Friday, October 9, 2009

Unfair Treatment of Homeless People

There is a two-level homeless shelter that is run by C.H.I. (Community Housing Initiative). Recently they have seen bed bugs in the facility upstairs. This is not an infestation, but they are hoping to nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem. To this end, they hired (expensively) a fumigator to come in today and fumigate. The clients who live there had to move all their belongings out of their respective rooms. If the clients had no other place to put the belongings, they could bag them up and place them in the basement until later this evening when every one is allowed to return. This is a good plan, and I commend C.H.I. for providing space for the client's belongings. After all, it is a homeless shelter... if people had a place to store their stuff, likely they wouldn't have to be in a shelter to being with.

What I do find unfair is the fact that all the clients had to take their clothes (clean AND dirty) and wash them, at their own expense. Whether the client has a job or not, or a family or friend's place to wash the clothes, they have to wash the clothes. All of them. Many of the clients do not have the financial means to do this. C.H.I.'s response to this? "What would you do if you were on your own? If you do not comply, you are free to return to the Department of Social Services and be rehoused". Many clients have children in school, and there is no gaurantee that DSS could rehouse them in a shelter any where near the schools. Sometimes DSS will put you in a motel, and the motels are horribly run- dirty and bug-ridden.

I find this extremely unfair to people who are in difficult situations who are trying to get their lives on track once again. All of the clothes we have currently (my husband, me, and the baby) cost us $72.00 to have washed. Why did we have them washed instead of washing them ourselves? Because we "need a receipt" as proof that they were truly washed, or they wouldn't be allowed back into the shelter. One poor girl simply didn't have the funds to wash the clothes, so she had to take herself and little baby and return to DSS. Who knows where they put her.


Nicomi "Nix" Turner said...

Very true and sad!

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