Happy Holidays from Your Friends at the Vermont Department of Social Services…


Reprinted from the Canadian Press… 

A homeless man thought he was doing some good by standing at a supermarket for 10 hours a day to get shoppers to donate money into a red Salvation Army kettle.

The shelter where Paul Tucker lives doesn’t see it that way.

The Good Samaritan Haven ordered him out by Saturday, saying Tucker, 48, is spending his time raising money for the needy instead of finding a place to live or looking for work.

The 20-bed shelter offers emergency housing, clothing and food, and requires clients to leave each day at 7 a.m. to look for housing or go to work, executive director Paul Mascitti said.

The average guest stays 29 days, Mascitti said. Tucker has been there since May.

“If you’re not doing anything 10 hours a day, whether it’s lounging on a beach or working for the Salvation Army or sitting at a Dunkin’ Donuts, you’re breaking your contract with us,” Mascitti said.

“I can’t see someone saying, ‘I’m going to benefit mankind when I haven’t taken care of myself.”‘

The Salvation Army, which runs a soup kitchen he frequents, gave Tucker one of the bell ringer jobs two weeks ago. The gig pays $20 a day for meals.

“He’s a sweet man; he’d do anything for anybody,” said Capt. Louis Patrick, who runs the local group.

Dressed in a knit Salvation Army cap and wearing a Salvation Army coat, Tucker solicits the donations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under a sign that reads: “Sharing and Caring. Need Knows No Season.”

“It’s for generosity, really,” he said.

Tucker, who has worked as a painter, a farmer and a maintenance worker at a fast-food restaurant, has been getting well-wishes from shoppers who know of his situation and holds no ill will toward the shelter.

“I don’t find fault with them, but I don’t feel it’s quite right,” he said.

Tucker said he isn’t sure where he’ll go when he clears out of the shelter. There’s a hiking camp he’s heard about nearby and may go there.

Mascitti, meanwhile, makes no apologies. Rules are rules, he said.

“Here it is, the ‘Grinch’ time of the year, and this guy is being asked to leave the homeless shelter, no room at the inn. It’s an old story,” he said.

You think Mascitti is a ‘law-and-order’ Republican?

I think so.

Besides, if Tucker is getting paid by the Salvation Army ($20.00), doesn’t that qualify as work? Furthermore, if you don’t have a real job and no income, how do you find a place to live?

It’s the same old institutional double standard handed down by administrators driving Cadillacs and living in the suburbs, who are trying desperately to make “poor” disappear, or worse yet, criminalize them (another Republican platform). 

I don’t get it.

Merry Christmas.


Posted on December 1, 2007, in Culture, Domestic Policy, Human Rights, Law, Politics, Poverty, Social Policy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Just thought I would clarify that the header you are using for this particular post of yours is incorrect (as originally posted by you), as well as also being ill-informed and misleading: i.e., this is not something the “Vermont Department of Social Services…” (or, whatever they call themselves these days) are involved with having done. Rather, this is something being done by the people responsible for running the Good Samaritan Haven homeless shelter located in Barre, Vermont; that said, I think they do get some state and federal funding, so hopefully with the help of the exposure the news article(s) are providing, maybe some heat will be brought down and the person will either be allowed to stay or, even better, be properly assistance in obtaining permanent housing or at least some temporary quarters until that is achieved.

    In addition, as I do not think politics plays into why the decision was made and enforced, I also think it is wrong to assume that it is anything to do with whatever the politics of the people in charge are.

    This is not the first, nor do I doubt it will be the last, time that they have made such arbitrary decisions; though it is rare for them to either get called on about such or, even when they are, to change their minds — although sometimes they have back tracked when pressured.

    From what I understand, if what I have been told is correct anyway, not only do they have several people staying there for much longer than this individual has, but not all of those are able to seek either employment or housing and also have nowhere else to go.

  2. mwb,

    First, I understand that they are private non-profit…but they are funded by soembody, and that somebody has the final say whether it be the state of Vermont of the feds (they’re all the same group of incompetent fools to me).

    Secondly, I work within the DSS system as a career advisor and job skills trainer in the area of (IT). I know how these programs work (Do what we say or you’re out!). I live it everyday.

    Third, I’ll bet you a donut and a coffee that Mascitti is a Republican. I can smell it. Who throws out someone three weeks before Christmas? Who?

    Only a knuckleheaded ‘gotta-follow-the-rules’, inflexible conservative, that’s who.

    I’ve seen it too many times. I would never do that to a homeless person this close to Christmas…screw the rules.

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