“Open For Discussion”- Guest Blog- The Limits of Charity- T. Paine

November 15, 2010 at 12:03 am 9 comments


This is the first in the “Open for Discussion” Guest Blog – This post is actually the thoughts and opinions of more than one individual compiled under the nom de plume T- Paine.

The Limits of Charity ?

What are the limits of charity?

This is a question that is being danced around in Lorain.
There have been at numerous meetings discussing the homeless, crime and general decay we are experiencing in Lorain. There are meetings regarding the growing homeless need. No one is looking at the root of the problem.

There exists in Lorain County a great disparity of social services. While everyone agrees that there is great need and that we should help those that are less fortunate, there should be limits to our assistance and an expectation of change as a result of our investment. If you look at Lorain and the disparity of services that we as a community provide compared to social services by all of the other cities in the county; then we in Lorain are either the nicest, most charitable people or the least intelligent. This would then mean that our surrounding neighbor communities are either made up of the most thoughtless or the most intelligent people.

Most people will say that the people of the surrounding communities are not bad people, even though they do not do the hard work of dealing with social programs or put their community at risk as does Lorain. Then we must conclude that we in Lorain must be the least intelligent for allowing these social programs to put our community at risk. If this is not the case, then why do other communities not step up and take upon their shoulders some of the charity work that is done in Lorain. Instead the surrounding communities send the less fortunate here.

Some will say that the need is greatest here. We agree because we have the programs to house feed and handle the need of a growing indigent population. We are in a terrible downward cycle as a community that is rapidly causing its ultimate demise. We are not serving just the homeless of our town we are now importing the homeless from surrounding cities, counties and states.

Why? Because; to quote a recent transfer from another state,

” I can get free services here in less than a month and back home it takes over a year”.

This individual has no friends in Lorain, no family and no ties to the community or the state of Ohio. Many others from Illinois, Florida, New York, West Virginia, and Kentucky have also come to Lorain for the easy benefits. They are here to take advantage of our social services, since it obvious that they have not come to find work in our depressed local economy.
Hooverville then – Lorain Now?

Lorain suffers from the hypocrisy of those residents of other communities who advocate for social programs for the disadvantaged and badly behaved, yet do not allow Section 8 housing or social programs in their nice community. These people want “someone” to help the less fortunate or demand that government should “do something”, but do they send their children to school where there are children from public housing? Do they shop at or support businesses that are patronized by people on public assistance? Of course not. Lorain bears the burden for them.

We have watched the soup kitchens and shelters grow from caring for a few individuals to being overwhelmed. This has caused additional organizations and churches to open up food kitchens and shelters.

Those waiting for their next meal camp out in the Library, roam the streets, alleys and neighborhoods. There are thefts of numerous items; copper disappears from vacant homes and from homes where the owners are on vacation. Anything that might be of value disappears from yards, outdoor furniture, tools, fences, gutters, siding and downspouts to name a few. Litter and broken windows make Lorain look threatening and uninviting. Aggressive panhandling is back and exists not only in the commercial areas, but in the residential neighborhoods. The police, in many cases know the perpetrator, but are unable to “catch them in the act” and aggressive methods to discourage them could be viewed as violations of civil rights or harassment.

How much more are the diminishing number of tax-paying residents and business people in Lorain willing to tolerate, let alone support? The programs that are offered keep growing and therefore the need keeps increasing as Lorain has the reputation of being “the place” for social programs. These programs have no expectation of an end for those they serve. We are merely warehousing and feeding. We are not teaching a man to fish, we are simply feeding him.

As the tax-paying few continue to leave the city, the tax base and donations will diminish creating an even larger problem. Our community is breaking under the stress created by the inequity that exists in the county. The city has no funds for basic services, crime increases while prevention becomes nearly impossible under the strain. Prisons, other communities and other states send the problems that they do not deal with to Lorain along with the people. The laws have come to protect not the innocent, but known criminals, and make enforcement agencies impotent.

Our neighborhoods and streets become less safe. Crime increases causing further exodus of residents and businesses. Housing vacancy increases causing property values to remain disproportionately low as compared to the rest of the county. Tax payers leave. Schools suffer. Businesses suffer. The spiral continues. Strangers are taking over our streets.

There are many good and decent people that need help and certainly there are some exceptions in all of the situations listed above.

The good people of Lorain are breaking under the burden and several questions need to be asked.

Can we not create limits to our charity that take care of our own without being taken advantage of and having to support the rest of the nation? Why should the good-hearted tax payers in Lorain be made to feel guilty for saying, “No, that’s enough”.

Can we create programs that have an expectation of change or end point, so that those on them have hope and motivation, instead of becoming more statistics of failure?

Can requirements of service be put in place as a reward for good behavior instead of entitlement? Community service projects such as, cleaning up litter, pulling weeds, performing simple chores could be a requirement for receiving services or meals. Our children perform simple chores to help out and develop a work ethic and to understand that nothing comes for free. All of us must perform at our jobs and maintain a good work record to receive our pay. Why can’t this be a requirement of the social programs? We have all heard that there is no value for anything that is given for free. We are not helping people we are making those on public assistance dependent on handouts rather than teaching values. The public assistance programs have become simply another addiction rather than a means to a cure.

Can random drug tests be made a requirement of receiving public assistance? A failed test would require immediate rehab treatment and continued “good progress” in order to maintain assistance. All taxpayers face consequences for not performing well at work or not paying the very taxes that support social programs some employers require monthly drug tests however those on public assistance have no standard to meet.

Why don’t other communities step up?
What are the rights of the taxpayers?

Can Lorain be charitable while upholding the laws that keep our children, homes and streets safe?

