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Are homeless a fair measure of a society?


Bruce Tuncks
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On reading about special measures for homeless during the virus emergency, it occurred to me that the percentage of homeless is good measure of the worth of any society.

I was deeply shocked at the homeless I saw in the US years ago, thinking foolishly that such an awful thing would never be seen here.

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It's an indictment on our Health priorities that very many of the homeless you see around our CBDs are people affected by mental illness. The wholesale closure of psychiatric hospitals which allowed people to have their food and shelter needs provided for while they tried to deal with the demons in their minds has cast these poor souls onto the street. We can put the "wino" amongst the mentally ill. There are probably many more "hidden" homeless who rely on the good will of others for a place to sleep, if not more. These "hidden" homeless are the product of destroyed family units.

 

One advantage that our unfortunates have over The USA, in particular, is that Australian workers will accept that paying a small increase in personal tax is the most efficient way to provide funds for controlled welfare support. "There, but for the grace of God, go I" sums up the Australian view of charity.

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" of God, go I" sums up the Australian view of charity. "

 

Until you hear or see the Charitable CEO & Cohorts driving around in their Limousines.

UK, a couple of those CEOs were driving Bentley,s .

A children's charity takes in $ millions, but for every $240 ,only 50 cents got to those children.

Isn't St Vinny,s charity Owned by two brothers, both squillionaires.

Makes you keep your hands in your pocket.

spacesailor

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Spacey, learn a bit about English language sayings before you charge off in the completely wrong direction.

 

If you are talking about someone who is in a bad situation and you say 'There but for the grace of God go I', you mean that you are lucky not to be in the same situation as them and you feel sympathy for them.

 

The saying allegedly comes from a from a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford" in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution. Bradford was a Protestant cleric who was burned at the stake in 1555 in the reign of Mary Tudor, a Catholic.

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I was lucky then to get off with just being told I was a bastard because my parents were not married in "their" church. Burned to a steak in the rain. .That's a bit horrible.. Actually My ancestors left the North of England for similar shenanegens 304 years later than that abominable behaviour. Nev

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I agree that the homlessness is, amongst other things, a measure of a fair society. And I agree with Spacey, but it is not limited ot the CEO. It is well known that when going fund raising, the poorer areas tend to give more than the affluent areas. That does not mean affluent people don't donate - they do andusually on a systematic basis....

 

But, OME has it on the head - not only the Aussie government - many governments just don't have their priorities right. And that is because most of the voting population are relatively ignorant to their plight, and when there are no votes in something, regardless of how important it is, it is rare a (democratic) government will do things where votes aren't going to flow from unless it is a pet project of the leader or minister. So, homelessness is an indictment on a society that no longer cares, otherwise, it would be a prominent issue if it was getting out of control (actually, over here, it was an issue at the last election)

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Space, you have a point, which I take to mean that you need to be careful when you give to a charity that your money is actually going to the correct beneficiaries. I recommend that you choose the most direct and grass-roots charities you can find.

We were advised by a funeral director to not give money to the official cancer research lot... " it all goes to millionaires " he said.

But having said that, who can argue against what OME has said?

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Space, you got me worried about Vinnies. I looked them up and they appear to be a fairly democratic lot acting under the auspice of the Catholic church. But from their publicity, this catholic connection is hard to find. The authority seems to come from an international "conference".

And I don't think there is much money generated from what they do. There was an op-shop around where I live which closed rather than pay a rental hike.

I'm not Catholic, but Vinnies is what I would have considered a good charity. Please tell me more.

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The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a charitable organization dedicated to the service of the poor, established in 1833 by French university students, led by the Frederic Ozanam. The society is today present in 132 countries. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded to help impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, France. The primary figure behind the Society's founding was Frédéric Ozanam, a French lawyer, author, and professor in the Sorbonne. Frédéric collaborated with Emmanuel Bailly, editor of the Tribune Catholique, in reviving a student organization which had been suspended during the revolutionary activity of July 1830. Ozanam was 20 years old when he founded the Society.

 

Gerald Ward was born in London in 1806 and was recruited for the Melbourne mission by the pioneering father, later bishop, Patrick Geoghegan. Ward was familiar with SVP from London and, observing the plight of the poor after the Victorian gold rush, established the Society in Australia in 1854. Ward served as its first president and helped establish the SVP orphanage in South Melbourne.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The amount of donated money that gets to the intended recipients is probably a very small percentage. I recently heard that less than 50% of money donated to bushfire victims, has got to them and at the same time I hear that nothing is being done to fix their problems. I would not donate to red cross after their Tsunami appeal, which mostly went to their general funds.

It is not far to the next bushfire season and there appears to be plenty of fuel about, so look out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's my idea on fixing the plight of the homeless... Get them and the unemployed to build simple small houses on government-owned land. There is lots of this around.

Have the house allocation done very early so the homeless can help build their own place. Garnish their benefits a bit ( but not too much, say $50 a week ) to help pay for things.

Have a grumpy retiree volunteer or two making sure that value for money is achieved in the process.

As winter comes on, it is even more cruel to have homeless people around.

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For very many homeless people, its not the lack of buildings that makes them homeless. It's mental illness in many forms from sadness, through addictions to severe biochemical disorders. Closing our mental hospitals was an insensitive thing to do. Even if some of these people cannot be cured of their illness in an hospital, at least institutionalising them takes care of their basic welfare needs. But, re-opening mental health institutions will never make a profit, so it won't happen. Besides, mentally ill people can't be conned into voting for pork-barrelers.

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I know you are right OME, but I still can't cope with the idea of people being outside on these cold nights. I reckon we could get around space's objections with buildings like tents, only better. Yes it might need some legislation, but the buildings would be simpler than bricks and mortar.

The fact that there is no clamor for such things is interpreted by me to mean that the so-called bleeding hearts are not nice people at all. Like the american christians, I think they actually like seeing suffering.

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I think building them homes orproviding shelter is only a band-aid solution to the problem.. As OME says, the issue is more complex and requires a lot of resources and money to support. Providing them shelter will only ever be temporary and as OME says, they are unlikely to be vote winners and I would wager the general public see them as bludgers or down on their luck - down and outers - but not with some of the serious illnesses that beset them. Some can pull through, but others are condemned to their illness forever and the best we can hopefor is that they learn to manage it. Either way, on top of the shelter, the resources to support, rehab, manage are required and due to our culture and societal structure, they are the forgotten ones nobody cares about.

 

Sometimes, however, it is isn't.. I know of a bloke who had a small business and as he had personal guarantees on some of the debt, when it all went south he lost everything and was on the streets - but he bounced back. An ex work colleague was living in his car after he left his wife but couldn't afford to keepthe roof over his family's head and a separate one for himself. But eventually, it all worked out. When I was working in San Francisco, I read about a vagrant who emerged from the homelessness and metnal condition that trapped him there to get a job (I think bus driver from memory) and back to the path of a decent life... But it took resources and help to get him there, after he decided he was prepared to surmount the challenges.. a decision which, for mentally ill people, is most difficult (think of overcoming phobias, etc).

 

Still, of course, providing shelter is better than nothing... However, they compete with many other needy people for resources...

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A wise psychologist once confided to me:

"All humans are born FITH. Some grow out of it, others never will."

 

Mental health support is perhaps the most important investment we could ever make in this world. Far more important than politics, religion, or the economy. Sad to say it is mostly ignored by everyone.

It is the most common cause of homelessness.

 

A roof over one's head is nice to have, and it is easier to provide than real help. But when life turns to crap, it doesn't mean much to a person who is having trouble simply living with themself.

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