Features

'Man on a mission'

"'Man on a mission'" Continued...

Issue: "Africa, Inc.," Oct. 10, 2009

Q: Doesn't the government do some things right? Entitlement checks come without fail on the first of every month, and it's the worst day of the month. More ambulance runs, more beat-ups, and more robberies.

Q: But at Step 13 people work and save. They go from a dorm to a single room, and if they're doing well I've made an agreement with the bank that they can get a bank account and checking account on my recommendation. They can also get a credit card with $500 secured so they can start building up their credit. I have them pull up their credit rating and it's terrible.

Q: What do you say to those who want to help the homeless by giving them money? First of all, the word homeless is a generic term. Some are physically disabled, mentally disabled, people who have lost their jobs and apartments. Some are lazy bums who have no intention of ever working a day in their lives. They're out there using you and they laugh at you. I've been around the campfires where they brag about it: "I thought she was going to give me $5 and she gave me $15. . . ." It's a game. Especially during the holidays, if you give someone a $5 or $10 bill and they go buy two bottles of Mad Dog . . .

Q: Mogen David wine . . . Right. They'll get drunk, get hit by a car, or maybe freeze to death.

Q: But there are some people who truly need help, right? Truly, especially now. You have the new breed: You see a man and a woman with two children who have been working for 10 or 15 years, no place to go, and they see drunks getting free housing, through Housing First.

Q: You don't like the federal program based on the idea that the street environment leads to drinking and drugging, and if you take them off the street they'll stop. Rich people get cranky when they go out on a Saturday morning to go to Starbucks with out-of-town guests and they see someone bathing in the Platte River, another one urinating on their car, a guy sleeping on the porch-so they get them off the street and don't care if they're fixed or not. They say I'm mean-spirited because I don't want to give them an apartment for nothing, but any system that takes responsibility away from a capable person dehumanizes that person, and God didn't mean it to be that way.

Q: What's your success rate for people who have been out of your program for a year? How many are still off drugs and alcohol? The Cummings Foundation called and asked if two doctoral students could come and track my success rate. I said sure, and gave them the addresses of businesses I had sent guys to. So they did the tracking and said that it was 40 percent, and then the Cummings Foundation sent us a check for $100,000.

Q: What's the success rate for folks going through government programs? One to 2 percent for long-term alcoholics or addicts.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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