July 3, 2008

Crossroads and the Issue of Charity

Monique Chartier

The website of Crossroads, Providence, describes it as "a national leader in providing a continuum of care to the homeless". This post is in no way a criticism of its staff, who are undoubtedly dedicated and work very hard, or of those residents who find themselves in genuine straits.

On his blog Rescuing Providence, in the process of relating his conversation with a young lady he was transporting, Lieutenant Michael Morse says this about Crossroads.

Our rescues are called there daily for assaults, overdoses, drunks and every reason you can think of, then some. The clientele there is poisoned with chronically homeless people who know the system and how to abuse it.

Doesn't this get to the crux of the question of charity, whether publicly or privately funded? If you - in this case, Crossroads - set out to help people, how do you 1.) stop your good intentions and deeds from being abused and 2.) ensure that you are not faciliating an individual's self-destructive behavior?

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This is a very important issue.

The Democrats love throwing taxpayer money at social problems, but what about government accountability? Have these huge social expenditures ever been audited to make sure they are going where intended, or even that they are creating the desired results in society?

The 800 lb. gorilla in the corner is welfare fraud. You don't hear much discussion of it in RI. I wonder why? Is it because it doesn't exist, or maybe because the poverty pimps depend on it?

Another major question to ask is why the taxpayers should be involved in something that the private sector can't accomplish?

Maybe throwing taxpayer money at people with mental illnesses only impoverishes the taxpayers. Sorry for my heresy.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 3, 2008 5:03 PM

There are two kinds of homeless-the chronically homeless who are usually either mentally ill,drug dependent or alcoholic.
Then there are the situationally homeless-put out by fire;landlord got foreclosed on;maybe they got foreclosed on;women with kids abandoned,etc.In other words something happened to them.
the two groups shouldn't be mixed.
I truly don't know about the first group-we used to public institutions where they at least could be clean,get three squares a day,and maybe get treatment.Then along came the ACLU and the civil libertarians and the institutions were closed and the inmates were dumped into the street-they called it community treatment-it was nonsense-they got handed money and were expected to live normally-of course the first thing they did was not take their meds-so it all spiraled downward first.Maybe we ought to open a drop in center for them near Charlie Bakst's house or Steven Brown's house in Barrington.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 3, 2008 6:54 PM


I like your idea. It's time to open a center next door to Charlie Bask and Steve Brown. Poetic justice, indeed.

Also, you almost have to feel bad for poor Michael Morse, he of "Your a Chump if your not getting yours" fame.

He seems to have to spend the majority of his time with leeches "who know the system and how to abuse it."

If he's not dealing with the homeless that know how to abuse the system, he's down at the Firehouse with his Union pals, led by none other than Lazy-Ass Pauly "No Show" Doughty, who failed to show up for 3+ years to the job he was well paid to do by the taxpayers.

I'd say that qualifies Michael Morse to be an expert on leeches that know how to abuse the system.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 3, 2008 8:22 PM


To clear this up once and for all (assuming you're actually interested in that goal) you've missed the meaning of Michael's quote. "You're are chump if you aren't getting yours" is the attitude he believes is harmful to society. Here's the original question that spawned it, and the whole answer

Anchor Rising: You see a broader swath of Providence than most. In Rescuing Providence, you write about calls involving street people, college students, long-time residents in their homes, elderly residents in high-rises, bad drivers on route 95, and many others. Seeing all these different in the course of a day, do you feel like you're dealing with one society with many faces that has the power to pull itself together if it could figure out how, or are there different, isolated societies all trying to occupy the same space

Michael Morse: I love this question. A few years ago I thought we might be able to pull together and work it out, now I’m not so sure. There are different worlds out there, and nobody makes an attempt to understand the world other than their own. Racism is rampant, not just in white who people pretend to like everybody but hold on the prejudices as well as anybody, but in Black people and Hispanic people and Asian people too. I sometimes wonder how we are holding it all together. The things I see I truly can’t believe are happening five minutes down the road from my home. There is an attitude of corruption that can be felt in the inner neighborhoods. “What can we get from “the man?” seems to be sport. There is no shame in getting handouts; rather it is considered bounty, and something to be proud of. You are a chump if you aren’t getting yours. Terrible.
Perhaps if you put a little more effort into understanding people with whom you disagree, but who are willing to honestly engage, rather than spouting the same talking points in response to the mention of certain names or professions with a regularity that brings to mind Pavlov's dogs more than anything else, then you wouldn't miss important details like this.

Posted by: Andrew at July 4, 2008 9:18 AM


With all due respect, WHAT's YOUR POINT?

I am quite familiar with the details of Mr. Morse's comments.

If you were implying that I was taking a shot at Mr. Morse, you are wrong.

I agree with him with respect to the issue Monique raised.

In fact, I was empathizing with him, given that, based on his own words, he spends an inordianate amount of time (e.g. "DAILY" visits to places like Crossroads) dealing with, and in the company of, people who "know the system and how to abuse it."

