« PreviousContinue »
been made and were in operation in December for relief in that important city :
In St. Louis there are several permanent arrangements for relieving the distress of the poor during the winter, and this season a number of new plans, in addition to the others, have been made and are to be put into operation.
The permanent arrangements are :
1. A contingent fund of $11,000 a year, which is appropriated annually for the Mayor to spend in charity, transportation of paupers who can get work elsewhere or wish to go to relatives in beiter circumstances who can help them, and secret service of the city. There has been an unusually heavy demand on the fund this year, and the greatest discrimination has to be used to make it apply to cases of the most necessity.
2. The Provident Association, St. Vincent de Paul and Hebrew Relief Association each collect money from the benevolent and distribute it among the unemployed poor, buying them coal and bread and giving them also clothing obtained from the charitable. Of these associations the Provident is the largest and has the most money contributed to it.
The new plans for this winter are :
1. An entertainment for the benefit of the poor was given a few weeks ago, and tickets for it were sold by the police of the city among the citizens on their beats. About $10,000 net was realized from this. With this money coal is bought, wholesalers giving reduced rates, and distributed at the police stations of each district to the poor, the police officers acquainted with the people in the vicinity being able to see that the provision is used to the best advantage and that few impostors are benefited. Food and clothing are also distributed at this station, some of it bought by this fund, some of it contributed by people.
2. A movement is on foot, prompted by the Post-Dispatch of this city, to raise a fund among citizens of $10,000, to be spent in giving work to unemployed laborers on a lake in Forest Park which the city has for some time intended to en ge but has not so far been able to improve.
3. The Republic of this city has a coal fund to which its -subscribers contribute, the newspaper distributing the coal.
4. The Globe Democrat has conceived an original and effective plan. It has asked the wealthier people among its readers to give to a fund one share of some stock held by them, the stock to be afterwards put up at auction and bought in at its par value by the owner. The novelty of this plan has made it very successful, and the fund is rapidly growing.
5. Several soup houses have been established where men can get a meal and lodging for five cents apiece. The managers of these institutions sell their tickets in bundles of one hundred to merchants and others, and the purchasers instead of giving money when appealed to by the needy give them these tickets.
To what extent these measures are brought into harmony by a central committee, or through the supervisory assistance of a general charity organization, we are not informed. There is evidently no lack of zeal in St. Louis, and the combined projects mentioned in Mr. Saunders' letter would seem to be capable of expansion to the point of meeting any situation likely to arise this winter.
IX. PRIVATE AND PUBLIC CO-OPERA
TION IN ST. PAUL. Perhaps in no other city in the country has there been a more satisfactory co-operation between the municipal authorities on the one hand and the private citizens and regularly organized charitable organizations on the other than in St. Paul. The methods which have been adopted there, and the results that have accrued, are so interesting that we are glad to be able to present them in the following statement prepared for us by Mr. Conde Hainlin, managing editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press :
In order to deal with the problem of the unemployed a citizens' committee was formed early in October. fund (contingent) of $9,000 belonging to the city was placed at the disposal of the committee and an office was opened the City Hall where the unemployed who desired work registered their names, the length of their residence and number of people depending upon them. The compensation was placed at $1 per day. In October 2,884 days of work were done and in November 9,639, making a total of $12,523, with an expenditure of $398.76 for tools. When the $9,000 was exhausted a fund of $5,000 which had accumulated from the small excess of a multitude of assessments was used. The work done was grading of streets, improving Como Park by clearing away underbrush, grading, boulevarding and later by cleaning snow from the streets. Nearly 2,000 names are now on the list and from t is list are selected those who are given work, the aim being to employ those in greatest need. It is expected that the funds will be largely supplemented by subscriptions, a special committee for their solicitation having been appointed, and the amount thus realized will carry the committee up to January 1, when city funds will be available.
