In Good Conscience

Posted: December 10, 2008 in Bureauacracy, Government, Homelessness, Housing, Morality, Politics, Veterans

We’re midway through the Christmas season. Decorations have been put in place. Christmas trees have been trimmed. And despite the economic situation in the U.S., folks are feeling a bit more generous; expressing a bit more goodwill toward their fellow man. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?  

That may be true for private citizens. For government officials and bureaucrats however – well, that’s another story. They’re still behaving like Ebenezer Scrooge. Unfortunately, it’s the folks at the very bottom of the social economic ladder who are getting the run around and being left out in the cold – literally.

Yesterday, The Day (in Connecticut) published an article titled, Plans To Build Apartments For Homeless Vets Hit A Snag.

Not only has it hit a snag, but according to the article,

"The state has put the funding for all new supportive housing projects on ‘indefinite hold,’ including a proposed apartment complex for homeless veterans in Jewett City."

According to Jeffrey Beckham, spokesman for the Office of Policy and Management,

"We could not, in good conscience, commit to going forward with a new or expanded program at a time when we’re developing the budget for the coming two years and likely proposing cuts to existing programs."

Well, that makes sense to me. After all, we wouldn’t want any politician or bureaucrat going against their "good conscience." We certainly wouldn’t want them to be concerned in any way with the reality that any Veteran might be left out in the cold and homeless, would we? Heck, providing the funding to build those apartments might actually help folks who served to protect this nation – and we certainly can’t have that, can we?

Nope. Better to just sweep those Vets under the rug; pretend they’re not there. They’ve done the duty, now they’re no longer of any use. We have other things to worry about – like how many lights are going to be placed on the city’s Christmas tree or how many glittery things are going to be hung from the lamp posts.

Bah. Humbug!

I have to tell you – when I read the article I lost my temper. The fact, that Mr. Beckham had the arrogance to even mention the words "in good conscience" made me cringe with anger.

How could they "in good conscience" allow any Veteran to remain homeless? How could they "in good conscience" not seek a way to find the funding to provide a way to help those Vets find a way off the streets?

Perhaps, "in good conscience," those local leaders should "propose cuts" to their own salaries and government perks.

What I found preposterous however, was the cost of the proposed apartments: $5.2 million for 18 apartments.

I’m not sure what each of these units would have built in them, but that seems like an awful lot of money for only 18 apartments. Certainly they could find someone to build them for quite a bit less, or someone who could build more units for the same amount of money. Or would that make too much sense?

I’m not the only one who thought the price of those apartments to be somewhat ridiculous. One reader left a comment to the article saying,

"Unfortunately, I’m not surprised our government is leaving our vets out in the cold. I do have to question why only 18 apartments for 5.2 mil? That’s almost $300K per apartment! …that money might be better spent to purchase as many as 36 foreclosed homes for that amount. You’d get more bang for the buck and kill two birds with one stone."

Although I agree with the comment, I have serious doubts that local officials in Connecticut would. If anything, I’m pretty certain they’d come up with some off the wall reason for the outrageous cost – all "in good conscience," of course.

It saddens me that local elected leaders always seem to find funding for things which don’t really amount to a hill of beans. Somehow, however, they never seem to find the funds to do the right thing – like providing ways of helping Veterans who find themselves homeless.

Yet, I’m willing to wager that if they found themselves homeless they’d be the first ones to clamor that government policies needed to be changed; that there weren’t enough services to help them find a way out of homelessness; that more funding needed to be allocated to address the growing numbers of folks who were on the streets.

I wonder if that should be a prerequisite for all politicians and bureaucrats: that they have to experience homelessness for at least a month.

Perhaps then they would indeed develop a "good conscience."

  1. AnAmerican says:

    Once again, yet another sad example of the lack of dedication to Veterans issues in this country. I just can’t grasp how government lacks the needed follow through to assure that services exist for homeless veterans!
    We all know that where there is a will, there is a way…so why not search for cheaper althernatives for housing our homeless veterans? We seem more than willing to help 3rd countries set up camps for refugees yet we don’t offer even basic shelter assistance to our own Veterans? This not lacks “good conscience”, it denotes a country that has lost focus of what is morally right.

  2. Skye says:

    At that price, they’d be upscale condos in my part of the country. Makes one wonder why anybody signs up for the service anymore.

  3. Jerome says:

    They want to spend over $5 million dollars to build 18 apartments? No wonder the America is going broke. But it figures that those idiot politicians don’t care about it because its not their money they are spending, it’s ours.

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