His observation that there are people that abuse the system, coupled with his comment... "There is an attitude of corruption that can be felt in the inner neighborhoods. 'What can we get from the man?' seems to be sport. There is no shame in getting handouts; rather it is considered bounty, and something to be proud of. You are a chump if you aren’t getting yours"..., in my opinion, fit like a glove when describing Mr. Morse's Union Pwesident, Lazy-Ass Pauly "No Show" Doughty, who for 3+ years did NOT to show up to the job that the Taxpayers were paying him to do.

Indeed, there is/was an attitude of corruption in the neighborhood FD.

Do you disagree Andrew?

I realize there are some folks, like Tom "Giving Selflessly" Kenney, who bristle under the belief that Mr. Morse's words were somehow taken out of context, and you seem to be in that camp.

But the fact is that Mr. Morse's words apply equally to some lazy-ass able-bodied citizen taking Taxpayer handouts and abusing the system AND some lazy-ass Union Pwesident taking a lucrative paycheck and benefits from the Taxpayers and NOT showing up to do the job he was paid to do.

With respect to Pavlov's dog, I assume you are referring either to Mr. Morse's Union whining daily about "not having a contract" (as evidenced by
their silly & obnoxious sign on South Main St.) or to the frequent "Rescue Me" / "Giving Selflessly" / "We are the only people that have dagerous jobs, therefore we are ENTITLED" rants of the PFD bloggers?

By the way Andrew, we are all looking forward to an update of your Pension analysis ...the one you prepared when supporting the "Walshian Assumptions", particularly in light of the REALITY of the current markets, which have dropped to levels seen 2+ years ago.

Or perhaps, like Mr. Walsh, you've figured out that the "assumptions" don't really matter, 'cuz the beneficiaries "get theirs" regardless of the returns.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 4, 2008 10:51 AM

This, of course, is the same George Elbow who slams me for disrespecting the Mayor of Providence, once, but is himself incapable of making a post without at least one insulting reference to Paul Doughty and/or Tom Kenney.

Both of whom would still risk their own necks to save his miserable life in spite of it all.

In answer to Monique's questions, I'd say it's damn near impossible.

It's like hospital policies on pain management- you already know ahead of time that defining pain as a vital sign (like heart rate or blood pressure) per JCHAO standards and treating it will result in chronic drug-seekers getting their fix (usually on the state's dime).

But if you withhold medication based on your personal sense of what's "real" pain, studies prove that people who actually need the relief won't get it.

Screwed either way.

Posted by: EMT at July 4, 2008 2:26 PM


Try to pay attention and take your hero-worshipping glasses off for a while, as they clearly cloud your judgement, if not ability to read the English language.

I NEVER "slammed" you for "disrespecting" the Mayor. I could care less what you have say about the Mayor.

Rather, I merely and appropriately pointed out to Tom "Giving Selflessly" Kenney that it was rather hypocritical & disingenous of him to whine & scold me for what he perceived as "personal attacks" and posting anonymously (in his transparent & pathetic attempt to avoid dealing with and anwswering the real issues being discussed) when he himself engaged in personal attacks (e.g. calling the Mayor a "piece of crap") and he himself never complained about someone posting anonymously as "EMT", who also made personal attacks on the Mayor.

It was yet another example of how you whiners are such hypocrites. Similar to you guys whining about "personal attacks" when you yourselves are guilty of such actions, you whine about people that "abuse the system" and have an attitude of "You're a Chump if you don't get yours", yet you get all pissy when someone accurately and appropriately points out that your hero and Union Pwesident, Lazy-Ass Pauly "No Show" Doughty, who did NOT show up for 3+ years to the job he was paid to do is NO better than those Chumps you describe.

As far as "insults", I beg to differ. I merely refer to Mr. Kenney as Tom "Giving Selflessly" Kenney in deferrence to his own description of himself & colleagues via his numerous posts.

With regard to Lazy-Ass Pauly "No Show" Doughty, I believe that someone that does NOT show up to work the job tha he is paid to do is accurately described as a "Lazy-Ass No Show". That's not an insult. It's just an accurate factual description. Deal with it.

With respect to saving my miserable life, I guess what you are saying is that they'd be doing the job they are paid to do. Well, great.

With respect to "risking their lives / knecks", please stop with your dillusions of grandeur. Your embarrising yourself.

Lastly, relax, I KNOW you are NOT in the Union ...you just want to be.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 4, 2008 4:02 PM

"I'd say it's damn near impossible. ...

studies prove that people who actually need the relief won't get it."

That's not what I wanted to hear, EMT! Thank you for the in-the-field input, though.

As for taxpayer funded charity:

"The 800 lb. gorilla in the corner is welfare fraud"

I meant to respond to this when Citizen Critic brought it up on an earlier occasion. What exactly is being done by our state or federal government to verify an applicant's initial and continuing qualification for a social program? On the state level, aren't there resources to do something in view of 15,000 employees on the state payroll?

