Shepherd's siblings screwing sheep
The true tale of a Good Shepherd who went away, leaving some of his sheep in the care of his little brothers. At first, all went well. The Good Shepherd's little brothers tended to the sheep, religiously. Both the little brothers and the sheep were happy. As time went by, though, the little brothers strayed from the instructions the Good Shepherd had given them and began not only neglecting the sheep but engaging in perversions the Good Shepherd had warned them not to.
This following e-mail "exchange" with Douglas Crosby, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton and Carmen Salciccioli, director of the Good Shepherd Centre, 15 Mary St., Hamilton, ON outlines my experience with the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd. I'll be going into greater detail in an upcoming article, tentatively titled: "Epistle to the Church (RC) at Hamilton" or "How to save money while actually helping the needy".
While the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd didn't help me, I did notice some being helped and mention these observations, following the e-mail "exchange". Again, I'll be going into greater detail in the upcoming article, I mentioned.
ME to Douglas 3 September 2014
On the Diocese of Hamilton web site, under Hamilton Catholic Service Organizations, is found:
Good Shepherd, through our Faith in People, protects and promotes human dignity, equality, progress and potential. We support thousands of vulnerable members of our community every year and help them re-establish healthy and productive lives. www.goodshepherdcentres.ca
Sadly, this conflicts with my own experience and, based on observations as well as numerous discussions, that of many others. Barring the unexpected, I'll be posting a detailed account, on www.gyfhas.ca, titled: "Shepherd's siblings screwing sheep", and including it in a book, on our "social safety net", which I hope to have completed next year.
In the meantime, to give you an idea of how the Roman Catholic Church will appear, I've included the text of three e-mail messages to Carmen Salciccioli, director of the Good Shepherd Centre, 15 Mary St., Hamilton, ON.
I've, also, included, for your information, the text of an e-mail message to Francis, who I believe you know. I'll be sending him another, before Christmas, and will copy you, if you wish.
ME to Carmen 21 July 2013
Attached is a revision of the e-mail message to Ramana Ganesaratnam, of Housing Hamilton, which I'd copied you on. Being somewhat stressed, I'd spelled his name incorrectly and the message bounced. I took the opportunity to correct a couple of other errors.
Also attached is a picture of a letter, from Anna DiPrata, which I was handed on Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after arriving at Good Shepherd Centre, I met with Scott, explained my situation, provided him with some relevant documentation and requested assistance in contacting six prospective landlords, I'd found before coming, determining if their units met my criteria, and, if so, making arrangements to see them; I was referred to Housing Help Center. For the next six months, I ran my ass ragged, attempting to obtain assistance, to no avail, from people Scott referred me to, who claim to provide assistance and are paid to do so; this while being subjected to extreme stresses, which Scott is aware of. The "assistance" I've received has exhausted and upset me to the point, a couple weeks ago, I was in the Emergency Department at Hamilton General Hospital for EIGHT HOURS, while Dr. Haley determined that this was the cause of a physical "attack" I'd experienced.
The documentation, I provided Scott with, included copies of several letters, from two of my doctors. These list some of my medical problems, including "serious cardiac and respiratory conditions", "mobility issues", "significant hearing loss and vision impairment" as well "difficulty with cognitive function". They, also, state my doctors' EXPERT MEDICAL OPINIONS that: "(I require) considerable assistance in order to search for suitable housing", "(I am) unable to search for suitable alternative housing and move without considerable assistance" and "(my medical problems) are worsened as the depression or anxiety symptoms are intensified by stress". Anna reviews this and concludes: "there should be no issued (SIC) of securing housing".
Anna, also, states: "(I was) offered suitable housing that (I) refused". The only housing I've been offered, which was suitable to me, was the apartment at 30 Sanford. I accepted the apartment. Housing Hamilton withdrew the offer, which, in my understanding, is not even close to me refusing the apartment.
It's reasonable, I think, to assume that Anna, in her position, would be aware of both the limited public facilities and quality of "assistance", available in Hamilton. While I don't, usually, agree with: "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", it seems apropos.
ME to Carmen 24 July 2013
Sorry I didn't get a chance to say "goodbye" but Michael told me, at 6:00 PM, that I had to leave by 8:00 PM.
