P O S T E D B Y S A L L Y
Bill Schambra replies to my earlier post about his remarks at a recent meeting of foundation staffers and trustees on the subject of combatting poverty:
“Thanks for … including in your posting the picture of Mrs. Taylor and the link to Family House. That’s one way she supports herself, along the lines of Ms. Wilde’s helpful suggestion that she rely on ‘development of local support for their work.’ So is committing every spare moment to pitching Family House to congregations and voluntary groups in the suburbs of Milwaukee, picking up a couple hundred dollars here and there, painstakingly putting together her annual budget in amounts that the average foundation spends every week on plant rental.
“Of course, she is in fact funded directly and indirectly by government in all sorts of ways—some of her residents are on SS or SSI, Family House itself receives some money through the state’s community-based senior facilities program. Government should take care of seniors … government should take care of educating kids … government should do a lot of stuff. The problem is it does a lousy job. That’s why even the city police drop off homeless seniors at Family House in the middle of the night—they know she’ll take them without the incredible bureaucratic hassle that they get at the ‘official’ facilities.
“Of course, she then has to fight like hell to complete the paperwork to get what the government owes her, and she’s been known to show up at the county offices where her reimbursements are backed up and threaten to camp out until she’s paid. But hey, that’s just how government ‘guarantees the health and well-being of seniors by underwriting services for the elderly.’ Foundations can’t concern themselves with that. With just one more comprehensive collaborative consortium, they’ll figure out the root causes of poverty among the elderly, and eliminate it once and for all.”