One of the plans of the special committee from the citizens' relief committee is to secure a monthly donation to a popular fund from all men who have steady employment, and the idea is meeting with general favor. The zest with which men are coming forward with voluntary offers is very gratifying to the committee, and it is claimed that a good many thousands of dollars will be realized in this way the present winter, to say nothing of the large contributions that will be made by men of
In addition to the comprehensive work done by this general committee, composed of leading citizens, much has been accomplished by other organizations, the action of which has generally been in harmony with the central organization. The Relief Society has done a great deal by providing timporary assistance in urgent cases. The donations of school children to the poor which have become an annual feature, this year were so generous that the effect will extend over many weeks. The supplies were in the form of food, clothing and fuel and were distributed by the Relief Society. A Friendly Inn was opened by the Bethel Society, where lodging and meals were to be obtained, the applicant sawing a certain amount of wood as pay; the wood being sold at cost to consumers, thus making the institution self-sustaining. The A. O. U. W. opened headquarters in their hall and secured work for as inany as they could, preference being given to members of the order. The King's Daughters have also done much to alleviate cases of necessity, and this is true of nearly every church society. The First
Ward also formed a society of its own and has looked not begun, such as the grading of new thoroughfares, after cases within its ward limits. The People's Church the laying of pipes, the construction of sewers, and organized a salvage bureau, which repairs clothing and
development work in general in the newer parts of shoes donated and sells them for the trifle expended in
the town. In that way a large body of able-bodied their renov tiun or gives them to persons in need who have nothing wherewith to pay.
men have been kept in employment. Meanwhile the The people have shown the greatest interest in this work
associated charities have had on their rolls some 2,000 and indiscriminate giving is noticeable by its absence. persons or more, whereas they have never before carPrices for work are such that they are an object for the
ried more than 100 names. The county Supervisors needy but are an inducement also to watch for other have given as much employment as possible, and employment. The greatest credit is due the citizens' there has been a general agreement in Milwaukee committee which has furnished the wisdom for the entire that it is advisable to use the public funds so far as work.
possible in giving work to men who would otherwise X. REPORTS FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MIL- have to be supported by public charity. Milwaukee
seems to be abundantly able, through the joint efforts WAUKEE AND CLEVELAND.
of public authorities and the organized charitable and Minneapolis has not thus far formed a central or relief societies, to meet the exceptional conditions ganization for relief. The Associated Charities of that confront it. that city, however, provide an efficient information In Cleveland, Ohio, the Citizens' Relief Association, office. As to the situation at that date the Minneap- working through an executive committee, has adopted olis Tribune of December 15 makes the following the general plan of employing men at a low rate of statement :
wages, and then placing them at the disposal of the Within the past forty-eight hours three different move municipal authorities, chiefly for work upon the ments on a considerable scale have been set on foot for streets. The services of some hundreds of men are the relief of the needy. The Presbyterian churches of thus utilized. It has been proposed to undertake cerMinneapolis have resolved themselves into a relief organ tain large works of public improvement which are ization and an employment bureau. The Swedish Amer
deemed desirable, and indications seem to point to a icans have formed a similar guild for the support of their countrymen. First Ward citizens are similarly organiz
fairly adequate grappling of the situation. One of ing to give employment to those who need it in their
the measures proposed is the demolition of an abanneighb rhood. In addition to this volunteer work, the
doned reservoir, and filling up of an adjacent area of Associated Charities, under the guidance of experienced low ground to make a needed cemetery extension. It workers, are doing more than the usual volume of mis is also proposed to enforce ordinances requiring the sionary labors, not to mention the vast amount of private removal of snow from sidewalks at the expense of work which never gets to the ears of the public. Un owners of adjacent property. It estimated that doubtedly Minneapolis is far less troubled with poverty this work alone would suffice to employ a large numand lack of employment than the majority of the cities of
ber of men. the country. Cases of actual suffering in this city are comparatively few. Nevertheless every helping hand XI. PITTSBURG ORGANIZED AND AT should be welcomed.
