Mr. wOw Tries to Do a Good Deed

Mr. wOw’s slice of charity

Mr. wOw is not a naturally thoughtful person. Oh, I’m nice enough. And sensitive enough, in that I cry when those damn abused-animal commercials come on. I love B. and I love the few friends I have. I try not to be horrible.

But I have always been a bit…distracted. I drift a lot, mentally. I don’t listen, for example, no matter how many times I’m reminded when your birthday is. And when I realize your birthday has passed, I’m bereft. But screw bereft, Mr. wOw, how about putting up a Post-It on your computer?

I’m not naturally charitable, either. It’s an impulse thing. For several years around the holiday season I went with friends to dish out warm meals to the homeless, or to those living at hospices. But without the impetus of my friends (or their on-the-spot, aren’t-you-wonderful approval) I drifted away from that. Which is too bad. I sure did feel I was doing something worthwhile. And yes—it made me feel better about myself. Sometimes selfishness works.

When the great tsunami hit back in 2004, I’d just received a rather generous bonus. The magnitude of the disaster, the loss of life was so overwhelming I sent in $500 toward relief. I can’t say I was literally moved by the plight—I didn’t cry or lose sleep or anything– but I was certain I had an extra $500 and what the hell else was I going to do with it? Also, it was Christmastime.

So, with some sense of my giving nature, I want you to imagine Mr. wOw at the Port Authority the other evening, standing on line, waiting to buy a ticket to fabulous Hoboken, New Jersey. (Yes, I know I should buy a monthly pass. But why do something that would make my life easier?)

My patience was wearing thin, as entire families were ahead of me, none of them super-acquainted with English, all paying with credit cards (more time wasted!) and none of them quite knowing exactly where they were going. Maps were being unfolded! The more impatient I became, the uglier my thoughts were. I kept forcing myself back into reality—Mr. wOw, would you know the language in Spain? Don’t most people pay for most everything with credit cards? And this is a bus station. People are going to ask where they are going. That’s what bus stations are for! Asshole.

Just as I’d settled in, head-wise, and berated myself properly, a fortyish African-American man approached. He was using a cane, and carrying a little card, asking for money to eat. He was tall and rather hearty looking. He’d not shaved for a few days and wasn’t wearing the latest stylings from Prada, or even The Gap, but he didn’t look needy to me. I waved him away, and busied myself fussing with my much-too-long hair. (I’m now working that hot Albert Einstein look.)

Almost as soon as I did my dismissive hand gesture, I regretted it. The night before I’d watched Anderson Cooper reporting from Somalia—thousands dying of starvation. Okay. Just because this guy is black, he’s not from Somalia, obviously, and don’t get your white guilt in a twist. He’s probably a drug addict. NO! No, No! Why, Mr. wOw, do you think that? Because he’s black, he has to be a drug addict? Maybe he really is hungry, or at the very least, poor and looking for shelter? Why are you such a bitch?

Finally, I got to the window, made my cash ticket purchase, and looked around for the guy with cane. He was approaching other people and getting nowhere. But he wasn’t making a fuss, just moving on. He still looked awfully healthy, but so do I, and I’m not, actually. I resisted the impulse to give him money. He was hungry, really? Fine. I’d get him some food.

I sprinted over to the deli thingy in the PA, and looked to see what I could buy. I spotted a luscious turkey sandwich, very big. “How much is that?” I asked. Without answering the guy behind the counter plucked the sandwich from its display. “How much is that?” I repeated, as he began wrapping it up.

“Eleven dollars.”

“What? I’m not paying eleven dollars for a turkey sandwich. Why are there no prices on anything?”

He handed me the sandwich, “Price is there.” No it wasn’t and eleven dollars was three dollars more than I was even carrying.

I declined the turkey and suffered some typical slurs.

My hungry man had begun to wander away from the ticket area, but he wasn’t exactly trotting, so I crossed the floor and went into the pizza-type place. Should I venture a stromboli roll, or a calzone? No, better one of these double-stuffed, super-slices of pizza—one is practically a meal.

So I ordered the veggie-slice (even street people should eat healthy) It took forever. No, I did not want a drink. Yes, please put it in that cute triangular box. Why is the person in front of me speaking Mandarin? Not that I have anything against the Mandarins. And if could speak another language I might choose that one because it’s so… Rita Hayworth in “Lady From Shanghai.”