Posted by: Monique at July 4, 2008 7:40 PM

I don't know what goes on in other hospitals,but at the VA,where there are numerous addicted and alcoholic patients I have never had a problem getting whatever I needed for pain relief.
OTOH I have no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 4, 2008 8:33 PM

"I don't know what goes on in other hospitals,but at the VA,where there are numerous addicted and alcoholic patients I have never had a problem getting whatever I needed for pain relief."

And neither do they, which is exactly my point. Distinguishing need from want isn't allowed.

Posted by: EMT at July 5, 2008 9:47 AM


We hear you ..."Distinguishing need from want isn't allowed."

Frustrating, isn't it?

It's like assuming ALL cases / forms of cancer contracted by the PFD members is JOB-related , even if it is something like melanoma caused by FFs sunning themselves at Scarborough Beach in preparation for their "Men of Providence Calendars".

Don't you hate it when Common Sense is overridden by Entitlement-minded policies??

Posted by: George Elbow at July 5, 2008 10:58 AM


"Fraud" in welfare is no stretch, it is inherent in the idea of paying people to do nothing. That said, the situation in RI goes way beyond that, it encompasses blatant rule breaking and blatant crime.

Despite what you may think, people inside the RI welfare system have told me there are little or no controls and no staffing. I have been told the HHS Department is very "top heavy" with administrators --but severely lacking in case workers to do actually do the heavy lifting. Case workers have so many cases they can't keep up.

Lots of ineligible people are receiving money.

Case workers are very fearful of losing their jobs. No one wants to blow the whistle. And, if they give out less money, they get less money from the federal government.

If it helps you, imagine this: imagine a lemonade stand with a line wrapped around the block. But, instead of selling lemonade, they are dispensing money. And, there is only one person there giving it out. The person giving it out is so busy dispending money that they have little control as to where it goes and virtually no capability for followup ompliance. That's the best analogy I can give.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 5, 2008 11:34 PM


You seem to gloss over real issue, which is the fact that we have people that KNOW we are paying people incorrectly, but continue to do so in order to maintain their job.

If they KNOW people are committing fraud (they know enough to be able to tell you), then they should do their damn job and STOP paying these fruadulant payments, rather than whining and complaining about being "understaffed".

They are no better than the fruadulant welfare recipients ...they both want to keep the money flowing into their pockets, at the taxpayers expense.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 6, 2008 8:14 AM

Sorry, did somebody say something?

Posted by: EMT at July 6, 2008 9:19 AM


As usual, I'll take your pithy non-response as an indication that you are in total agreement with my comment.

And don't worry, we don't actually expect you to be able to respond and defend your Entitlement minded BS.

You have a habit of being incapable of responding once you are boxed in by your own words. A lack of intellect, coupled with hypocritical "arguments", will do that to you.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 6, 2008 1:12 PM


I have been told that 30% (or more) of the RI welfare cases are fraudulent.

Even if it is half of that amount, you are still looking at hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Supposedly the child care program is the worst.

You are right that people are not doing their jobs. That is nothing new in RI. Everybody knows RI government is corrupt as heck, but it seems to me that this is one area of RI government that gets very little public scrutiny. There are privacy issues galore.

It is a huge hole in the bottom of the boat.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 6, 2008 4:31 PM


I hear you. But privacy issues are yet another EXCUSE we let people get away with. We have rules and regs, they just need to be enforced. Privacy issues are a BS red herring used to mask laziness and incompetance.

The folks that were pushing the E-Verify legislation justified their efforts, in part, by highlighting the large cost that taxpayers bear with respect to ill-legal imigrants consuming health-care, public education, etc.

Well, what they should have done (and still should) was go down a parallel track ...push the E-Verify, while simultaneously, putting forth legislation that would require ANY individual obtaining Taxpayer assistance / services (e.g. Health-care, Public Education, etc.) to have proof of Legal Citizenship.

When you or I go to obtain a liscense or get health care, we have to produce & show a valid identification, including SS number, etc. We should do the same for EVERY Taxpayer funded service (especially including Public schools).

RI is a magnet for people looking for a handout. We need to attack the magnet. E-Verify, quite frankly, goes after the folks that at least are trying to work and be productive. I'd prefer that we go after the ones that are NOT productive, but rather leeches. Not to say that we shouldn't also do the E-Verify deal ...but let's do both.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 6, 2008 5:48 PM


I agree with you.

I'd go further, I'd like to see whole government agencies abolished. The IRS for sure.

I'd replace welfare with a job clearinghouse and job program. Some recipients would pick up litter and clean graffiti.

I'd scale back RI government at the same time. I'd fire 5,000 of the 15,000 current state workers on Day 1. More might be let go over time.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 7, 2008 12:18 AM

Crossroads Association is the national charity sustaining all Crossroads schemes in England and Wales.
Connecticut Treatment Centers

Posted by: aaron at July 31, 2008 4:29 AM
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