WORK. It is quite possible that Minneapolis may yet inaugurate the plan of utilizing surplus unemployed labor The Pittsburg general scheme of relief, which is a in street and park work, after the plan so well tested highly important one, went into actual operation on at St. Paul. An exceptionally large number of so
December 18. The plan, stated in its briefest terms, called " tramps and vagrants”-many of whom, how is that of a central citizens' committee securing a ever, are doubtless more unfortunate than unworthy, large relief fund and hiring men at one dollar a day have been given nightly lodging in the central police from the ranks of the unemployed, the city authorstation; and the Mayor's plan of offering these mu ities accepting the services of these men and utilizing nicipal guests a bowl of soup and a piece of bread in them for work upon various public improvements, the morning has been strongly opposed by the Asso chiefly in the parks. A census of Pittsburg, as we ciated Charities. As a permanent plan it could hardly are informed by Mr. McGonnigle, of the “ Associabe defended; although as a temporary measure.
tion of Directors of the Poor of Pennsylvania,” shows pending the organization of a better system, it would some six thousand families in need on account of lack seem to be in accordance with the simplest dictates of work, representing about 25,000 people. of humanity.
The plan of the Central Committee has been to orAn unusual number of men out of work is reported ganize all the charities of the city, including the pubfrom Milwaukee. There are 30,000 Poles in that lic department of charities, under one head, so that city, most of them being common laborers, and one there will be no duplications and no overlapping, and day last summer 500 of them went in a body to the so that all frauds shall be exposed, all vagrants sent Court-House square and called on the Mayor for relief. to the workhouse, and all worthy persons provided After a week or two the Mayor was again waited for in some way. The leaders of the movement in upon by a large body. Then, in consultation with Pittsburg are confident that by this plan they can the Byard of Works, he decided that there were many provide for every case of extreme need. The citizens' street improvements that had been contemplated and organization has the Mayor of Pittsburg as president,
and its executive committee is composed of the most palling. Meanwhile no large and adequate organizarepresentative men, among whom, for example, is tion had existed for relief work up to the time this Mr. George Westinghouse, Jr. The chairman is Mr. compilation of facts was closed on December 20, alWilliam McConway, one of the leading manufact though steps had been taken to forin a general relief urers and most highly esteemed citizens of Pittsburg. committee, President Low, of Columbia, and leading It is expected to raise from $75,000 to $100,000 by members of the Chamber of Commerce taking a popular subscriptions.
foremost part. The municipal authorities had not, Mr. Bigelow, Chief of the Department of Public apparently, learned that exceptional conditions of Works, is arranging to employ as many men as can any sort exist, and had taken no part in the discussion be accredited to him. It happens that Pittsburg and efforts of the early winter. owns two large parks not as yet improved, in which Very noteworthy, and highly valuable to the exwork can be arranged for hundreds of men. In the tent of its ability, has been the work of the East Side selection of applicants for this public work, the com Relief Association under a strong committee led by mittee has ruled that preference should be given to such men
as the Rev. Dr. Rainsford, President those who are bona fide residents of Pittsburg, and Charles Stewart Smith, of the Chamber of Commerce, who have others dependent upon them, with no op and leading philanthropic workers, both Catholic and portunity of employment in their usual vocations. Protestant. The plan of the Association has been to Mr. McConway remarks : “ Mistakes may in some employ men at one dollar a day in street sweeping cases be made in the selection of those to be employed, in the tenement districts, from eighty to one hundred but this can only be a mistake in a degree. Any man men being the average number thus far furnished willing to do such work at the rate of pay of one dol with such employment from day to day. Another lar per day-ten cents per hour-gives prima facie branch of the work of the Association has been a evidence of worthiness."
