Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Screw history, but most of all: SCREW THE POOR

This is one of the saddest things I have read in a very long time:
"The need for its services is as strong as ever, but after years of rising costs and dwindling income from fundraising the Jane Addams Hull House Association will close and file for bankruptcy, the agency said Thursday
'For the last several years the agency has had trouble in the fundraising side of things,' said Stephen Saunders, chair of the association's board of trustees. 'After many years of struggling, we have to close our doors. It was a very difficult decision.'
The 123-year-old agency, headquartered at 1030 W. Van Buren St., provides foster care, domestic violence counseling and prevention services, child development programs, and job training to about 60,000 children, families and community groups each year."
This is one of the most maddening things I have read in a very long time.
Just look at the other services that will be lost: 

  • Education and literacy 
  • Homeless services
  • Senior services
  • Housing services
  • Small business development services
  • Workforce development
  • Recreational activities for at-risk youth
(If you want to check out the Hull House's website, go here.) 

This is a tremendous blow to a city with an unemployment rate of 9.8% (it's probably higher in the poorer areas). Its closure will do nothing but add to the hardships of not only the jobless, but many of the working poor who are already having difficulties accessing services during this crappy economy. 

Republican's keep yelling that the provision of social services is not the government's responsibility and that it should be left to the private sector. But, they fail to take into consideration the loss of charitable donations when the economy takes a nosedive (it's more likely that they just don't care). If the government is unwilling to provide services and private charities are unable, who will fill the void? Thousands of vulnerable people will lose access to potentially life saving services. It's just too depressing...

But, it isn't the only tragedy; the Hull House is a major part of Chicago's history

It's founder, Jane Addams, was a totally kick ass and amazing woman and one of my heroes. She was an advocate for the rights of labour and immigrants; she was a suffragette; she was a social worker; she was a pacifist who protested WWI; she was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; ANNNNNNNNND she was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Addams was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931)

It's incredible to think that after 123 years of helping Chicago's poor, the city is just going to let it end. 

It's heartbreaking.


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