Finally, I have the slice. But I don’t have my guy. Cane, sign and all, he has vanished. I go to the ticket counters. I scope out the first floor. I go to the second, though I can’t imagine he’d have made it that far in only a few minutes. I check the bathrooms. Not a pleasant task. Nor one that suits a fey middle-aged man. Back in the day I was arrested twice in the PA. It was all kinda cute then. As was I. Those cards have been played.

And while I hurry hither and thither, holding the slice, looking for this man, I keep thinking, “And just why are you doing this? What are you trying to prove? Why don’t you just be a bit nicer to B? You’ll feel better. And he doesn’t even require pizza. Or if you must—send money to Somalia. You have a bit extra right now. That will make you feel worthwhile.”

After twenty minutes I gave up. It was the peak of rush hour and I had a feeling I was being watched—especially as I bopped in and out of the foul men’s rooms. “Oh, you see officer, I want to give this pizza to…” Yeah, sure.

I caught my bus. I gave B. a big kiss and tried to be cheerier. I donated $100 to Oxfam, which works in conjunction with Aid The Children. This will feed a family of six for two weeks.

Uh, the slice? And so, dear reader, I ate it.

83 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Thanks for the smile to go along with my Diet Coke…after a day like today, I really needed that smile.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Miss Lee…

      If I give anybody a smile, I feel I have done good. 

      But..why Diet Coke?  Honest, the calorie diff is not so much. 

  2. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Why the beverage?  It was the only thing I had in the frig at work and I was too lazy to walk to a machine.  Now I am heading home for a gin & tonic…TGIF!

  3. avatar Lila says:

    Mr. Wow, an honest and hilarious look at your thought process… which is pretty much like mine, sometimes.

    I think you were right in your reasoning. When you buy a beggar food, you will quickly see just how needy they are. I have done this several times and usually it is well received and appreciated. But on one occasion, there was this woman begging miserably in a city square in Frankfurt. So I bought some food, as you did, and gave it to her. She looked disgusted, but took it; I did not understand her reaction. A little while later, I saw her again… turning over the bag of food to her “handler,” who was not so pleased. The light bulb went off in my head. It was a moneymaking ring, and had I given money – it would have gone right to this scuzzbucket who was basically just a beggar-pimp. Too bad the food ended up with him, but at least it can only be eaten and not used for anything else.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lila…

      And you know what…I was looking around for him today. 

      I even had eleven dollars.

      • avatar Anais P says:

        To avoid regular folks getting taken advantage of, and to help really poor people, not grifters, my city discourages donations to individual beggars and advises donating instead to several legitimate local charities that help the homeless. It would be a lot easier for Mr. Wow to donate to one of these kinds of organizations, instead of spending so much time buying pizza and searching for the man on the street. But I found the column quite entertaining. Glad the piece of pizza was not wasted!

  4. avatar Lisa Cornell says:

    I have the opposite problem really. My thought processes work in a similar fashion but I have this insatiable need to give something to everyone who is looking for a handout. I too feel guilt that it isn’t enough, or I scold myself when I am thinking that they are probably going to buy alcohol or drugs, but I can’t help it. My husband is much like you. He is an attorney whose career depends on his ability to size people and situations up quickly and accurately. However, he keeps a bunch of dollar bills in the car because he can’t deal with my middle-class guilt or my constant reminders he is a civil rights lawyer when we go out. Here in Florida, there is a panhandler on every street corner. Most are vets, but there is a rising number of newly poor who have lost their homes and jobs due to the economy. It’s heartbreaking. Hubby has learned not to argue and let me give out a couple of bucks here and there, and I have made hubby join the cause by taking on one new client a month whose lost his/her job and who can’t afford to pay their costs.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lisa…

      Your hubby is a better person for your arguments.  It’s hard.  And I am a cynic.  But I give in more often than not, really. 

      I’ve been on that end.  I’ve been on the street.  And I’ve never forgotten. 

  5. avatar Mary says:

    I go to a bigger town than mine about once a week.  A few weeks in a row I would see the same man at one of the shopping areas .  He looked rather pathetic and he would sit periodically on the curb near the entrance of the center .  He looked hopeless, scruffy and disheveled to say the least.  A sign around his neck saying he would work for food.   Well I happen to have some connections with a service in town that hires people for temp jobs on construction sites.  I felt so happy with myself for calling them.  My heart felt good as it realy bothered me that someone had to sit on a curb with a sign around their neck in the hot hot , humid weather.  The work site came and got him in a van and off the sign man went.  I’m thinking, ok , you did your deed for the day , now enjoy.

