Just Let Me Take Care Of The Homeless Like Ronald Reagan Wanted


In 1982, President Ronald Reagan quoted Billy Graham as saying: 
”If only every church took care of 10 welfare families, there would be no poverty problem.”
You could blame Republicans on outsourcing helping low income people to the private sector.
But Bill Clinton took it to the next level:
Building on policies that had been passed by Reagan, and a foundational principle of “personal responsibility,” TANF  [The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act ] added work requirements for aid, shrinking the number of adults who could qualify for benefits. This legislation also created caps for how long and how much aid a person could receive, and well as instituting harsher punishments for recipients who did not comply with the requirements.
It worked. People were kicked off of welfare left and right.

Which lead to this:

When you look at the most extremely low income (ELI) people in America they are getting hit the worst from welfare reform.
I’ll delve into it more deeply at another time. But we have very clear recorded history of “vagrants” since colonial times, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War… on and on.
People living in tents as vagrants or transients has always been a part of the American landscape.
But tent cities largely disappeared with our involvement in World War II as outlined in this amazing article: Tent City, America.

With the entry of the United States into World War II, and with the conscription of military-age men and the vast mobilization of the economy, the homeless colonies faded away.  And they would not return for decades… During the fat decades of postwar prosperity and low unemployment, tent cities largely vanished from the American landscape.

Tents cities started to come back in the 1970’s with the recession and oil embargo.
And then Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton became the architects for modern day tent cities. They both washed their hands of helping the poorest of the poor.
In 1990, the Cato Institute made an in-depth analysis of the shortage of housing for the poor:

The housing problem–particularly the shortage of housing for the poor–emerged as one of the major domestic issues of the 1980s and threatens to continue well into the next decade. The signs are everywhere. Homelessness has been a major concern for nearly 10 years. Rents have been absorbing ever-increasing portions of poor people’s incomes.

In 2013 the Urban Institute reports that  “Not a single county in the United States has enough affordable housing for all its extremely low-income (ELI) renters.”
Just to make this clear: if there is not enough housing for extremely low income people that means they don’t have a house to go to.
This isn’t some esoteric, hypothetical, intellectual naval gazing. PEOPLE HAVE NOWHERE TO LIVE.
That’s why we now have 20 people on our waiting list to get a tent in our tent city.
It’s just getting worse. And it looks like the current administration wants to continue outsourcing the homeless services business.
President Trump Calls For Drastic Cuts To Affordable Housing, February 12, 2018 | National Low Income Housing Coalition

President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request — released today — proposes drastic cuts to housing benefits that help millions of low income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and other vulnerable people afford their homes.

I’d be upset. But I see no end in sight of this trend. Not a single president since Ronald Reagan has done anything to reverse this trend.
I just play the game by the rules I’ve been given.
But here’s the thing…
The government won’t take care of these people. But then they turn around and tell me I’m taking care of these people the wrong way.
It’s like trying to help a person put out his house fire by bringing over my garden hose and spraying his house. The fire department shows up and tells me to stop spraying his house. I’m doing it all wrong. And then we all just stand around watching his house burn down.
If you don’t like the way I’m helping people who are American born refugees living stranded on the streets with no support system at all:


Don’t just tell me I’m doing it wrong. You do it better then.
This is absurd and ridiculous.
The federal government is getting out of the welfare business. State and local governments don’t have the money to do anything to resolve the issue. And then I get accused of helping the wrong way.
Fine. Help me help these people.
”If only every church took care of 10 welfare families, there would be no poverty problem.”
I’m not a church. But I am certainly called to do this work. I am willing to go to great lengths to fix the tragedy that is the Extremely Low Income people of America.
Play the game the national government want us to play. Stop complaining and get in the game with me.

5 thoughts on “Just Let Me Take Care Of The Homeless Like Ronald Reagan Wanted

  1. You want to see how hypocritical all churches are, have some of your people take sanctuary in a church! Not one would do it, most especially. The Catholic church a block from 15 Broad and St Vincent’s all the politician’s, Mayor for a Day and all the hypocrites in city jobs attend there? Not one of those churches would house the homeless!

  2. The government won’t take care of these people. But then they turn around and tell me I’m taking care of these people the wrong way.,,,you are doing an awesome job…you give all your time …someone should be paying you for that …My family came from a long line of men 1) working on the rail road 2) coal miners …and most of them had very little…then came the rubber workers…the restaurant workers…the Indians lived well for the most part off the land…until we took their land etc. Our churches used to feed the people …member or not…on Sunday …none of this seems to be enough …any more …I do know there are a lot of caring people in your community of helpers …I have seen the people you house move on to new jobs…self-employment …etc. it must seem eternity for those waiting to move on …all you or any of us can do is take one day at a time. The wait is hell. The war on drugs is not being fought strongly enough …ie prescription drugs are killing our youth and our elderly …there seems to be no band-aids

  3. Sage did and is doing a good job! He also attempted to educate the Akron Police department and mediate an understanding between the homeless and law enforcement. Like anything in Akron their fake and the Akron Police went againsted the Homeless and Sage. The police was and is the ear piece to the Mayor. The. Mayor never came to visit 15 Broad street. He made his mind up already based on the Community oriented Police officers, all biased and once again Akron Police have very big mortgages in Green, Hudson etc. High end cars and high maintance family! THEIR GOAL IS GETTING OUT OF THE INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS STREETS AND A DESK DUTY LIKE THAT OF THE MAYORS SPOKESMAN OR THE MAYORS LIAISON. THE C.O.P.S officer is able to walk out of 15 Broad st and tell the Mayor of Akron what he wants to hear, no Tents and these people can go to the shelters ! Your input is useless and enabling! That’s how fake and calculating the Mayor and the police are! You was tonight to trust the police, the whole time they or One particular officer worked against you and the residents! THATS HOW AKRON POLITICTIONS ROLL!! The whole thing also deflected blame from CSS and Portage Path who’s homeless dept are failures! And ran by people who make money off the MENTALLY ill and do nothing, but get paid!!!! CATCH 22!!!! You did and do something these little human couldn’t do, you found the most in need clients and helped them!

  4. Well said. It’s the ole quagmire: All the responsibility and none of the authority. It’s a recipe for failure. The ones with the authority wash their hands of the responsibility. The one’s taking responsibility have no authority. I guess that leaves… lawyers? They’ll come in an mop up and try and redistribute authority / power. But it’s a shame. The system is broken and no one holding power is interested in making substantial change. Likely because these folks don’t vote or have cash. Even those individuals in government who would like to make change cannot likely rally enough support or overcome bureaucracy (see homeless don’t vote or have cash). Lots of work to do. Lots of hearts and minds to sway. Keep it up. You’re doing important work.

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