tailor shop, in which clothing is made for the destiMr. E. M. Bigelow, Director of Public Works, re tute sufferers from the storms on the Southern coast, plied to the Committee as follows : "I would state the clothing being distributed by Miss Clara Barton that I can furnish work for two hundred in Highland and the Red Cross Society. Furthermore, an estabPark on Monday, December 18, and also work for the lishment for giving work to women was about to same number in Schenley Park on Tuesday, Decem be opened as this statement was written. The ber 19. After Tuesday I will gladly furnish work for whole effort is conducted upon the most praiseall the men who may be employed by your commit worthy lines ; and with money enough at its tee. As the city is to be the beneficiary of the work disposal this relief association could cope with a without cost to it, engineers and firemen will be fur very large part of the situation in New York. nished by the Department of Public Works. I would The Charity Organization Society, in its measure, ask that you furnish timekeepers for the men engaged has rendered valuable aid, but it does not domiby your Committee. I would also suggest that your nate the situation in New York as similar societies are Committee establish a headquarters where applica able to do in many smaller cities. It maintains a tions can be made, and where a card issued by it woodyard in Twenty-eighth street, and there married shall be given to each man employed which will en men may earn fifty cents by four hours' work. The title the holder to work.” Mr. Bigelow's idea is that yard is not a large one and cannot, as now conducted, the Committee shall engage the men, keep their time afford a very considerable outlet for the congestion of and pay them, the money not going from under the unemployed labor. The work of the Industrial Chriscontrol of the Committee ; and the only connection tian Alliance has developed rapidly under the superthe city will have with the movement is to furnish intendence of Mr. Arthur Milsbury, and its five cent the work to be done, and the skilled men, such as restaurant is a very hopeful experiment. Of praiseengineers and foremen, to direct thein. He also sug worthy efforts by churches and various charitable gests that the Committee provide paymasters, who societies and organizations, a long list might be menshall pay the men each day at the conclusion of their tioned, and each in its own way is helping to relieve labor.
the situation. But New York thus far is without any
general organization, federating these numerous sepaXII. THE SITUATION IN NEW YORK. rate efforts, that is in a position to cope with the prob
lem as a whole. The only valuable inquiry into the magnitude and It should not be inferred by our readers that the character of the distress existing in New York on cities whose provisions for relief have been explained account of exceptional lack of employment has been in this article are by any means the only communities made under the direction of the University Settle which have entered upon well organized and efficient ment Society. The careful inquiries made by this measures. The list might easily be very greatly exadmirable organization, especially in the crowded tended. Doubtless some of the most interesting and districts of the East Side, reveal a far more serious important experiments are in operation in towns and condition of things than had generally been supposed. cities not mentioned at all in this statement. If the The full extent of the distress can hardly be made reports received from these other cities should seem apparent to the public until enforced idleness has run to justify a return to the subject, another installment through a longer period. It is to be feared that in of information upon plans and results may be furFebruary and March the suffering may become ap. nished in our February number.
RELIEF WORK, -ITS PRINCIPLES AND METHODS.
BY DR. WASHINGTON GLADDEN.
ANT and destitution are always at our doors, ceries ; from one of the restaurants she gets broken
but they are upon us just now in stronger force victuals enough to feed herseli and her children, and than we have been wont to encounter. It is doubt- her clothing has been mainly provided by one of the ful whether in any year of this century so large a churches. There appears to be no urgent reason why proportion of the population of the United States has she should look for work, and she is not, apparently, been unemployed and destitute. In most of our cities anxious about the morrow. I dare say that her acand towns numbers of workingmen can be found who quaintances in the country have heard how comforthave had little or no remunerative labor for weeks or ably she is getting on, and that we shall see some of months, whose savings are exhausted, whose credit is them moving in to try the same experiment. The badly strained, and who are facing hunger and cold. number of those in our cities who expect to get a “But these men have had good wages for a long portion, at least, of their living in this way is steadily time,” it will be said ; “why have they not a surplus and rapidly increasing. And this class of persons is in the savings-bank?” Some workingmen have a sur sure to come directly to the front in the present displus, and they are fortunate ; but the lack of a hoard tribution of relief. The woman of many resources, is not a sure sign of unthrift. Many of these hard of whom I have just spoken, found her way to the working people have been trying to pay for homes, special relief committee of our city as soon as its and all their savings, month by month, have gone doors were open. No matter what other income they into these investments; the interest and the taxes and may have, whether from earnings or from gratuities, the street assessments and the payments due upon people of this class will never fail to embrace any optheir property are now a heavy additional burden ; portunity that is offered them of getting something the fear of losing what they have saved is one cause for nothing. Like Dr. Eggleston's Hoosier econoof their present distress.