    I didn’t think much more about him and hadn’t seen him for a while when about a month later I see in the newspaper that this guy was arrested for threatening people who would not give him cash when we went up to their windows while they were stopped at streetlights.  He broke a couple of windows in cars with a baseball bat that he was now carrying around.

    I called the construction site that I had set him up with and asked how it had gone when he was working.  They told me that he was lazy, threatening and verbally harrassing everyone and they had to let him go. 

    I thought ok, I have learned a lesson.  I will be much more cautious of who I try to help.  Then I thought a little bit more.,  The world is made of many kinds of people.  Some are realy trying to make it and struggling , others are making money from the fact that there are many out there, and some are people like you and me who are just trying to make someone feel better, even if for only a short time.  We do what we can and that is all we can do.     You did good Mr. Wow, hope your slice was delicious.  

  6. avatar Andy C says:

    Mr. Wow – Thank you for an end of the week chuckle and, the thought processes that, if we’re honest, we all go through.

  7. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Dear Andy…

    I hate myself  for my impatience, my sudden little bigotries and stereotyping.  But in recognizing that in myself, I see the struggle in others who are less aware.  Especially as I am a member of an often despised minority.

    Hand in hand, we have to overcome.  We will. 

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I think we all wonder when we’re approached for money. Odd that you bought something.  Most people don’t think of it. I learned about two years ago that offering to buy them something to eat usually indicates whether they’re looking for something to eat or looking for money to buy something else. I am not in the best of places myself. But when I can, I do.  I’ve had two men the past month offer 25 cents for a cigarette.  I smoke these little cigars. I asked them if they would mind a little cigar. They said no, and both times I gave them my pack. Both times, well, such a big smile. Yes they should stop. But I know what it is to have a craving and not have a cigarette. I still have my little group I treat to the $1 hamburgers when I can.  I was walking home one night from the train. A man came out of nowhere. I thought I was about to be mugged. It was one of the group. He walked me home.  There were some “newbies” in the area who had been mugging people. So he wanted to walk me home so they would see him and leave me alone. That happened years ago in another neighborhood. Kindness is returned at times in strange ways.  But appreciated ones.

      People starving in Somalia. My heart sinks. People, however, are starving here. Many of them “newbies” who had lves and sudddenly don’t have lives by no fault of their own who aren’t out mugging people. Many of them scared to death  not knowing if they will survive on the streets. Many of them “99ers” who lost it all finally. I think about them as well as the people in Somalia. And really get angry about the Tea Party.

      Houston is not a place to be homeless.  We’ve had a church sued because of the lines of people waiting for a meal, an organization told they cannot feed the homeless downtown, and now have a restrictive ordinance on panhandling. Out of sight, out of mind. Very sad. But I suspect it is the same everywhere else. We have lost our heart somewhere along the way.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Snooks, “out of sight, out of mind” — doesn’t it remind you of the old Soviet practice of simply banning homeless people from Moscow? Round them all up, truck them out of town. Ta-da! No homeless people!

        By the time I was there in 1999-2000, there were definitely homeless and beggars. Some would bed down in the underground crosswalks at night. On one occasion I saw a man with his dogs while I was on the way to the market; well, I have a soft spot for animals so I got a big bag of dog food as well as some extra people food, and dropped it all off on my way back. Never happier smiles, on the man and the dogs, and the most polite of thank-yous. On another occasion I was leaving a reception and one of the Russians stuffed my briefcase with more fresh fruit than I could ever eat; this, in the dead of winter. So once again, the folks in the underground crosswalk benefited. It’s gratifying to bring someone a little pleasure, however transitory. Isn’t life itself transitory?

        On the other hand – I never handed out a dime in India, because the begging was so overwhelming. Any time I was out – on the sidewalk, in a taxi, anywhere – it seemed I was constantly mobbed by beggars as well as merchants, vendors, would-be guides, whatever. I must have been wearing a sign saying, “ATM.” There was no way to choose and no way to give the least thing to all of them; I would have been impoverished myself in no time, not to mention I would not have progressed one block down the street. Roll up the windows, look straight ahead, la la la la la. Sometimes you can’t realistically offer even a little bit, not directly, anyway.