Unfortunately, after my being run ragged, "complying" with "suggestions" from Good Shepherd staff...to the point of missing one of my few friend's birthday, another's funeral, a severe "anxiety attack" and left unable to deal with my health and financial concerns; being harassed, almost continually; threatened, several times, with physical violence...including death...apparently, because some of your guests disliked having to move their lazy asses off the stairs so I could use the handrail; being told to "act like an adult and ask them to move", by Good Shepherd staff; being physically assaulted four times...twice by the same guest, after Good Shepherd staff, apparently, did nothing when advised of the first incident, and once by Good Shepherd staff; having to walk miles in extremely high temperatures and humidity, then, trying to sleep in ninety to a hundred degrees and in the midst of a viral infection...the third, in the past six months, Good Shepherd chooses to put me out....at 8:00 PM...with two hours notice, in spite of Dr. Kruger's December, 2012 letter, which you have on file, rather than helping me with a few telephone calls; perhaps, a few bus tickets and a few more days' accommodation, as I requested. Not an unreasonable request, I think, given the six months of my life, the, literally, hundreds of miles I walked...much of it in EXTREMELY inclement weather, the shit and abuse I've tolerated...primarily but not entirely from other guests and the sacrifices I've made, all of which has resulted in no benefit to me but has increased the "head count"...or whatever it's referred to as, of the several agencies who've scre...sorry, I meant "serviced" me.
Please, don't misunderstand. With very few exceptions, I like the Good Shepherd staff and, greatly, appreciate the assistance some gave me, which made my stay less unpleasant. I changed my mind about Flo when I found out she'd been told she couldn't do anything to help and wasn't just trying to annoy me. I even like you and appreciate your arranging the "late appeal", taking care of the first "deadline" and the efforts you made to find "equivalent housing", for me. I still think, though, you have more influence than you, perhaps, realize. I'm pretty sure you could've dealt with Anna and, probably, Housing Hamilton.
It's likely apparent, by now, that I'm capable of dealing with both but I have very little time or energy, other pressing matters and was never much inclined to "tact and diplomacy". Perhaps, if I'd had more time, I could've reduced the "collateral damage" and avoided involving Good Shepherd. As it is, the two hours I was given to get out wasn't sufficient to pack and have a shower.
When Brother Sean left, yesterday evening, he told me he was going home to relax and would see me to-morrow; I hope he got to relax.
ME to Carmen 29 August 2014
Sorry I've been out of touch for a while. I needed to calm down, after our last conversation, and Scott's kept telling me that he's going to help.
Last year, I followed your "suggestions", for eight months, until you kicked me out, after I insisted that the handrails, on the front steps, be kept clear. I wound up in a lot worse shape than I was in when I arrived and was forced to, literally, "live on the streets", for eleven months. This year, when I return and again ask for help, you tell me that I "have to go to the ODSP office" because "that's how the game's played" and are unable to give any reason to believe doing so would be any less a waste of time and source of frustration than it has for the the past, almost, five years.
In my considerable experience, talking with anyone, other than Romanella, in Mississauga, at ODSP is a complete waste of time. If you'd read the articles, posted on www.gyfhas.ca you'd have seen that I've tried talking with ODSP, for more than four years, and gotten nothing but "shafted". Not only I but, at least, a half dozen others; mostly, social service workers, attempting to "advocate", on my behalf. ODSP has "stonewalled", mislead, lied, violated my privacy, falsely accused me of committing fraud and, apparently, attempted to entrap me into committing fraud...pretty much, the same tactics as Hamilton Housing employed. TALKING WITH ODSP HASN'T WORKED!!!
The rent subsidy, you offered, has nothing to do with ODSP. Last year, when I arrived, I had a list of a half dozen, potential, apartments with rents of about $500.00 and only wanted help, in the form of a couple of nights' lodging, a few phone calls and a few bus tickets, to obtain one; that's not what I got. This year, those apartments are renting for about $700.00. Due, in large part, to your involvement, I believe, my income's been reduced by, approximately, $300.00 per month and I'm having to pay for my medications, which would be about $450.00 per month, if I could manage to get them all.
Allison Hibbert made a bet with me, last year, which she lost. The "stakes" were a Tim Horton's medium coffee. This year, when I tried to collect, she reneged. Allison's, apparently, an immature "deadbeat". You aren't so I have to wonder why you're reneging on the subsidy offer. The only reason, I've been able to think of, is that you've squandered donations made, for the benefit of the "needy", on something silly; an island, for example.
Last year, I played your "game", didn't like it, lost a considerable amount of time/money/health and don't see any way I could "win", at it. This year, we're going to to play my game. It's called "push the button" and, while I may not "win", I can't lose and will have a lot of fun.
