Homeless Jesus in trouble


Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

A “Homeless Jesus” statue depicting Jesus as a homeless person lying on a bench covered in a blanket was recently installed outside of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village, Ohio. So, naturally, someone called the cops on it within 20 minutes of it being revealed.

As the Cleveland Scene reports, Father Alex Martin, the church’s pastor, received a visit from a Bay Village police officer after someone reported a homeless person sleeping on a park bench. He says he hopes the incident can serve as a lesson for how we can better help those in need.

Americans traveling outside North America say it feels like VietNam War days, once again. Pretend to be Canadians!

Dollar$ given to homeless. Here are the results…


Tent City in Vancouver, BC

You’ve heard this refrain before — giving money to homeless people is not the best way to help them because it might be squandered, or spent on harmful habits. But a new Canadian study makes a powerful case to the contrary…

Researchers gave 50 recently homeless people a lump sum of 7,500 Canadian dollars (nearly $5,700). They followed the cash recipients’ life over 12-18 months and compared their outcomes to that of a control group who didn’t receive the payment.

People who received cash were able to access the food they needed to live faster. Nearly 70% did after one month, and maintained greater food security throughout the year.

The recipients spent more on food, clothing and rent, while there was a 39% decrease in spending on goods like alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.

Have we finally reached a point of understanding by the body politic that embraces charity? Have we found a time when helping folks who are stuck on the way down – to get back up and build better lives?

I made my decisions about 60 years ago. Never looked back. Never had to. Down and out doesn’t mean you can’t move on, move up. Ain’t nothing wrong with giving someone a helping hand.

Buy Bonds – and K Rations


Click to enlarge

The K-ration was an individual daily combat food ration which was introduced by the United States Army during World War II. It provided three separately boxed meal units: breakfast, dinner (lunch) and supper (dinner).

More than most American homeless might count on, nowadays.

Sometimes the Dead Need a Primary Care Physician


Photo NOT from this story

❝ He was found dead in the doorway of a restaurant, under a tarp, huddled in the rain. He came to my office because his death was in public view. We didn’t even know his name. A search of the police fingerprint database gave him an ID and revealed he was homeless, a veteran, and had no living next of kin. We found no medical records under his name. His body was a testament to hard living on the street. The dirt was so ingrained into his palms and soles that even when I laid into it with soap and an abrasive kitchen pot scrubber (looking for injuries or track marks) my efforts barely managed to uncover his natural flesh color. His face carried wrinkles beyond his 57 years. Dead people generally look like they are sleeping. This man looked worn.

❝ The autopsy was one of the strangest I have ever performed. When I cut into the flesh, there was no passive blood flow. Instead of red fluid, his veins and arteries contained … pink noodles. His circulatory system was filled with what looked like spaghetti — the blood had congealed inside the vessels, in thin branching ropes. He had a moderately enlarged heart and a bit of black pigmentation of the lungs, and his toxicology report came back clean of alcohol or any drugs of abuse. The answers came to me under the microscope. His blood had been replaced by large white cell progenitors. It was ropy because it was mostly white blood cells, and not normal ones, either, but blasts. He had leukemia…

❝ Little did I know that by going into forensic pathology, a subspecialty of a subspecialty, I was going to end up practicing primary care medicine. My patients are frequently the under-treated and under-diagnosed, the uninsured and under-served — which is why they end up on my autopsy table. We don’t autopsy those who have had medical attention and who are under the care of a physician who is willing and able to sign a death certificate for a natural cause. We bring in and autopsy those who die suddenly, unexpectedly, and violently. This includes those who die at home or on the street and those we can’t identify. They include the drug-addicted and the homeless, and those who are too poor to seek medical care. Sometimes I am the only doctor my patients have ever seen.

A worthwhile read, my friends. Please click the link – and read on.

The banned speech by William Shakespeare on behalf of refugee rights

The Book of Sir Thomas More, Act 2, Scene 4

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.

Bravo!

Human mattress dominoes record — topples

Aaron’s Inc., an appliance and electronics-leasing company, has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest human mattress domino chain.

Guinness World Records released a video of the feat Thursday, showing 1,200 people holding mattresses behind them and falling backward into each other, one at a time, inside a Prince George’s County, Maryland, warehouse on March 22…

Aaron’s CEO John Robinson pushed over the first mattress. It took 13 minutes and 38 seconds for the final mattress to fall.

The Atlanta-based company says it will be donating all 1,200 mattresses to Washington-area organizations focused on ending poverty and providing shelter to homeless families.

And that’s the best reason for giving ’em a plug.

Police unit gets public health responsibility for mentally ill


Lieutenant Lionel Garcia – lead officer of Mental Evaluation UnitMaya Sugarman/KPCC

The Los Angeles Police Department’s mental evaluation unit is the largest mental health policing program of its kind in the nation, with 61 sworn officers and 28 mental health workers from the county…

Officer Ted Simola and his colleagues in the unit work with county mental health employees to provide crisis intervention when people with mental illnesses come into contact with police…

Triage duty involves helping cops on the scene evaluate and deal with people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

The triage officers are first and foremost a resource for street cops. Part of their job entails deciding which calls warrant an in-person visit from the unit’s 18 cop-clinician teams. These teams, which operate as second responders to the scene, assisted patrol officers in more than 4,700 calls last year.

Sometimes their work involves high-profile interventions, such as helping S.W.A.T. teams with dangerous standoffs or talking a jumper off a ledge. But on most days it involves relieving patrol officers of time-consuming mental health calls…

That’s the right approach, says Peter Eliasberg, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “The goal is to make sure that people who are mentally ill, who are not a danger to the community, are moved towards getting treatment and services as opposed to getting booked and taken into the jail.”

Detective Charles Dempsey is in charge of training for LAPD’s mental evaluation unit. He says pairing a cop or detective with a county mental health worker means the two can discuss both the criminal justice records that the health worker isn’t privy to and the medical records that a cop can’t access because of privacy laws.

About two-thirds of the calls are resolved successfully, he says…

But there are complicated cases, too. And these, Dempsey says, are assigned to the unit’s detective-clinician teams. Dempsey says most of the 700 cases they handled last year involved both people whose mental illness leads them to heavily use or abuse emergency services, or who are at the greatest risk for violent encounters with police and others.

“Jails were not set up to be treatment facilities,” says Mark Gale, who serves as criminal justice chairman for the LA County Council of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “People get worse in jail.”

Gale and other mental health advocates praise the LAPD unit’s approach and call it a good first step. But for diversion to work well, they say, the city and county need to provide treatment programs at each point a mentally ill person comes into contact with the criminal justice system — from interactions with cops all the way through the courts.

Of course, there used to be a system that provided much of this treatment – The US Public Health Service and a chain of national PHS hospitals across the country. Ronald Reagan did his level best to close them all down. He didn’t get all of them – but, he did succeed in evicting tens of thousands of mentally ill patients and putting them out on the streets.

RTFA for anecdotal examples of the work being done by the LAPD.