      • avatar Richard Bassett says:

                       If it is that hard to be that homeless in Houston, then maybe it is time to leave Houston. Here, as I assume in many states (including Texas), have a Travelers Assistance Program (TAP): “Travelers Aid International is the association for Travelers Aid agencies and programs in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, and Australia. Travelers Aid served more than 6.5 million people last year in forty-eight communities, and at thirty-six transportation centers (airports, bus and train stations). Travelers Aid also provided casework services to 200,000 (including homeless persons, and individuals and families in crisis). Each member of the Network is independently managed and provides programs and services that meet the needs of its community.”  Via “The Department of Transistional Assistance”, it is a one time deal. You can only use it once. You can apply and they will tell you step bt step what to do. It can be used for a single person or a family. In Houston, I would start with “The Department of Health and Human Services” –
        8000 North Stadium Drive
        Houston, TX 77054
        (713) 794-9104         * This resource will give you any information that you need to help (pay for) a transistional assistance client on how they can leave Houston to relocate. Since it is not a federal program, the regulations are state by state. Again, they will do it once. Must you be on welfare? Well, to be on welfare here (in Mass) you need to have an address. Living in shelters, waiting to be relocated, is now uncommon. The shelter can be used as an address if you are staying there and have case management) I know it is difficult to just pack up and ,leave but working with a shelter case worker (which I once was)… they will try to find something as close as they can. Usually another major city, that the shelter is informed about (the referring shelter knows that know you are coming). During the winter, many people leave the ice and snow and use this one time service. Now, whether someone believes that their life is going nowhere or under, it is time to find another area. You could be relocated and live the exact same way. My point is that there are agencies (here) that deal with that, I would be interested to know the laws of Texas. I’ve never relocated there. People have moved from Mass (on welfare) to Texas, but they usually have family waiting for them and help with the financial end. There is no reason in Mass to be homeless and/or hungry any day of the week. It is usually people who want those services and stay here too. You can do that if you stay (are living) with someone. The homeless term is: Doubling Up, and you are eligible for homeless services.  People don’t use it because they have their homeless life in order or just do not know about it. There are no billboards with this information on it.

  8. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    About 70% of the population that I work with hustle for money. They seem me downtown and never ask for a cent. I know that they want to buy booze (around a liquor store) or drugs (in a drug induced part of the city). I see every sign possible: Vietnam Vet needs funds, needs to get home, homeless with hungry children, help with gas to get me home, blind and struggling, help me with my diabetes and… believe it or not…. in the middle of a metropolitan city, this can be very successful. These people, in general, do not want to move up in the world. They don’t want to move at all! For every person that I meet I could develop a treatment plan for them and they would never have to go begging for money again. But so many of these people are smart street people and, as I said, some make a very good living at it. They know all the tricks and all of the best locations to panhandle. They actually are very territorial. You do not take someone else’s place….unless they die or move away. It’s a ‘moving up the ladder’ kind of thing, as well…to get the perfect spot that will get you the most money.   You know that they are homeless. Even if they choose not to live in a shelter (especially in the summer), they can get three meals at the shelters that we have here. So many run always head to Los Angeles. A combination of tourists (easy marks) and ideal weather is perfect for this drug and/or alcohol paradise. The younger and where the weather is warm, it is usually a drug addiction. The older and further north that you travel in the USA, it will be alcohol. That is the reality of it. Just like you or I, they are doing their job. And you really aren’t doing anyone any favors by giving them food. Chances are they just finished a meal somewhere else. Your money can be the money that the addict that buys the black coal heroin that kills them. I am a world of system information and have been an outreach worker for many years, off and on, on every subject imaginable. My agency, once, wanted me to go into the bush areas of the city and watch for men having sex with men…and give them a condom and safer sex pre-made package, at 3am in the morning. I was 45 at the time, did it once, and never again. Younger outreachers need to be out there to get the information to these closeted people. I can teach them how to do it, but my time has come and gone regarding all of that. I look too much like a parent or a cop. So, when you are wanting to be philanthropic, be aware that these people already know what to do or where to go to get what they need. If a person who cannot tolerate living on the streets or in a shelter, they’ll start on the ladder up. It usually begins with detox or psych admissions. They need to be drug free and on the right medication before they can move on.  Again, small steps will give you safety. If I feel (my gut), that they are unaware of a service or are just lost…I will bring them to the resource myself. I have called detox’s for many passed out homeless people because, ‘something’ is telling me that they are dying. And I’m listening. There is help for everything out there. That is just not my belief but I live it. If I were to give funds to everyone who asked, I would be broken by the end of the day. At this point, would I feel any better? I doubt it. It’s not about me anyway. Enough of Psychosocial 101. There is more than money that can be more beneficial for than you think and it is a good test of where the money is going.  You are strong to get you to the place you are today… Share some of your strength with them…if they’ll take it. Be some kind of example…if they want to see it.  Living on the streets or in shelters quickly becomes a way of life. A normal lifestyle.  Just like our lives. They can survive and prosper in the underworld and work their way out. We just don’t see it on a day to day basis. There are many wind and loses.  Once they’ve had enough and their bodies are giving out, you can hope that they can get into a program/emergency room in time…or call 911 for them. Helping them get there is the best thing that you can do.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Not everyone who is homeless is on drugs or alcohol or is mentally ill. Not everyone who is homeless has access to shelters. And not all shelters offer three meals a day. Many just suddenly find ng is gone. The care gone long ago. So when the sheriff comes to evict them, they have no way to  Many don’t know where to go. Or to to call. The sheriff doesn’;t give them a “How to Survive” manual. I really do not like this presentation of homelessness as just people who are on drugs or alcohol or are mentally ill.  A growing number are homeless because they simply lost their jobs, their safety net, and then their homes. Many families are becoming homeless. And the children in many cases are taken by CPS. People who don’t know better assume there  are agencies that “help the truly needy.” There are. But they are being overwhelmed and cannot help everyone.  The reality is not the reality some believe. Certainly not the reality the Tea Party would have us believe.