PS - My invitation to dinner is still open; let me know what evening's best for you and any "dietary restrictions", you may have.
PPS - Other than my statement to the effect that you aren't an immature "deadbeat", my use of "you" and "your" refers to your organization and not yourself.
ME to Francis 9 December 2013
In Evangelii Gaudium, you ask: "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
Assuming the question's not rhetorical, "news" is information which those receiving it are ignorant of and, generally, have an interest in. Most people are aware that there are those of us who are elderly, homeless and that we die; frequently, from exposure. Often, from cardiac or respiratory conditions exacerbated by the almost constant stress we're subjected to or these and other medical conditions we're unable to obtain treatment for. Few have any real interest. On the other hand, the value of stock markets fluctuates constantly and significant changes; particularly, losses are of interest to nearly everyone. Doubtless, to those having investments. Also, to those without who understand that fluctuations in stock markets affect their cost of living; possibly, their livelihood. That's "how".
"Why"? Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas; "greed". In a world of increasing population, decreasing resources; hence, elevated competition for resources, many individuals in positions of power do what they believe necessary to maintain or improve those positions, caring nothing for the consequences of their actions on others. In more than a few cases, intentionally, harming others for their own gain; spiritalia nequitiae in caelestibus.
The "fourth estate"; the "media" frequently distorts or obfuscates the "news" and, occasionally, publishes lies; usually, to the benefit of some of those in positions of power. In other cases, the same media refuses to report documented news which is likely to be beneficial to many who are not in positions of power but detrimental; at least to the reputations of some of those who are. This leaves the homeless without a voice in addition to being without a home, without rights, without help and, for more than a few, without hope.
You say: "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty..." You, certainly, have that. Unfortunately, most of the Church's major wounds are "self-inflicted". One, especially, seems appropriate to mention: the Reichskonkordat. Many Jews were saved, from the Nazis, by many Catholics, acting independently. Many Jews perished, in large part, because of the Catholic Church. The situation of the elderly homeless person dying of exposure is not without similarities to the Jew dying in the ovens at Auschwitz, like Edith Stein...sorry, I should have said: "St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross". It's interesting that Edith wrote to Pius XI, in April 1933, asking for help.
Post Scriptum ~ 'Jesus the Homeless' is beautiful art but somewhat of a fantasy piece, which may contribute to an idealized view of homelessness. In the sculptor's area and, I imagine, most of the world, a homeless person, trying to sleep on a public bench, will be told to "move along" by police or security...if they're fortunate. A couple of months ago, Harley Gordon Lawrence, a sixty-two year old homeless man, was trying to sleep on a bench, in a bus shelter. He was doused with gasoline, by two males in their late teens or early twenties, set on fire and burned to death. Jesus gave us a more realistic view of homelessness when he said: "...filius autem hominis non habet ubi caput reclinet".
ME to Douglas 4 September 2014
I understand my message of the 3RD was forwarded to Carmen, even though I'd copied him.
I expect this would do as much good as Archbishop O'Brien forwarding complaints to Father Labelle would've done. Hopefully, we can produce a better outcome.
Francis has said you have an "obligation to assist the poor and the needy" and "duty to help those who are poor and marginalized".
Here's an opportunity. Please, don't blow it by "sloughing it off".
Douglas to ME 5 September 2014
Our office received your email of September 3rd and 4th regarding your experiences with the Good Shepherd Organization in Hamilton.
The Brothers of the Good Shepherd Centre are knowledgeable and caring individuals who have assisted many people in the Hamilton Community. Although your personal experience with the Good Shepherd Centre has not been a positive one, I would strongly suggest that you contact the Centre again for assistance.
ME to Douglas 5 September 2014
Thank you, for the reply.
One of my doctors worked with Bro. Richard, who I expect you know, many years ago and described him, to me, as the male version of Mother Teresa. It was at my doctor's suggestion that I came to Hamilton, last year, when I was unable to find affordable housing or obtain assistance in Brampton. I spoke with Bro. Richard and was referred to Bro. Sean McIsaac, then manager of the Good Shepherd Centre, 15 Mary St, Hamilton, The text of the e-mail messages to Carmen, which I included in my initial message, gives you some idea of the "help" I received. In fairness, though, I have seen Good Shepherd helping some and will be detailing those observations, in the article and book, I mentioned, as well as a, now, planned "epistle to the Church (RC) at Hamilton".
