Poverty Profits

A peek into what occupies my time at work-

Dear Governor and Esteemed Bureaucrats:

I have been contacted by an impoverished, disabled, functionally illiterate, mother who tells me she has been directed by someone at HUD to call us for charity work. While I would very much like to be able to assist her in returning her home to a safe, living environment, I am responsible for providing our employees with a livable wage and, as I am sure you can appreciate, I must generate income to do that.

I realize that sequestration is in place, that funds are lacking, but surely there are monies available. If all of the agencies contributed small amounts, this woman afflicted by ADHD, anxiety disorder, borderline agoraphobia, peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, crushed cervical disc, spinal tumors and spinal stenosis, who walks with a cane and wears a leg brace, may be able to stay in the home that she purchased through government’s magnanimity to help those people who might not otherwise know the joys of home ownership.

Since I have never met the woman, who called me crying because I was her last hope and her last phone call, I can’t testify to the quality of her character, which may be so lacking that she is somehow deserving of her status as a marginal human being. She has a cat. Her 7 year-old daughter has allergies and she has an air filtration apparatus in her bedroom so that she may sleep more comfortably. I understand that having a child with allergies and a cat in the same household is counterintuitive. When she called the town for assistance she was told she did not qualify because she has “extras”. I had no idea what she meant. It seems that impoverished people are not allowed pets, or environmental embellishments, without a doctor’s prescription, if they hope to receive emergency public assistance. Her monthly entitlement allotment is $718.00 SSDI and $148.00 DHS; she receives food stamps too.

Now, she is afraid she will lose her home and/or her child because she is causing a disturbance. She has a fifth grade education. I’d like to see my tax dollars at work for something I believe in. I believe in helping people who are unable to help themselves. I do not believe in pay raises and perks for those who would deny sanitary living conditions to the poor and disabled. Kindly advise me of what we might be able to do, collaboratively, to help her.

With deepest gratitude for your commitment to public service,

Elroy Jones

This is the real economy. In this state there has been embarrassing misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund recuperative retreats, at lovely B&Bs, for overwhelmed and overworked state employees. Time has been frittered away at the State House on which treat should be designated the official state dessert. There has been negligible oversight of agency budgets, which has allowed embezzlers to live the dream. Municipalities are missing money, with embarrassing frequency, because there are no dual controls in place to protect the taxpayers’ contribution to the public good.  Meanwhile, private sector workers struggle to maintain what they have while the cost of living increases to unsustainable levels and micro employers are expected to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves as the cost of doing business skyrockets.

The woman, who called me for help, cries each time we talk. She thanks me. I tell her not to because I haven’t done anything yet. I want to help her. I want to donate the labor and materials it would take to restore her environment but I cannot afford to work for free. We are not posting huge quarterly profits. Our management receives no dividends.


About elroyjones

Equal Elroy, searching for the best answer.
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22 Responses to Poverty Profits

  1. Peggy says:

    Did you send the letter? Oh, I know you will. Of course it won’t do any good but it will feel good. Is there a way we can do something on, say, Kickstarter or some other organization? I know FB and social media has done well with revolutions; perhaps we can make it work to our advantage here just to get her the services she needs. Do your blog friends have any ideas? I think we can make this work, O&D.

    • elroyjones says:

      I’m going to call the Rotary and area churches today. Yes, this has gone to state reps for her district, HUD, and the governor’s office. DHHS does not offer electronic contact information. We talked a little bit about making a humanitarian effort and trying to do the work for free, if we are in a position to do that, later on this summer but she really needs help now. I am trying to maintain her confidentiality so am holding off on social media for the time being.

      • Peggy says:

        Very good thinking about the Rotary and local churches. I always forget to go locally. This in itself is time consuming so it’s one more thing on your plate. I find it simply amazing that someone at HUD passed the buck to a company just to get themselves off the phone. They should be embarrassed. Good for you!

  2. I love the fact that you seem to think that things might get better. I have lost the will to fight.

  3. Peggy says:

    Agreed that there are lots of stories but: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.
    You go Elroy and you just let me know if you need me to do anything. Committed people helped me and look how good I turned out!

    • elroyjones says:

      Look at how good you turned out! I LOVE to tell people about you because I am PROUD of all that you have accomplished. You are one of the women whose shoulders the young women of the generation following us are standing on.

  4. Peggy says:

    Oh, and she also said this: “I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” – Margaret Mead.

  5. Peggy says:

    Thanks for the kudos but if I had not have had people who took an interest in me, things would have/could have been rough. People NEED other people to help them. It’s what makes us human.

  6. maesprose says:

    I’ve been reading backwards…. now I know what you did!

  7. jatwood4 says:

    Thank you, elroy jones, for stating the condition of our state so clearly and concisely. I am in a slightly better financial position that your client, but I still receive less than $1000 per month SSDI and food stamps. Sadly, our food prices have made eating a balanced diet with vegetables and genuine foods and fruits impossible, yet our state Dept. of Health and Human Services believes that $16.00 is an adequate food stamp allotment. I am fortunate in that I can still work a few hours a week, but mismanagement of funds in state government, and a governor who has no regard for those less fortunate, combine to create a frightening and stressful environment. And finally, our esteemed governor makes rude and totally inappropriate public statements, for which he apologizes only after the entire world has heard him, and as a result thinks that all of us in our state are as ignorant, rude, and uncivilized as he is. Please pardon my rant, but I feel fortunate that at least I know you also recognize the ridiculous state of finances and government in the state that claims to be “the way life should be.”

    • elroyjones says:

      Hi Judith! Most of us are vulnerable so we need to help people to the best of our abilities when the opportunity presents itself. I despair at the level of disconnect in our society. Who we are is what matters not what we have.
      HUD asked if our company was on the preferred provider list; we’re not and I’ve no real desire to be. It seems to me that any business that offered discounted services to help someone in need would be preferred!

      • jatwood4 says:

        So true. HUD is involved in the administration of my landlords, our local Housing Authority, and apparently they are completely disinterested with helping anyone who doesn’t fall within their strict requirements. We have open fraud in one situation here as we speak, but because the person involved retaliated against her very responsible boyfriend, who reported her as a neglectful mother, by accusing him of abuse — a very dubious claim. Because she made this claim, DHHS and HUD insist that she be allowed to stay here, despite repeated incidences of breaking lease rules — giving out keys to our secure building to her friends. Meanwhile, another woman, who tries to work a few hours a week, is denied HUD housing assistance due to too much income. Makes me want to scream sometimes!

      • elroyjones says:

        Hi Judith. I was surprised and impressed to learn that the governor’s office was instrumental in getting assistance for the woman who contacted me. It was a call from his office that initiated the HUD response. I checked in with the woman yesterday to discover that agencies have been most helpful and attentive to her plight. As you know, I am a liberal Democrat; however, I believe the media is not unbiased in its presentation of all things political.

      • jatwood4 says:

        I am glad to hear that our esteemed governor’s office helped. Frankly, though, I bet it was someone else in the office who initiated it. I know no media is unbiased any more, a trait of Walter Cronkite’s I really miss. But I still believe our Gov himself is a pig — the things he does right have more to do with his staff than his “state as business” policies; and he acted so ignorantly on the occasions when his statements went out to the world. He should be happy I don’t make the decision about his job!

      • elroyjones says:

        You do make the decision about his job when you vote, if it still counts… .

      • jatwood4 says:

        Sadly, between the Democratic candidates splitting the vote, he’s almost guaranteed reelection. 😦

      • elroyjones says:

        Oh yeah; you’d think they’d learn.

      • jatwood4 says:

        Just a little solidarity would really help.

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