      • avatar Mary says:

        Baby, that is right, no one knows and it is wrong to assume. Unfortunately, just like many situations we see and hear of there are those who profit from those awful situations.  We realy have to rely on nothing but what we can do.  If someone is uncomfortable giving money for whatever their reasons then giving food, and clothing, or directing them by showing them the way to help is what we can do.  Maybe we don’t have money to give, but we do have a kind word.    People are homeless for many many reasons.  Some reasons are not anyones fault and some are, we are not in any position to judge those reasons, but we can only do what we can do. 
        I think Mr. Wow was and is expressing what many of us go through in our minds though when we are put in the position that he was and we all are at some point or another.  I admire the honesty of that and get a chuckle because in the end sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we see it.

        The tea party is dillusional and that is all I’m going to say at this point, but that represents so many people in this country who hang on to whatever they say because they want to believe that what they say is true and they want to find truth somewhere.   That is the danger.  It is easy to talk about belief and religion and to brainwash folks to believe anything, but harder to walk the walk.

        • avatar Richard Bassett says:

          I do not know what you mean by institutions. Do you mean transitional housing, a greater level of a shelter or a psychiatric ward, drug rehabs, what? As an addiction/ dual dx/crisis Counselor, I can tell you that aftercare is just as much of the treatment plan as any other issue. I can only speak from here, but no one is released from a psychiatric ward without a follow-up place to be…and is expecting them to be brought there. Working in a detox, I would contact the Department of Mental Health (if a mental health assessment is needed) and include them in a treatment team but with a psychotic patient leaving the facility, we are not standing at the front door waving good-bye to them. If they are a danger to themselves or others, we can legally keep them for three days. Part of the description of my profession is to arrange aftercare. Maybe a half way house, dry shelter, a sober house, medical intervention, another 30 day program, a long term rehabilitation program,18 months, regarding addiction, a Department of Mental Health single room occupancy unit…one with 24 hour client services, group homes, congregate living,  intensive out-patient group therapy, providing a post detox psychologist and psychiatrist. I DO this while they are in the institution. I said 1% of the homeless just find themselves there one morning. Well, there are steps to take. Talking to one’s doctor will bring you to their own working mental health therapist to assess the problem and create an appropriate treatment plan. This can be done for free in any emergency room. This has to be done with the consent of the client. If they prefer their street life, it is always there….but it isn’t going to do anything positive to their lives. Remember, we are Health Care Professionals…not their father and their mother. And Mary, yes, there can be acute short term homeless situations (a fire), but the homelessness I am talking about is indicative of years. Years of homeless are due to the same causes, mental health and addiction, and not wanting any help…except a detox (for a spin-dry) if they are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Even then, they are referred to a live-in post-detox program or a live in Transitional Support Service program (30-90 days). If they choose, they leave the institution and go right back to the streets. It is a comfortable environment where everything is familiar. Most times, when the body gives out or a family is threatening to leave the addict for good…they are motivated to stay in treatment. This is not rocket science. It happens to millions of people every day. It is called the ‘ Continuumof Care’. Reintegration into society is the goal. Some need more assistance than others, but I do not see a 50 year old male, making 65,000 a year, entering a public delox. There are private ones…like “The Betty Ford Center” but the cost of that is 32,000 dollars a month. No insurance coverage that would make a dent. The homeless man/woman that you are giving a dime to is far, far away from getting healthy…if that is what he or she wants.
           And vets receive more services than anyone else for the rest of their lives. They are dozens of referrals targeting that population. Compliance is the key.

