Posts Tagged relationship

Women and children kicked to the curb

Last week school started back up here in Dallas. Four women with children resided at “The Keep” at that time. On Monday morning the director of client services came in around 9 am and found out that these women didn’t have their children ready when the school bus came to pick them up. Needless to say, the children did not attend school that day.

The director of client services then had these four women, their children and their belongings loaded into the shelter van, a van that had been donated to the shelter to transport clients to and from work, doctors appointment and other constructive activities, and had them dumped in front of another shelter, thrown out on the street despite one of the desk supervisors at “The Keep” confirming via a phone call that the other shelter had no room for four women and their children. The driver was instructed by the director of client services “just leave them there and come back”.

Now here is where I am confused. If I were the director of client services and I made it my business to make sure the children get to school, would I not inform the mothers of when the children needed to be ready for the bus? Would I not be at the shelter at 7 am on the first day of school to make sure the moms had all the support they needed? And would I not call CPS if I thought the moms were neglecting their duty?

How were the children being helped, did the action of the director of services make a difference? They still did not get to school that day and not knowing where the children ended up, maybe back with their abusive father, I can’t say if they made it to school at all yet.

No one can convince me that four women conspired not to have their children ready that day! Somehow, and since I know the director of client services, I know someone didn’t do their job.

How can one provide services to the homeless when the shelter discharges people at 6 am in the morning until 1:30 pm, and the director of client services works from 9 am until 4 or 5 pm with an hour lunch in between?

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Take it in the teeth

Here is a public statement from the current executive director of  “The Keep”.

 “The biggest public perception is that these people are lazy and don’t want to work. With mental illness, somebody has to look after them with more compassion, more nurturing and more love.”

The following is a handout from “The Keep’s” executive staff to clients, expressing  “more compassion, more nurturing and more love”.  Since this communication is public domain, I see no need to remove the name of the organization.

To ALL Austin Street Clients:

“A letter full of lies, and unsigned, was sent to the State of Texas Parole Board and our Board of Directors about supposed terrible things being done at our shelter. I know this was not done by one person alone. Whoever wrote it had help. I don’t care who did it now. 

But I have said enough times, you will all take it in the teeth when someone does destructive things. I suggest you talk to the person that did it and tell them thanks for making your lives a little harder. 

No one is told they have to stay with us. Go somewhere else if you don’t like it. 

Start acting like adults and stand up for what you think is right. Men and women of character do this. Otherwise, complaining as no purpose. And people with guts don’t hide. Kids do. 

You are all adults; start acting like it. No one owes you anything. This shelter exists to help and care for you better than any other. Is this how to say thanks? 

No childlike behavior will be tolerated at all to any degree. Acting like adults is one part of moving forward.”

The executive director then “punished” all clients by not permitting admission to the shelter until 5 p.m. and left town. Upon his return the following Monday the “ban” was lifted.

“The Keep”  makes public promises to solicit money and I do believe it owes what it promises since supporters contributions are based upon those promises made.

And if the executive staff of  “The Keep” expects “Thank you”, they have no place working at “The Keep”. Nothing they do is a contribution, they get paid for their time and work, everything else comes from donors who deserve thanks and gratitude. And what does it say about a person’s character expecting “thank you” working in this field anyway? Is that a solid Christian way of thinking?

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Homeless people are needed

Homeless people are “homeless”, not coatless or sandwichless!  Sure, they do need temporarily help with clothing and food, but beyond that I have not seen one donor coming back “hey, I got a place for you to stay”. Why is that?

Those in need and those wanting to help have entered into a symbiotic relationship. On one side the needy have their short-term need answered by receiving a free coat and a sandwich and on the other the person providing the coat and sandwich feels good about handing out donations.

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Why nobody speaks out

Homeless  people are well aware that their well-being and safety depend on other people and contrary to common believe, most are  not “looking” for free handouts, but for a little help in getting back on their feet. Being aware that your fate is at the mercy of another person, having observed people being put down and thrown out of a shelter for no reason at all, you learn fast not to bring attention to yourself. After all, the only place you can go after being expelled from a shelter is the street. And you heard stories about life on the street. You also know that once you are put out by one shelter, you are going to be labeled a trouble maker by the next, word travels fast within the homeless community and rumors travel even faster.

Lets say Mrs. A has been banned by shelter 1 because she dared to ask for an umbrella while having to leave the shelter on a rainy morning because the shelter closes its doors at 6 a.m. every day until intake later in the afternoon. Mrs. A was told there are no umbrellas so she asked for a garbage bag. “We have no money to give you all garbage bags for free, this is a homeless shelter. Do you know what is costs to keep the lights on and the TV running all day? Don’t you enjoy your shower every day? Do you have any idea how hard I work to make sure you are loved and eat every day? Isn’t that enough for you? Now you want a garbage bag, you ungrateful woman! Why don’t you try to get one from shelter 2 and see how they treat you. Don’t you ever come back here!”

Everyone standing around and witnessing the event would not dare to tell the truth, everyone would agree Mrs. A had it coming and deserved to be barred. Self-preservation – because you never know who would hear what you say and whom they would tell. By the time Mrs. A got to shelter 2 or shelter 3 the news of her “ungrateful attack” on the director of shelter 1 was common knowledge.

Of course, this event never took place, the director was never at the shelter before 9 a.m., long after the homeless had left for the day, but the elements used are not fictional at all.

When you are desperate the lines between wrong and right easily become fuzzy and you are willing to do whatever it takes to survive.

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