Support groups need accountability

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There has been much discussion about social support groups and their attempts to rehabilitate those who have, for whatever reason, fallen to the bottom of society's ladder.

A large majority of these individuals are homeless. Many suffer from chronic diseases both mental and physical. Most have few saleable skills. A substantial number are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and many have criminal records. One could spend a great deal of time debating how and why these individuals are in their current state, but assigning blame is a useless exercise.

Whatever the causes, these individuals represent a substantial burden on the economic and social fabric of all communities. Finding ways to return these persons to a productive life should be an ongoing priority for everyone.

Unfortunately, a large number of well-meaning organizations have lost sight of the goal. Rather than rehabilitating those in need they have become enablers of self-defeating lifestyles. By providing handouts without requiring changes in behavior, they enable and perpetuate underlying issues. Many of us believe that until these organizations are required to show proof of effectiveness to those providing their funding, this circuitous process will continue. Many are being given a fish, but few are being taught how to fish.

Every modern viable business organization measures its results against objective standards. Ideas are examined, developed and tried. If successful, they continue; if not, they shut down. Before tax monies and donations are used to fund XYZ programs, I'd like to know how many people who have gone through that program are now, at least partially, self-supporting and for how long. In short, how effective is the program in actually returning someone to a productive role in society?

The issues involved in social rehabilitation are incredibly complex, but until social support organizations are required to offer us objective proof of their effectiveness, we will continue to see huge sums of fiscal and human capital wasted. While relieving physical and spiritual hunger may be good things, those who need our help deserve far more than a sandwich and a sermon.

Phillip A. Williams, Augusta

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justus4
113
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justus4 12/21/09 - 07:14 am
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The article points to a
Unpublished

The article points to a larger societial problem that no one really wants to address. For example, every governmental agency SHOULD, as the LTE states, "offer us objective proof of their effectiveness" but most agencies work aggressively to RESIST giving proof. Ol' Phillip targets social rehabilitation programs, but why not ask the criminal justice system: What percentage of your personnel return to the nation's prison system? How many are actually rehabilitated? U don't even want to go there because it will be so ugly, it would turn your stomach. But, no one EVER even asks the question, not to mention holding someone accountability. So yep, these groups probably sre being enablers, but as the saying goes, "if just one person's life is saved through our work, then we are a success" will be the standard defense line. And yep, the issues are complex, but holding EVERYONE accountable in every govermental agency would set a higher standard.

deekster
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deekster 12/21/09 - 09:42 am
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The "plantation" only grows

The "plantation" only grows larger. Change (Social Revolution) We Can Believe In. When we have achieved "our revolution", those who helped bring it about will be off to the gulag.

deekster
24
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deekster 12/21/09 - 09:43 am
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Personal Accountability died

Personal Accountability died about the same time as Augusta GA. The funerals were private.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 12/21/09 - 10:33 am
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Phillip, you make some good
Unpublished

Phillip, you make some good points. But what can you expect with our government handing out trillions in aid to "people in need" over the decades. As long as fishes are handed out, nobody will ever learn to fish. And JUSTUS, it's snowing in Hell because I'm agreeing with you. Accountability from government agencies? Yeah, about the time they elect a Jewish pope.

harrisburgwillrise
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harrisburgwillrise 12/21/09 - 10:59 am
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Great letter, Phil!! You hit

Great letter, Phil!! You hit the nail on the head for sure. What will it take to change all of this? Are non profits who help these people doing what they do for personal gain? We have seen what goes on with a certain ministry in Harrisburg, and it is not a pretty sight. We must continue to demand accountability with the non-profits that continue to perpetuate the behaviors of this class of society. I would encourage anyone to check into the program that Kelly McKnight runs at Bible Deliverance Temple in Harrisburg. Not only does Dr.McKnight live in the neighborhood, he holds every person that his church helps accountable for their behavior. He truly teaches them how to fish, and we applaud his efforts. We also applaud the efforts of Marsha Jones at St. Luke Methodist in Harrisburg. She is truly a Saint and demands accountability from those she serves. These two individuals should be the role models for all other non profits who help the under served.

anotherlook
101
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anotherlook 12/21/09 - 04:20 pm
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Where is this information

Where is this information coming from that would lead an individual to believe that the majority of non-profits are not held accountable for what the clients that they serve do? This is not to say that there aren't some programs that do a poor job of reporting and providing direct services to their clients. However, those that have a long term commitment to those communities that they serve are successful because they have board members and volunteers that are ever watchful and wouldn't stand for any shenanigans. Moreover, the grants that get approved may require onsite visits as well. And as far as accountability for the clients, many non-profits have computer systems that allow them track the services that the clients received in the last 90 days or so. This does much to prevent the system abusers from tapping one after another time and time again. Some even limit their assistance to once per year because of limited resources and increased need during certain periods. Then the agencies hold clients that violate their rules accountable by denying them services or terminating them from their programs. So let's not paint all non-profits with such a wide brush people.

gaspringwater
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gaspringwater 12/21/09 - 05:30 pm
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Read your article Mr.

Read your article Mr. Williams and it's better written than most but what your saying is nothing new. It's just a rehash of the old Republican manta " work for welfare " and it goes back to the days of Ronnie Reagan. A number of state enacted such provisions and its hard to tell how effective they were. But it's certain they didn't stop the expanding welfare rolls nor did they prevent the rise of homeless people. There's an ever increasing number of people in our society that that have trouble coping and their inability is probably a mental disorder. And punishing them is not going to cure them.

Pu239
284
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Pu239 12/21/09 - 08:54 pm
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Ahhhh The Federal
Unpublished

Ahhhh The Federal Government....our benevolent benefactor

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 12/21/09 - 09:25 pm
0
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Augusta is a haven of the

Augusta is a haven of the under served in the Southeast. Check your statistics. We are a homeless friendly city. This problem needs to be spread out among many citiies, however, other cities have figured out a way that the homeless do not continue to ruin their landscape. Augusta is suffering under the homeless and pan handling situation. We need to get a better plan.

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 12/21/09 - 09:51 pm
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CorporalGripweed - Are you

CorporalGripweed - Are you saying Augusta need a better plan to move homeless people elsewhere? Harass them some or maybe give away free bus tickets for them to leave?

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 12/21/09 - 09:52 pm
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One more thing. Justus did

One more thing. Justus did hit on an interesting point, though he had a slightly different take on the issue. He asked,"How many are actually rehabilitated?" A valid question. But I think the greater question is, "How many are beyond rehabilitation?" We all agree there will always be a certain percentage of the population who will NEVER change. So what do we, as a society do? We already have specific governmental programs (not to mention faith-based programs) in place to help. But past a certain point, there has to be accountability on the part of private (and public) agencies or we are just flushing money and intentions down the toilet.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 12/21/09 - 09:58 pm
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I'm saying hold them

I'm saying hold them accountable. Nothing is free in a civil society. A bit of a disclaimer here. The neighborhood I live in has homeless people, but probably 90% of them are not women or children. They are middle aged men who would rather drink than work. Or they are mentally diminished people who do not want government help. Granted, if you do not want help, You should not be forced to accept it. But I should not be forced to have my quality of life denigrated because they refuse help.

Harrisburgsurvivor
2
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Harrisburgsurvivor 12/21/09 - 11:04 pm
0
0
What you are saying is true

What you are saying is true and their is a higher number of generational welfare people who are criminals: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

What kind of background do you think most of the armed robbers have?

Too many people think if "they"get welfare they will be good..NOT TURE!

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