Posts tagged ‘poverty industry’

Sydney Homeless Connect or How to take your tax dollars & goodwill

Today (June 5th) 10 a.m. at Sydney Town Hall Sydney Homeless Connect host the annual trade show and marginalised persons fishing expedition of the Poverty industry.

 The fishing expedition dishes up a hot lunch and commerce discards donated (some as tax writeoffs) as bait in an annual expedition to find marginalised people to monetise. Targeting the Sydney Homeless Community as hand-up tokens to utilise to collect your tax dollars your generous donations and possibly voluntary goodwill these organisations are in fact multimillion dollar annual turnover businesses, most quite unfamiliar to the Sydney Homeless community.

 Its no accident that the Trades Show happens just before the end of the financial year- you might just write a donation which you can claim back in your tax return.

 Standout among the parasites preying today are Mission Australia, the major beneficiary of cosy government relationships forged in the back-room secrecy of bipartisan Australian politics. Inaugural CEO Patrick McClure, an ex brother in the Brotherhood of St Laurence wrote the book on NGO relationships with Australian government and how both could monetise the marginalised. Its called “The McClure Report” and provides the roadmap for CDEP/ Workchoices and NT Intervention / Income Management -hugely beneficial to the poverty industry AND government.

 The current “ten year plan” initiated by the Rudd Labor Government is The Road Home. Started in 2009 its a spend of $6 Billion of your Tax Dollars on “reducing homelessness by 50%”. Numerous requests to departments including direct in person requests to Ministers Mark Arbib and Tanya Plibersek to quantify the 50% referred to have gone unanswered. Is it 50% of the 2009 figure? Or an extrapolated 2019 figure? Or some other figure altogether? I’m sure they will tell us in 2019 but for now its a big secret –and a lie — based on the increased numbers of Homeless sleeping rough on the Streets of Sydney.

 The SAAP plan provides much revenue and growth opportunity for “The Sector” as the Poverty Industry calls itself. New St Vincents de Paul buildings harvested from Social Housing property stock in Waterloo add resources to the NOT IN POVERTY Vinnies (and ultimately Catholic Church) , while shiny new vans and a vast array of ineffective programs drive your tax dollar further into the coffers of Mission Australia. The Salvos and Mission Australia are busy too finding jobs (sans sustainable incomes) for marginalised and slaves for an ever grateful profit conscious corporate sector.

 City of Sydney and contract services provider NEAMI will most likely be there too… their nimby solutions to homelessness provide zero new affordable housing in the Sydney 2000 postcode. The City of Sydney provides only token homeless services and its contractor Neami is seen as a prime subverter of homelessness resources to assist mental health clients tipped from the health budget allowing Federal government to falcetiously claim savings and efficiencies in the Health portfolio.

 Some smaller NFPs which legitimately provide services to the marginalised such as The Benjamin Footpath Library and Clothesline will more than likely be there too- mere window dressing for a Trade Show which you should be VERY sceptical of .   

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reviewing Sydney Homeless Connect

My abiding impression is that they weren’t giving out houses – or smokes!! Both are big priorities for homeless people.

Did anyone attending look at the ceiling, and the amount of covert surveillance equipment installed? I didn’t notice any of that when I attended Chicka Dixons Funeral a while ago.Surely it wasn’t a covert information gathering exercise ?

The homeless people attending were in by and large the identified homeless- those who already regularly use the existing services.

Conspicuously absent were the homeless Asian communities, many of whom are known to be homeless and unemployed in the CBD. Between leaving SHC Town Hall and blogging I went and asked some why. Embarassment, and a lack of communication skills were some of the pro-offered reasons from the Vietnamese and Khmer communities.For the Chinese and Koreans the issue was “there is nothing we can do for them,so we can’t accept help from them.”

The events timing meant that the working homeless, a good few of whom work just across the road at Woolworths were also unable to attend due,obviously,to work commitments.

On the subject of cultural diversity,or a lack thereof, there seemed a disproportionate number of Polynesian people in evidence, many of whom are well known.Some discussion was heard of a proposal to work on Maori based initiatives for the Maori community in Sydney. If this cause resonates with you or your organisation, please contact this blog as we are able to pass on details.Dis-connection is a recurring symptom of the reasons leading to homelessness.

Of the organisations present we readily acknowledge the good work done by Lou’s Place (Womens Shelter), their table neighbours Big Issue, which have put more than $10million into the pockets of Australian homeless on the very admirable “a hand up,not a handout basis”.

New kid on the Sydney City homelessness block Neami were well and professionally represented. I spoke with their very passionate and committed homelessness co-ordinator, who didn’t just wake up one day and decide to run a homelessness service. Constrained by their contractual obligations and available resources, Neami have the job ahead of them convincing the Street that they are relevant capable and/or even interested- a legacy of the empty promises by a kaleidoscope of prior NGOs whose self interest was at the fore of their relationship with street people. They are off to a fair start having hired a couple of ex street people as staff and the street jury is still very much out on what, and at what value they can deliver.

The City of Sydney under Mayor Clover Moore has been more “homeless friendly”, than the previous Sartor / Turnbull administrations. I would like to see City of Sydney (and councils nationwide) take on more responsibility for the provision of social housing in their respective areas-in fact I’d like to see social housing via government managed as a partnership between Federal and State Government,without NGOs,without State Government. While acknowledging City of Sydneys current role,responsibility to ratepayers et al, it would be nice for our homeless community to be recognised as residents and given resident rated access to some of the council facilities, such as Cook & Phillip Park, which has conveniently located showers for many.

I will also mention The Footpath Library and Clothesline as providing useful non-housing services. Jesus Cares people were seen and are acknowledged for their longtime commitment to providing nourishment from their foodvan services, totally unfunded by government or without any major sponsorship.I’m unsure if they were an official participant or not. Anyone looking to donate to any of these can be assured their donation is not squandered on admin, r&d and consultants -which is more than can be said for the rest of the participants thus far unmentioned.

As far as I can tell,the rest of the participants are mainly about attaching their organisational siphon to the Fed and State government tanks, brimming with over six billion dollars – which they undoubtedly intend to take in the name of providing homelessness services.

I did not see one organisation there with the immediate capability to provide affordable (or any) houses. And affordable, appropriately located configured and leased housing is the only solution to a housing crisis. Other services, some of which homeless people undoubtedly need,should not be considered as part of “the homelessness problem.” Its a lot like a dentist wanting to cure your toothache as part of your financial restructuring process-you do need your teeth done,but the issue is financial . Supported Assistance is not an agreeable option for all. Not many appreciate the invasiveness of the SAAP model. Not that it shouldn’t be offered-but not as part of a housing program. Critically, SAAP should not be the only choice available to homeless people as an entry level option.

I remind all that the solution to an affordable housing shortage is sustainable incomes replacing wageslavery and ummm.. more appropriate affordable housing where people want to live. One cannot solve a housing crisis with massages and toothbrushes.There are some alternatives to housing (such as mobile home ownership) which are cheaper to fund and will suit some people with highly mobile work or lifestyle needs. But SAAP or other supported accommodation is an expensive way of funding the same failed parasites who have bludged in our name for decades.

Overall, a great opportunity for opportunists to massage the wallets of potential donors in the leadup to the end of the financial year. A wonderful opportunity for the poverty industry to indulge in some ego massage. Neami get to meet their target clientele. A large number of homeless get a free feed and lots of free stuff.But its not really free,is it? Somewhere someone has had to pay for it all, and the person who has the least say in spending, pays the most.That person is you-the taxpayer.

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