Press conference to discuss lifesaving health care and housing Catch-22 which leaves many homeless and dependent on welfare
Mental health crisis, low-income residents and single mothers suffer the most
ABILENE, TEXAS, USA, Aug. 24, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The WEALTHFair Tour is hosting a press conference at the Betty Hardwick Center on August 24 at noon to discuss major challenges, both local and national, related to an increase in mental illness, homelessness, poverty and welfare dependency. Racquel W. Jones, Founder of Can I Live Inc. & The WEALTHFair Tour along with Dr. Kimberly Muktarian, Policy Analyst, will discuss vital conflicts in the current system that leaves many people without medical assistance, support and shelter.
“If our wealth is our health, then both should be fair” – Dr Muktarian
Take a closer look at the root of the problem, solutions and strategies to empower those who need it most.
REALITY CHECK IN ABILENE
On their way to speak at an event in Abilene, Dr. Muktarian and Jones suddenly stopped at the sight of a 32-year-old black man who suffered from mental illness and was desperately trying to reach his doctor to adjust his medication because he was not doing well.
As the women helped him return to Oceans Behavioral Health, a private mental health facility, staff informed him that the corresponding doctor had been booked and was unavailable to assist him that day.
Dr. Muktarian explains that “An admissions specialist from the hospital then came to help us but was unable to do so due to the 180-day expired client life cycle allocated to Medicare patients. The facility’s director, Stacey Sanford, RN, explained that the client did not have Medicaid, which would allow him unlimited days for mental health treatment. It would not be able to receive services unless another institution was willing to pay, which could contract with another facility. According to staff, the client did not have Medicaid. The process of receiving Medicaid is a daunting process and often takes three to four months maximum. Most facilities do not have social workers who conduct Medicaid intake interviews upon arrival. Therefore, patients need to be released and find a way to apply independently. Without assistance, this process can be difficult.
Unfortunately, this is one of many Catch-22 scenarios that often results in untreated mental illness as well as increased homelessness and crime that could have otherwise been avoided.
“Taylor County Courts Judge Downing Bolls advised us that he deals directly with mental health patients and agreed that many patients are not treated long enough, so it becomes a revolving door issue.” – Dr. Muktarian
CHALLENGES FOR UNINSURED PATIENTS IN TEXAS
*Adults eligible for Medicaid are usually pregnant women or people deemed disabled.
* Many adults with mental illness have not yet completed the application and have been declared disabled.
*For example, in the adult mental health client population of the Betty Hardwick Center, approximately 40% of those enrolled in services are on Medicaid, the rest are uninsured.
* The State of Texas funds local mental health authorities to serve the uninsured and provide a range of services, but there are some limitations.
* The Betty Hardwick Center provides medications, can offer inpatient care, and a range of outpatient services, including case management, rehabilitation skills training, counseling, and psychiatry for uninsured and Medicaid-eligible clients.
* Transportation can be a challenge for some people locally who don’t have the money for a bus pass.
*Clients face homelessness, which can be difficult to find in the community, they don’t always have a phone, and these things can be additional hurdles to overcome.
THE STRUGGLE OF SINGLE MOTHERS
As a single mother with four children on welfare, struggling to become financially independent, Jones has first-hand knowledge of the maneuvers of social services, child support, the courts and the drama of baby daddy, but it was not easy. Like many public housing residents today, she was penalized for wanting to break free from the ruthless welfare system that relentlessly pushed her 10 steps backwards through the policies, rules and demands of the program.
The sad reality is that low-income mothers who receive government assistance are penalized for working. As soon as a mother enters or re-enters the workforce, the benefits she depends on to support her family (vs. Direct. This situation leaves these mothers stuck in the bottom, incentivized to stay home and do nothing do while receiving more money than if they had a job.
STEPS AND SOLUTIONS
As a precondition to receiving the voucher, social housing residents must waive their right to return to the property in hopes of taking advantage of the promise of choice offered by the Section 8 voucher program and, more importantly yet, to desperately escape from their rodent-infested molded prison cells they call home.
The WEALTHFAIR Tour demands that HUD apply the same rules that developers receive through their comfortable RAD offers (i.e. loans on favorable terms) to residents who cannot find homes as as tenants in this volatile real estate market. The tour’s political agenda seeks to address justice, equity and inclusion for America’s poorest families who are disproportionately represented by black and brown communities.
The Organization’s political partner has submitted a public information request to local housing authorities and its cities to show the inconsistency between the city’s five-year consolidated plan and the five-year plan of the Public Housing Agency (PHA ). Although the two entities are supposed to work together to address issues of homelessness, poverty and affordable housing, neither plan meets the demands.
“Our mission is to advance affordable housing, economic inclusion, and personal responsibility through advocacy, community and civic engagement, and education. We believe that all Americans are created equal and possess inalienable rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and justice under the law. Yet the rights granted to people living in poverty or below are structured to keep them in poverty, while the rights granted to the wealthiest Americans and corporations contribute to the creation of wealth and increased prosperity. –RW Jones
Can I Live believes that all Americans are created equal and possess the inalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and justice under the law. Unfortunately, many of the benefit programs available to millions of families living in poverty or below are structured to keep them trapped in a cycle of dependency.
If not stopped, this vicious cycle of poverty will continue for generations to come. Poverty-induced criminal activity will increase, mental health-related depression will increase, toxic and strained relationships will remain stagnant i.e. teenage pregnancies, single parent families, fatherless homes, juvenile delinquency, mass incarceration, etc.
In a country where inflation has skyrocketed and gentrification is the new land grab, mothers on welfare are lagging behind in the market.
The WEALTHFAIR Tour can be found providing education, outreach, and motivation to engage HUD-assisted families to understand their rights as they relate to resettlement, opening small businesses, and contracting with the local PHA, home ownership using Section 8 vouchers and resident management entities.
The WEALTHFAIR Tour Policy tackles the #1 reason mothers on rights programs don’t work.
They call it the Welfare Cliff – a punitive way to deter families from working by immediately cutting vital services, such as health insurance, food and cash assistance, while increasing their rents and subsidy payments. Families have no way to develop outside of dependence on the welfare system.
The WEALTHFAIR Tour launched its campaign at the annual conference of the Public Housing Authority Directors Association (PHADA). The conference was comprised of Executive Directors of Public Housing, Commissioners, Technology Providers, Consultants and Commissioners from the PHA Board of Directors. RW Jones and his partner, Dr Kimberly Muktarian, spoke to the clustered associations about how to bridge the gaps in engaging low-income residents as well as policies that will help social housing residents move from poverty to prosperity.
The fully-packed RV comes ready with an arsenal of information, resources, and tools to help families escape the addiction of government programs.
If you would like to organize the WEALTHFAIR Tour in a local town, the organization can be contacted at https://thewealthfairtour.com/
Presented at the NAHRO National Conference: September 22-24, 2022
Ruth Davis Consulting LLC (DRC)
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