          • avatar Mary says:

            Richard, the ideal discharge is what you are describing.  At the time that I was writing about and in the area that I am writing about sometimes the ideal did happen , sometimes it happened for a little while and sometimes it didn’t happen at all.  It is all great on paper, looks nice, sounds nice, but there was and still are times when things look great that it just doesn’t work because of lack of backup, closing of services and shortages of money and finally because the person involved cannot conform to the “rules” of the outside world.

            I lived close to a very large and one of the oldest Psych hospitals in the nation.  The hospital is still standing but is used for other services.  It is like a huge university campus and in fact was where Cornell University was first planned to be.  If you have ever heard of “Ship of Fools” this is where that term came from.  In the Victorian era people were commited to these hospitals for many many reasons and lots of them were because the people committed did things that were a “embarrasment” to their families.   Stuttering, sleep walking, masturbation, birth defects,  one leg shorter than the other, and anything that was not the norm and you could be put on the ship of fools that would take you across Seneca Lake , N.Y. to Willard Psych Hospital or Hospital of the Insane.  Thousands of people lived there and never left.  There wasn’t a lot of reasons to leave.  They were in a little community and all of their needs were met there.  If you were not psychiatric you became environmentally psychiatric.  That is the fact.  Then there were outcries from the public because numerous numerous news agencies began doing stories about the conditions of these hospitals.  Now rightfully so.  The conditions these folks lived in were often too terrible to even consider but they had been out of sight, out of mind for so long that no one was prepared properly for the affect(s) opeining the doors would mean, not even social workers.  If you were one of these institutionalized people these conditions were what you were used to.  You knew the rules and you knew what you needed to do to survive.  Suddenly the rules are changed and the Do Gooders have come out of the woodwork.  Where were these people when they were needed?

            Even to this day there is a general lack of information out there as to what people need and to those people we are just Do Gooders . 

            I actually wrote my thesis on De Institutionalization.  It contains many pages that I cannot write about here, but the point is that as educated as we are, we are trained to do that care plan, submit it and feel good about it, even if it is not relevant to the person we are writing it for.

          • avatar Richard Bassett says:

            First deinstitutionalization comes in stages. If you are truly homeless, you can live and sleep anywhere you wish…if you are not caught, here, as I said, we have a Central Park area, which is the home of most of the homeless, especially in summer. These people know the system, find an address from a relative, and get their welfare, social security income and social security disability….all before age 62 (the retirement age where resources become plentiful). But, those in central park, get their monthly checks, do not pay rent, buy and sell their drugs or remain passed out due to alcohol under some Elm Tree in the park. With an address, you can get an ID Card. A shelter address can get you a State ID card. Due to their low (no) income, all of their medical costs are paid for. Remember, all this information is well known and utilized every month by this population. Where is the motivation to improve their lives? If they are chronically living in a shelter (or jail for twenty years) they are 100% institutionalized and need specific case management (at no cost to them) to integrate them into society. For some, they prefer to be institutionalized because they know all of their needs will be met, and they will have no bills. All of their money belongs to them. Some will go so far as create criminal acts to return to prison, where life is constant day after day. Massachusetts closed many transitional housing programs (where you are free to come and go, but still must hold some independent responsibility), state mental hospitals (everyone was transferred to an intensive outpatient group therapy program and given a room to live in) or half-way houses (now you do not have to be abstinent to stay in each program). They have