Far too often, I have heard some version of this sentiment applied to people on the roughest fringes of the social spectrum: homeless, disabled, indigent. It seems to come with an implication that the people in question live off the hard work of “the rest of us”, absorbing handouts without contributing “their share” to the overall good. And the suggested consequences are addressed at correcting this perceived imbalance: make them work for their food stamps, for their government subsistence; curtail their options and test them to be sure they aren’t enjoying themselves. Or worse.
All because “they don’t work”.
Sacred Grove has observed and learned a lot in the past 2 decades, through our own work of helping individuals who have fallen through the governments’ safety nets (so to speak).
Did you know….
Someone who has no reliable source of income and no home, in order to stay alive, must devote most of their time and effort to:
- finding a safe place to sleep for the coming night,
- finding a way to secure their possessions against theft and vermin,
- securing enough food and clean enough water to meet bodily needs,
- finding a safe and sanitary place to relieve themselves,
- complying with mandates of law enforcement authorities, and
- evading attacks at the whim of predators?
Far too many jurisdictions are making the above actions as difficult as possible for the homeless, to the extent of:
- replacing public benches and other places to sit with beds of spikes,
- decreasing the availability of public restrooms,
- destroying tents and possessions found on public land, or
- arresting people who try to help.
Acquiring help through the safety net requires time and effort (more so without a vehicle or the ability to drive one) :
- finding potential sources of help,
- completing applications and attending interviews,
- proving one’s need and inability to acquire and hold gainful employment, and
- negotiating with all the forces endeavoring to restrict that help to the least level.
Yes, they work.
At this time, in the US, monthly help from the Social Security Administration for someone unable to work and without income is less than $800. Even with SNAP, that is barely enough to live on without securing additional benefits. Many states minimize the support they provide.
Now you know.