and social science” grads trying to make bank on their degrees. Read the letter and pass it on. Just because they call each other “Mother Teresas” doesn’t mean they are. Without the life sustaining needs of the unhoused being offered, let alone being met, all the talk since 2001 of them “ending homelessness in ten years” is just that – bullshit rhetoric. Like the rest of Bush’s bullshit rhetoric about solving a problem, it has just made the problem worse. When they make you believe that it is the houseless, or any group, is responsible for societal ills we are retracing some ugly past footsteps. It is better that you “let thy left hand know not what the right hand doeth,” if you have some spare change pass it on. If we take care of one another, then there will always be someone to take care of you.
Peace be with you.
I read with interest your article about the houseless family begging at Cosco. I am of course saddened by their situation and perhaps more so about the complete lack of compassion the so-called service providers exhibited. What really got my goat were the two service providers that wrote letters in response to the article condemning the family. Both Nancy Corral, and Fox Olson, wrote letter to the editor asking that you not give money directly to the Long family, who must somehow be broken, and instead give the money to them.
Corral states that she has worked for 25 years in “non-profits,” and Olson simply claims to be a “provider.” Corral writes that “these services agencies (homeless services) rely on donations from community members.” Olson wrote, “I do not feel good about aiding folks who are ‘flying a sign.’ I would encourage people who want to help to make a donation to one of our Humboldt County non-profits.” The non-profits spend the majority of their money not on homeless services, but on salaries. Ninety cents out of every dollar spent through non-profits, to aid the houseless, goes towards overhead. In other words salaries for the above mentioned service providers.
Every since Bush’ Chronic Homeless Initiative, started in 2001, government financing of homeless services are to be directed towards those categorized as “chronic homeless.” The CHI, like many post cold war programs, are base on little actual science, and a whole lot of rhetoric. The policy is based on the theory that 10% of the houseless have a physical, mental, or substance abuse problem, which prevents them from getting off the streets. The problem with this policy is the arbitrariness of the classifying process. Service providers have the leeway to designate whom every they wish as chronic.
The federal government claims this initiative is achievable due to the fact that only 10% of the houseless population fits this special need. The fact that non-profits funding is based on the number of so-called chronic homeless, leads to a fraudulent dichotomy. In the eyes of the service provider all houseless people are of two categories – the chronic homeless, and the service resistant homeless. The fraudulence within this policy is no where more obvious than in the Humboldt County Mental Health Services Act Plan. In it, the plans states that 80% of Humboldt County houseless are mentally ill, and 90% are substance abusers. Not only are these figures extremely exaggerated, but when the “co-occurring” diagnose is added into the mix the number of chronic homeless quickly becomes more than the entire houseless population of the County.
Houseless people need things too. Tampons, diapers, toothpaste, ect. are needs that are neither given away by service providers, nor can be purchased with food stamps. If you gave Fox Olson the money the Long family would still be without those types of purchases. If you gave that money to the Longs they will use 100% of it for their needs.
Another point that I believe is often over looked in our zeal to accuse beggars of excessive profiting, is the fact that the houseless spend money that is given to them locally, and immediately. That same money given to a service provider will often disappear from the local economy as it gets turned into salaries for the two letter writers mentioned already. When I give a dollar to the beggar out in front of Safeway, that beggar goes into Safeway and spends that dollar. I wasn’t going to spend that dollar, otherwise I wouldn’t have it to give away. Therefore the store, that dislikes the beggar, makes more than if I had just done my shopping. In the article in question, the Long family spends that money on a nightly hotel room. This not only means profit for the hotel, but they are also paying the “transient tax” that supports our cities.
There is nothing forcing people to give money to a beggar beyond their personal morality. It is hard, degrading work, which I personally can‘t envision anyone choosing as their career. It is beyond idiotic to believe that by giving money to “service providers” who keep the majority of it for themselves, and have yet to even put a dent into the problem, you are somehow solving the problem. Giving to the need may not end homelessness any faster than the “free-trade” policies we now rely on, but I can’t put into words how much more a member of the community one feels when one has enough money to buy themselves their own food.
As a last thought I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who rises above the propaganda of the neo-social worker, and does the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. I certainly don’t wish to stop those supporting non-profits, but if you only have little, then direct aid will definitely go further than building a jobocracy for the already employed.