The Poverty Pimps

I spent two and a half years working as a volunteer with the homeless population of Daytona Beach Florida from 2006 to 2009 0r thereabouts. The private agency that I worked with was called at that time The Homeless Assistance Center with the ever needful acronym of HAC. All the agencies that are ostensibly set up to serve the homeless population of this area of central Florida are private agencies funded with public money. Most of that money is federal and there is always a mad scramble amongst these so called provider agencies to grab as many federal dollars as possible. Many of these private agencies are actually church group such as the all powerful Halifax Urban Ministries and the ever present and ubiquitous Salvation Army. Its worth noting that such funding for these religious outfits with federal dollars constitutes US government support for organized religion which is expressly prohibited by the US Constitution under the Constitutions so called “establishment” clause.

Ordinarily one assumes that such church groups as Halifax Urban Ministries being a religious outfit would know how to treat the homeless population with the basic human dignity and respect that all human beings deserve. Unfortunately that is not the case. The arrogance with which their chief honcho approaches his mission is not only an insult to the homeless it is an insult to all federal taxpayers who are having their hard earned tax money diverted to such a purpose of miss-serving the homeless population of the Greater Daytona Beach area.

The chief honcho of this outfit whose idolatrous worship of the business model as the only acceptable model for the provisioning of social services to the poor and the homeless might be understandable in some corporate CEO unconnected with any kind of a religious enterprise seeking to grab as much federal money as it can while at the same time using gangster like methods to threaten and intimidate anyone who would dare challenge what he assumes to be his God given right as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant to the largess of the federal taxpayer.

Ordinarily I take the position that the big fish in the little pond of local politics are so fowl smelling that I prefer not to have to go near them. Unfortunately however, I let myself in for some disappointment as a result of the kind of bamboozlement that Dem party activistas specialize in. I should have known better but I let myself get involved with this legal fiction called the Continuum of Care that was invented by all these private hogs who feed at the public trough. This legal fiction called Continuum of Care was set up as a result of a federal requirement that the public be involved and supportive of these hogs with their heads in the trough thus hoping to in this manner to somehow short circuit the usual grab all that’s available for these individuals who command yearly salaries in the high five and six figure category for ostensibly rendering service to the area’s poor and homeless population.

What we really have here in the Greater Daytona Beach area are a group of very highly paid poverty pimps who use the homeless as a way to justify themselves to such mega funders as the federal government and get all they can get while the gettin’s good. I would be remiss if I did not tell you that all of these people are not associated with the Dem Party but what they are associated with is one another in a kinds of chummy social good ole boys and gals network that will not admit outsiders into the congregation of blessed without first rendering service to this venal crowd in the usual unpaid manner that both contributes mightily to the very thing that their greed neglects.

At this very moment I do not have an exact figure for the amount of federal money that goes toward the upkeep and support of these poverty pimps but it most assuredly is in the millions and I suspect the tens of millions. Out of all these vast federal funds the poverty pimps have seen fit to provide 24 beds at the local privately run shelter that practically no one who is homeless in the Greater Daytona Beach area ever has the opportunity to actually sleep in owing to the complicated regulations that restrict who can actually have one of these beds on any given night.

Out of the untold millions that the poverty pimps pull in every year and hand out to themselves in five and six figure salaries probably around 1% actually gets to the so called “clients”, i.e. the homeless.

This is the result of the corporatization of social services in this country that actually began a long time ago with the erstwhile Clinton in the White House getting rid of “welfare as we know it” to use his exact words. Instead of properly funding government run social services to aid the poor and the homeless the decision was made to get government out of the provisioning of social services and allow the so called “private sector” to take over and run the whole show. And what a show it is! Greed and unbridled gangsterism the likes of which I never would have thought possible when forty two years ago I was employed by the Camden County Welfare Board in Camden New Jersey to be the public provisioner of available financial resources to 216 client families in the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) that Slick Willy eventually got rid of in favor of what exists today.

I have no respect for Clinton as a man, a politician, or whatever it is he is calling himself today because I know how many desperate hard working moms his policies punished for no good reason whatsoever other than that it always was good politics to beat up on the poor and the most disadvantaged. Its such grand exercises in social sadism that has bought America to where it is today standing at the edge of the abyss of actual national extinction and suicide. The larger picture of all of this has no meaning to these poverty pimps, these hogs with their obscene heads thrust down so deep into the public trough of money that the daylight of common sense and common human decency never enters.

Note-this article was originally posted to Open Salon on 09-27-2014


About charlesknause

I was born in Camden, N.J. (now the poorest city in America) in 1950 and grew up in a beautiful old Victorian town in South Jersey called Collingswood. I now live in Ormond Beach, FL where the weather suits my spirit. My personal life was impacted at an early point in my life by a psychiatric diagnosis that changed my life and put me on the workers scrap heap. I have refused to accept such a miserable fate and today consider myself a social activist dedicated to changing the way that people who have been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability are perceived by society and the people in their community. I have a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida and 18 graduate credits in Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University in DeLand, FL as well as 24 graduate credits in an MSW program at UCF. I am a member of the Volusia County Behavioral Health Care Providers Consortium where I function as an advocate. I am a daily reader of the World Socialist Website and an occasional contributor.
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