mist, their motto is, “Git a plenty while your'e a Among the destitute will be found a good many gittin'.” If they have employment by means of others, who, if not quite so thrifty as those of whom which they could earn a livelihood, the appearance of I have spoken, are yet industrious and self-reliant, a relief fund is very likely to undermine their health. and not at all in the habit of asking for alms. In The melancholy fact is that a free distribution of every large town a considerable number of these in alms tends to weaken the self-respect and independdustrious mechanics and laborers are now in very ence of many who have hitherto taken care of needy circumstances. A great many people are ask themselves, but who are living near the borders of ing for help to-day who never before in their lives mendicancy. The fact that food and fuel can be had were compelled to seek assistance. The charitable for the asking is a temptation which some of the societies of our cities find themselves confronted with weaker ones will not resist. Many whose earnings an army of applicants; the overseers of the poor are have been somewhat reduced, but who might with overwhelmed by the burden thrown upon them; frugality live upon them, are now coming forward special relief committees have been formed in many with the rest to get their share of the relief funds. places to meet the emergency.
The most painful revelation to me of this winter's It must not be supposed, however, that these ap experience has been the willingness of those who plicants for aid all belong to the class which I have have not hitherto been pa'ipers to avail themselves of described. If this were so, the problem before the the public provision for the poor. relief agencies would be a simple one.
Such are the conditions which the relief committees majority of these applicants are well known to the must face. To some of them the problem must, overseers of the poor and to the charitable visitors. I am sure, have already become disheartening. They are chronic paupers ; the names of many of The difficulty of sorting out the chronic mendicants them will be found on the books of the city authori from the industrious and self-reliant working people ties as recipients of relief last winter and for many is very great. Yet it is evident that the treatment previous winters. And even if their names have accorded to the one class ought to differ radically never appeared on these lists before, they may still from that bestowed upon the other. Measures which belong to this class ; for the population of all our would be safe and wise in the one case would be miscities is being largely recruited by the shiftless poor chievous in the other. We may admit that the mendifrom the country. In all our cities a great deal of cants, as well as the industrious poor, are entitled to reckless charity is dispensed ; and the opportunity of our compassion ; but there are different ways of exthe mendicant is constantly enlarging. Thrifty pressing compassion. country folk who have poor relations on their hands The great need of all these people is remunerative sometimes find it easier to maintain them in the city. employment. This is what the industrious ones I know a woman with a small family whose relatives want. Charity they do not want; it will be a bitter in the country pay her rent, which is only three or humiliation to them if they are compelled to take it ; four dollars a month; the city furnishes her coal ; all they ask is the chance to earn their livelihood. one of the benevolent societies supplies her with gro The chronics also tell the same story, but a little in
vestigation shows that their appetite for work does furniture that an idle cabinetmaker can construct for not amount to a craving ; they always ask for it, but you; some renovation of the wardrobe with next you soon discover that they could manage to get spring's wants in prospect; it may be any one of a along without it if you should not happen to have thousand things that wit can devise. I know a any to offer them. We read of a Chicago professor, builder, with this end in view, who has begun the accompanied by a staff of student investigators, who erection of a few houses. I know a gas company, passed through the serried ranks of the tramp bri which, for the same purpose, has put one or two gade, reposing in the corridors of the city hall, ques hundred men at work laying mains in a part of the tioning them as to their wants. They were unani city not yet occupied. I have heard of many indimous, we are told, in expressing a desire for work. viduals who, on a smaller scale, have found and furNone of them preferred to beg. Really the question nished work to the unemployed. Any one who will was superfluous. Nobody ever heard these people spend his money in this way will do about twice as express any other sentiment.
