I posted yesterday about what it would take for the Left and the Right to come together on social safety net programs.
There are three aspects of the programs that, in my mind, create and fuel the differences between the two sides. They are:
- How do we measure
- Do they end
- Are they moral and consistent with the concept of Liberty
Just this evening I come across a story concerning a local charity that I love and support:
Raleigh, N.C. — Three years ago, Dyretta Smith and her son were homeless.
“I got laid off from my job, and when I got laid off from my job, everything started to fall apart,” said Smith.
One of her biggest challenges was keeping her then-11-year-old son engaged in school.
“I was determined, and he was determined,” Smith said. “He’s such a smart little boy. I was not going to let the things that happened in our life get him off track.”
For many, the face of homelessness might be someone on the street begging for money or someone sleeping on a park bench.
But there’s a side of homelessness that’s not so noticeable.
PLM Families Together, a nonprofit founded in 1980 as Pan Lutheran Ministries, helps homeless families with housing and other services.
It gave Smith and her son a fresh start.
Smith is now back on her feet with a full-time job and her own apartment, and she even volunteers with PLM Families Together.
Her son is now a ninth-grade honor student at a Wake County high school.
A beautiful story of human kindness, strength and the power of an indomitable will. The exact model of how such gentle examples of human kindness ought to work.
And how does it work?
Families that are “literally” homeless — meaning they have no place to go and are living in places not meant for habitation, are served by PLM Families Together by moving into one of our 10 Short-term Housing apartments. Once they are safe and warm in the privacy of single-family living, they will stay, at no cost, for 2-4 months.
And this is when the real transformation begins.
Each family works one-on-one with a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), to create and carry out a plan of action. During that time, the family meets weekly with the Mentor Advocate. They deposit 50% of their income into an escrow account, and attend PLM Families Together workshops on topics like budgeting, renting, and how to work with a landlord. Mentor Advocates also coordinate special services as needed (disability, educational assessment, school transportation, food, furniture, transportation, etc.).
The goal of Short-term Housing: Help a family re-gain its stability and return to independence and permanent housing — paid for with their own money.
But it doesn’t end there.
When a family leaves Short-term Housing and moves into its own place, care continues through “Aftercare.” Mentor Advocate support and guidance — plus landlord mediation — last an additional 12-14 months. This key piece of the PLM Families Together model increases the chances of continued success for the family.
The assistance is coupled with two key aspects:
1. It ends
2. It helps to build skills such that the recipient is possessed of skills to help cope with the vicissitudes of life.