These are questions that must be asked if our community is to survive and thrive.

This is simply common sense.

T. Paine
Lorain, Ohio

Disclaimer: The views of the “Guest Writer” may not necessarily reflect the views of “that woman” blog

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, Open for Discussion, opinion, personal opinion. Tags: , , .

Can you hear them now?? Lorain City Schools Curiouser and Curiouser- Watson!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dennis Lamont  |  November 15, 2010 at 4:02 am


    Someplace there is an accounting as to how much HUD throws into Lorain every year. For example, the last time I looked Section 8 housing got $16,000,000 for one year.
    Lorain’s biggest developer, a no-hassle check handed to you, no muss, no fuss, no bother. And the very first thing they want to cut is Social Security, absolutely nothing about reducing the freebies …. sweet racket and even a better perpetual motion machine then road building.
    What do we have to do to make going to work better than the dole ? Decent entry level jobs and transportation to get to them ….the jobs are there but spending $6000-$8000 per year on a car doesn’t pay so the jobs go begging. The “haves” are dead are against spending a nickel on public transportation for the “have nots” to get to work, they would rather pay them welfare. Folks on welfare can’t afford to eat healthy and we would rather pay the medical bills when they are ill. Add to this the social surety that tomorrow is gonna be just as bad ,if not worse, then today as the gap widens and the powder keg keeps getting bigger and bigger.
    Somehow social justice with no handouts ..and I wish I could tell you how to achieve that.

  • 2. Bill Sturgill  |  November 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    It certainly makes one wonder when a social safety net is enabled enough to become a full time job and a way of life. I was never one who wouldn’t help someone help themselves. With that comes responsibility to that someone to help themselves. If anything is done past that point we are just enablers and part of the system.
    I don’t mind building a bridge because of a pitfall, I do mind building a bridge to entitillment. Discovering the gray area in there, lies the difference. There has to be checks and balances put in place , or it will crumble from its own weight.

  • 3. Ben  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    VERY interesting article.\
    My girlfriend became pregnant at at age 17. There were programs in place so we had a safe and reliable place to care for our son during school…providing we went to school and received passing grades. After graduation, my “baby’s momma” received merit based scholarships to attend LCCC. After completing her associates in applied science for radiology she moved to Virgina to marry me while I was stationed at Little Creek Amphibious Naval Base. Two months from now we will celebrate 17 years of marriage. I am fiercely proud of the people we have become and the lives that we have built together.
    WE KNOW with out the social programs that were in place we would have NEVER even made it out of high school, let alone college. This, coupled with a strong family support system that provided both financial and emotional support helped us to become who we are today. Not mentioned, but certainly most important is the role models our parents provided for us. We were both brought up to value hard work, self discipline, and the importance of family. Particularly the notion that marriage is a lot of hard work but well worth the effort for all involved, especially the children.
    For these reasons and many more I swore I would always support those in need, so that they may have the opportunities that my wife and I enjoyed. So that they may have happy successful lives, so that their children can do even better.

    Sadly, this is NOT what is happening. Positive role models that preach hard work and discipline are hard to come by in our City. Two calls to Lakeview Plaza in recent weeks are wreaking havoc in my moral compass. The first, a man roughly my age tried cooking a frozen hamburger patty directly on the electric coils of his stove top, not because he didn’t have a pan, but because he didn’t know any better. The second, another man tried cooking pork chops on the oven racks without a pan to catch the drippings. Again, there was a baking sheet above the fridge. … We are seeing an increasing number of incidents where people do not even have the basic skills for self preservation, let alone providing for off spring. These two incidents are not only sad and maddening, but they are directly endangering hundreds due to their ignorance.

    This blog is very timely for me. I have the solution. I have outlined it before, it needs tweaked but in part is fairly comprehensive.
    40 hours a week. 20 hours to be spent in school, for a GED, vocation, or degree based program. one hour per day learning life skill( anger management, home ec, resume writing, ect) and 15 hours a week working for less than min wage., (public works, small business, factory). This will encourage business to hire unqualified workers that would not normally be given a second glance. This will help to build a work ethic and sense of accomplishment. For this you will be provided groceries, housing, medical, and reliable safe child care. As long as you are making progress in your area of study(even if it’s just a GED or apprentice program) you will continue to qualify for these benefits.
    This will require lots of money, but will instantly provide a boost in the economy by hiring qualified day care workers, health care providers, handy men to make housing safe and livable, teachers, instructors, boost grocery sales, provide an influx of quality workers with money to spend in our community.
    This would be a monumental undertaking, but obviously, we cannot continue on the path we are on.

  • 4. thatwoman  |  November 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Ben if you would like I can put it up as a post rather than in comments I think it would get a wider audience? Let me know

  • 5. Ben  |  November 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    UUHHHH, I’m not that smart. No doubt, I would be the weakest link. Thank you for the offer, but I think it would require far more intelligent thought than I am able to provide. Besides,there is the flip side, as my Dad says, “I would rather pay a little more out of my check and not have to worry about people coming to my door begging.” Also, my plan would verge on social engineering. I’m not sure that is the answer either.

  • 6. thatwoman  |  November 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Tell your Dad that he needs to live around here they are knockin g at the doors 🙂

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    So this morning another one of the RSO notifications Parole Violation rape of a female child……. one of the untrackables with a homeless shelter as his adddress…….. sigh………..


  • […] of individuals in November 2010- under the nom de plume T Paine in the Open for Discussion serieshttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/open-for-discussion-guest-blog-the-limits-of-charity-t-pai… It is a question that is being danced around in Lorain. There have been at numerous meetings […]

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November 2010

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