much good with it as if he sent his check for the The great army of applicants at the doors of the same amount to the charitable society or the relief relief committee will all be asking for work, some committee. because they hope to get it, and some with the strong The best work that the relief committee can do is hope that they will not get it. Both classes ought to that of an employment bureau in keeping classified have it—those who do not want it as well as those lists of the unemployed, and thus co-operate with who do. We ought not to make the independent those who are willing to furnish work. Whenever it workingman take charity when he does not want it ; is possible this committee should organize some sort we ought not to let the chronic mendicant have it of industry—a wood yard, or stone pile, or laundry, because he does want it. Work is food for the one or sewing room, by means of which all able-bodied and medicine for the other ; but the shirk needs the applicants for aid should be enabled and required medicine not less than the honest man needs the food. to pay by their labor for all that they receive. All
The problem, then, is to find work for the unem honest and self-respecting applicants would vastly ployed. And it is highly desirable that as much as prefer to earn their bread, even by the most menial possible of this work be furnished by individuals or service, and those who are not willing to earn it in firms or companies, acting independently and of their this way should be permitted to go hungry. own motion. A large share of the unemployed in Whatever relief is furnished by the municipality every city might be taken care of in this way if good should also take the form of wages for work. Fear people would only set their wits at work to find and of socialistic tendencies has restrained municifurnish them employment. These idle people are not pal authorities from making work for the unemgoing to starve. There is food and fuel and shelter ployed, but it is difficult to see that paying people enough for them all, and they will not be allowed to for work out of the public treasury is any more soperish for the lack of it. The only question is whether cialistic than supporting them gratuitously from the they shall receive this relief as earnings or as gratuity. It will cost the community no more to pay it to Serious practical difficulties will be found in the them as wages than to bestow it upon them as alms. application of the work-test. Those benevolent indiBut the economical and moral advantage to the re viduals who undertake to assist their neighbors in cipients themselves and to the community of putting this manner will scmetimes be greatly disappointed it in the form of wages is simply immeasurable. It and incensed by the response which is made to their is, therefore, the duty of every citizen to exhaust his overtures. Some of those to whom work is offered ingenuity in inventing ways of furnishing work to will be indifferent and unreasonable. Work which is persons whom he knows to be in need of it. These provided in this way, at an unseasonable time and in lines will fall under the eyes of many men and women anticipation of future needs, cannot, of course, be of good will who know that they will be required to paid for at the highest rate of wages; the stipend give during this winter some portion of their income must needs be small. A good many of those who are for the relief of want. If all these would invent some asking for charity promptly refuse work when it is way of spending this money for work, and would find offered them at low wages. Several men who had some unemployed persons, male or female, who are been subsisting for some time upon the charity of suffering for the need of work, and would permit their neighbors have, to my knowledge, refused them to earn this money, a large share of the existing employment at a dollar and a dollar and a half a day. want would be immediately relieved. The problem Such beggars should be permitted to choose starvaof making work and of bringing the task and the tion. toiler together is one that requires some thought and The rules of the trades-unions forbidding members ingenuity, some trouble and pains, no doubt; but to work for less than a certain wage must be relaxed in many of my readers can solve it, if they will give it these times. The discipline of the trades-union is half as much study as they will expend upon the cos necessary ; but there is reason in all things, and it is tume for the next high tea, or the plans for the holi not rational to insist that men shall not work for less day vacation. Some job may be found in the garret than a stipulated rate of wages, when there is no or in the cellar ; some work of repairing, some rear economic demand at all for their labor. If the tradesrangement of the store or the office; some ditching or unions are able to support their members in idleness plumbing or cleaning or painting ; some new piece of they have a right to do so ; but they are hardly justi
dof of ad he