So far as the Brothers of the Good Shepherd Centre being knowledgeable; perhaps, some are. Apparently, though, they weren't aware that, when a person with a disability requests accommodation, kicking them out is a violation of the (Ontario) Human Rights Code. Also, when I reported, to Bro. Sean, that I'd been assaulted, by a staff member, and commented this was a criminal offence, against Good Shepherd's stated polices and scriptural injunction, Bro. Sean was unaware of First Timothy, chapter 5, verse 22.
I returned to Hamilton, this year, after "living on the street" for eleven months, due in large part to the "help" I'd received from Good Shepherd. I, again requested assistance, and did get a bit of help, moving household goods. The problems of affordable housing, transportation, ODSP, medical treatment, medications et cetera remain. Good Shepherd's "help" is to tell me that I have to talk with ODSP; something that hasn't worked for almost five years because "that's how the game is played".
As you see, from the text of the e-mail messages to Carmen, Good Shepherd offered me a rent subsidy, last year, but kicked me out, forcing me to return to Brampton, before I was able to avail myself of the offer. This year, when I requested the subsidy, I was told that I had to talk with ODSP, even though the subsidy has absolutely nothing to do with ODSP. Perhaps, Good Shepherd, is also unaware of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 37.
Thank you, as well, for your suggestion that I "contact the Centre again for assistance" but having done so twice and been "given the run around", by several agencies (including Good Shepherd), which claim to "help" and receive funds to do so, I have no reason to believe a third attempt would be any less a waste of time and energy, neither of which I have much of, than the previous two.
ME to Douglas & Carmen 10 September 2014
If you've read the articles, posted on gyfhas.ca , you'll have seen that, in most cases, I've given the miscreants an opportunity to make comments or "clarifications", prior to posting.
Now's your chance. I'll be posting the "Shepherd's siblings screwing sheep" article this Saturday.
So, who do the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd help?
According to a source, in a position to know, approximately, 98% of Good Shepherd's "guests" are active alcoholics and/or drug users; basically, Good Shepherd Centre is a "flop house" for drunks and addicts. These people have no desire to "re-establish healthy and productive lives"; their only goal, in life, is to get another drink or "hit". Providing food and lodging, paid for by the taxpayers and donated by the well-meaning, the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd help them accomplish that goal as the little money they receive, from Ontario Works, can be spent on alcohol or drugs rather than food and shelter. This, also, helps the community as it results in their having to steal less to support their habits. Did you know? Approximately, half a million hypodermic syringes are given to intravenous drug abusers, every year, in Hamilton.
The majority of the staff, at Good Shepherd Centre, are excellent; especially, the cleaning and kitchen staff, most of the reception staff and the majority of the "shelter workers". Good Shepherd, though, apparently, has a policy of hiring the handicapped, which is great so long as the handicap doesn't include a total lack of judgement, coupled with an inability to control one's behaviour and the person isn't placed in a position where these are required. In a very limited sense, I suppose it could be said these people are "helped" by being given any job.
Likewise, Good Shepherd's policy of not criticizing other "social service" agencies or individuals employed by them. This "helps" some of the most useless "tits", who've ever wasted space and air, retain positions, which, in the real world, they'd have been canned from on their second day.
The Good Shepherd Centre is next door to the Good Shepherd Food Bank and I noticed some being helped there, as well.
The obese and some morbidly obese loading food, donated for the needy, into their late model vehicles. This, presumably, helps them keep their vehicles on the road for their trips to MacDonald's and Tim Horton's and defrays the cost of those trips, which are a lot more frequent and expensive than the small coffee with doughnut or bagel I treat myself to, occasionally, but I'd snare squirrels before I'd use a food bank.
The local variety store owner who purchases items obtained at the food bank. He, likely, gets the items for less than he'd pay elsewhere. Those he buys from get money for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or whatever. The people who shop at his store, likely, have the savings passed on to them. It's a win, win, win situation.
Most of all, though, the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd help themselves.
The majority of meals, at Good Shepherd Centre, are, to put it kindly, pretty basic. Not to complain and those meals aren't the issue. It's the "five star dining" on "haute cuisine" enjoyed by the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd that I suspect may be a problem for anyone donating to their "cause". I just know someone is thinking: "they deserve it; they're doing the Lord's work". Mull this over: so was the Lord and He ate what everyone else was having.
but wait...there's more. Not content with being one of the largest property owners, in the City of Hamilton, I understand that the Little Brothers of The Good Shepherd have, recently, purchased an island. I don't attend Church so missed the fund raising announcements. Perhaps, someone would be good enough to satisfy my curiosity and let me know what they're using the island for.
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