Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.”     P. J O'Rourke

March 18, 2009

Fixing The Hidden Homeless Problem? No, Throwing Money At The Non-Existent Homeless Problem

by Brad Warbiany

Maybe, in the fury over federal bailout dollars spent on AIG bonuses, someone should stand up and ask whether this $600K in stimulus money is well spent:

The Town of Union is getting $578,661 in federal Recovery Act funding for a homeless problem that may not exist within its borders.

The money is coming from the federal Housing and Urban Development program to pay for homeless prevention and emergency shelter programs.

Union did not request the money and does not currently have homeless programs in place in the town to administer such funds, said town Supervisor John Bernardo.

“We were surprised,” Bernardo said. “We’ve never been a recipient before.”

Bernardo said he isn’t aware of any homeless issue in the largely suburban town.

This illustrates a major problem with the way that any ultra-large organization accomplishes tasks. The organization has far too many levels, departments, subsidiaries (if you can define the local-state-federal governments as a subsidiary relationship — I’m stretching slightly here), and egos. You have people who have mandates that certain things get done, but if there’s not adequate communication between all the players, the wrong things will be done.

The act of trying to unwind this money will be gargantuan. Is it some Congressman’s earmark? Maybe, but since we don’t have any real way to track earmarks, it may never be proven. Is it some mid-level HUD bureaucrat who “had to spend his money” and said that Union, NY sounded like a worthwhile recipient? Did someone within Union put in this request without telling anyone?

Which is why, of course, they aren’t going to try to unwind the slime trail. It’s only $600,000, after all. HUD, even though the town doesn’t have any programs designed to alleviate the nonexistent homeless problem, suggests that they find a way to spend the money:

“We hope and encourage these new grantees to develop creative strategies for the funding,” Glantz said of Union’s homeless grant.

Funny how cavalier they are about wasting other peoples’ money.

If I accidentally give myself an extra $10,000 on my tax return, will the IRS suggest I come up with creative strategies to use the improper funding? Didn’t think so…

I guess it’s only the spending that they’re willing to waste, they want to make sure the get every penny of revenue out of us.

Hat Tip: Paul Jacob


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