Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nobody Sleeps for Free

I have mixed feelings about the Salvation Army. Any criticisms I have appear unseemly; like labeling Mother Teresa a gang mol such as the likes of Christopher Hitchens are content to do. The "Army's" basic service infrastructure, and the fact that they are committed to an evangelistic mission, certainly leave the public with an impression that they are doing good with the homeless people who are their client base. However, they have established practices that bother me, namely:

1. After three nights, Salvation Army charges homeless men a fee of at least $10.00, but in some cases more. No one is exempt, no exceptions are made, although they will extend the time for no fee if a homeless person has verifiable income and is between checks. This practice was verified by the director of one for their local men's shelters.

2. In some cases, the homeless are required to turn over their food stamp supplement card over to the shelter for reasons they cannot explain.

3. The homeless are required to work in the thrift center operations and provide labor for free. After a number of weeks, they are paid seven dollars a week. This is in the adult rehab program, who are charged 80 dollars a week. This practice is also acknowledged by the Army.

4. It is alleged by a number of homeless people to me that the Army requires men to assign their SSA benefits to the shelter and are provided only $20.00 from their benefits. This was emphatically denied and then acknowledged as standard in their "SSI Unit."

Last time I looked, the Salvation Army was the third highest charity recipient of individual donations amounting to $800,000,000.00. Plus they receive federal and state/local grants, plus proceeds from their thrift shops, plus extortion money from homeless guys as deliniated above. There are other shelters where I live. Two that I know of don't have this practice of shaking down homeless people for $300.00 a month in rent. In fact, the Safe Haven program doesn't even turn away people who have been drinking, which I strongly endorse as more compassionate. Salvation Army requires breathalizer tests performed nightly.

The SAMM shelter provides the following statement on their website:

"SAMMinistries has a 330 bed capacity in its downtown Commerce Street shelter. Every guest is offered meals generously prepared and served by our collaborative partner, St. Vincent de Paul Society. We also offer access to social services, medical care, mental health care, opportunities for spiritual nurturing and growth, legal assistance, support groups for substance abusers, life skills training, and nurturing parent training, available to all guests. All these services are provided at no expense to our guests with the intent of helping them to obtain employment and then moving them into longer term transitional living or affordable permanent housing."

For some reason, Salvation Army does not provide many of the services that SAMM and other homeless programs offer. They do have a transitional program that offers small apartments in two units run by the Army under a HUD grant - they collect the rent.

The shelter is a mean place I am told. Everyone is thrown out during the day where they get hassled by the police, are victims of crime, and right next door is a park where drugs can be readily purchased.

I'm not sure what they are trying to accomplish. Perhaps "tough love"? Whatever it is sounds lucrative. And they way things are nowadays, they're going to have a lot more customers.


At 6:11 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

I once knew a guy that worked at Goodwill and he was really down on their operations, although I'm not sure old Spike was ever happy anywhere..
How far have we come since Dickens' day? We've traded workhouses for shelters, orphanages for foster care, and asylums for jails and bus stations. Does the Schlafly Bible say "Devil take the hindmost?"

At 8:18 AM , Blogger liquiddaddy said...


From speaking with them, it was clear to me that they hold a large segment of their consumers in utter contempt. I say, Guys, hate the sin not the sinner.

p.s. you better come to the Haunted House on 11th in the Houston Heights at the Karate School starting at 3:00 p.m. to hear Judge Hoarse sing for free, ya hear? (that means you, yer honor)


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