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they giving their labor in exchange. Of course, we had a large
We were, however, confronted in the winter of 1893 and the
It never was intended by our society that we should make a profit by such work as is carried on by our Wayfarers' Lodge, but so systematic was the work and so generous was the demand of the public for our kindling wood (we sold it at usual prices, and did not compete with others in the trade) that we were enabled not only to pay salaries, entire costs of equipment, new furniture, and maintenance of the lodge, but in the first year, Oct. 1, 1894, made a net profit of $11. For the winter of 1894-95 our receipts from the sale of the kindling wood, etc., have been $3,644, and our disbursements have been $2,765, leaving a balance in cash of over eight hundred dollars and wood on hand to the value of $105. Thus we are making money, though that is not our intention, as we desire it all to go for worthy relief.
It is extremely gratifying to be able to state that the funds for the support of the Louisville Charity Organization Society work proper
think much of a great railroad which would be content to endanger the lives of all its passengers by using a depot together with a miserably managed road. Not peace, but a sword, has been
TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITIES
have been obtained by simply putting a notice in our daily papers that “the Charity Organization Society is in need of funds." In the last three years there has been no necessity for personal solicitation for one dollar. The money comes voluntarily from the people who have seen the work of the Louisville Charity Organization Society, and by this action indorse it. The society will close its fiscal year Oct. 1, 1895, with a balance to its credit. We purpose in the ensuing year to increase still further the class of work that can be done by the Wayfarers' Lodge, not entering, however, into competition with enterprises that are tax-paying.
In so far as Kentucky is concerned, while she has much to apologize for and is oftentimes misunderstood by many of her sister States, she is, in so far as the work of the Charity Organization Society is concerned, taking care in a proper and legitimate way of her own people who may suffer from untoward circumstances. She is thoroughly abreast in such work, has lived up to her obligations, and certainly deserves a good record and name in this particular. If this is true, is not this the leaven that will yet make her one of the foremost States in our great Union?
IS EMERGENCY RELIEF BY WORK WISE?
BY PHILIP W. AYRES, CINCINNATI.
Let us limit our subject. This paper deals not with general relief by work, nor with the value of labor tests, nor with management of the unemployed, except in times of emergency. The consideration of labor-yards for men and work-rooms for women, labor farms an Labor colonies, is beyond our present inquiry, except as they can ! used when some industrial change or some public calamity brings special condition of need.
Shall we take two things for granted: first, that the principle careful knowledge gained through investigation and registratio perfectly applicable in times of emergency, and, indeed, esper necessary at such times; second, that in ordinary times reli work is better for the able-bodied than relief by alms?
At the beginning we may free our minds of one form of the problem; namely, short emergencies created by sudden disaster not likely to recur, as a fire or a flood. The problem in such times is that of finding those who have truly suffered, and helping them to escape the burden which has unexpectedly fallen upon them. At all such times the dishonest make their claims heard loudly. They have even feigned death to secure bounty. The problem, however, is a comparatively easy and simple one; and experience is a sufficient guide. Careful investigation and registration, together with careful distribution, may stir in the hearts of the poor a feeling of gratitude with no inclination toward pauperism or toward a renewal of such help.
In eliminating those suspected of fraud, a labor test as such may be used helpfully; but further than this the principle of relief by work for short emergencies must be a hindrance rather than a help, since a relief-by-work scheme takes time and money to put it into operation, and, if in any fair way all able-bodied sufferers are asked to work alike, they must be expected to earn at least some portion of what they receive, which removes them from their regular avocations. This must delay rather than hasten quick recuperation from the emergency
Let us concede, therefore, that in all brief emergencies which are well managed, relief by work is not wise.
It may be added, however, as a secondary result, that, if the aid given in time of brief emergency is not well managed, if in time of flood or fire or earthquake a mob of would-be philanthropists distribute material in such rash fashion as to break down the selfrestraint of the sufferers, then some form of relief by work may indeed become needful, not to remove the direct effect of the calamity, but to cure the effect of wrong giving; and this is important. A calamity like food or earthquake or fire destroys material goods, but indiscriminate giving destroys the spiritual independence of the people; and social equilibrium depends upon both. In managing emergencies, whether short ones or longer, we cannot maintain the social equilibrium without these two elements, an economic distribution of material more or less equitable, and the moral independence of the people.
But the real question is still before us. Is relief by work wise in time of long-continued emergencies, such as industrial depressions ?
think much of a great railroad which would be content to endanger the lives of all its passengers by using a depot together with a miserably managed road. Not peace, but a sword hac hoon -
TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITICS
We have just come through such a period, which has taxed all charitable agencies to the utmost. Many large cities, both in England and America, have tried the experiment of relief by work. What are the results of this experience ? Now that the dark cloud appears to be receding, what are the lessons of the storm ? This is a timely question, since the frequency and comparative regularity of past depressions hardly lead us to suppose that we shall escape similar trouble in future.
In hard times the burden appears to fall heaviest upon the very poor; and who can measure the privation that the
our cities have recently undergone? Those of us who have been able to watch the forces at work among the people during the last two years appear to have discovered this law, -- that in times of industrial depression the burden of curtailed expenses, like the incidence of taxation, tends to fall heaviest upon those least able to resist.
I have in mind a colored woman with a blind son and a little grandson to support. She did washing for a family of which the man worked in a railroad freight office. When the railway handled Jess freight, it dropped this man from its pay-roll. After a few weeks, when he obtained no other work, his wife herself did the washing. Thus my friend, the colored woman, with her blind son, was without resources, but could shift the burden no further.
While the great body of the poor, who earn a small and sometimes precarious living, bear the burden, there appear mixed with them the criminal, the idle, and the vicious, ever ready to take advantage. These, though relatively few in number, complicate the question greatly, since humanity decrees that they also shall not be permitted to starve in hard times.
When an accident occurs to the human frame, a wise physician will seek to keep the body in a condition as nearly normal as possible until the bad results have disappeared. We who, as members of the Charity Organization Society, come to be social physicians in spite of ourselves, need to bear the analogy in mind. To keep the social condition as nearly normal as we can in time of depression, to improve it incidentally if we may, but to keep it normal until the depression is over, to make no residuum of paupers who shall prey upon the community, an affliction to themselves and to others, when more nearly normal conditions again prevail, - this is our task.
With the great body of the poor to deal with, both men and women,
with their great diversity of character, with the need of comparative haste, with work as the normal condition before the emergency and after, is it possible for us to maintain the social equilibrium through a period of several pressing months or a year without work? Has it not been the universal experience in large cities that work has been provided because it has been necessary and vital to two main factors in the situation, namely, the equable distribution of material and the maintenance of moral independence ?
But this is only half. As, in all relief, intelligence is more important than amount, so in emergency relief by work, the employment given may be wise or unwise exactly in proportion to the intelligence of its administration. It is important to note that private may differ from public work in being better administered. Public relief by work, like public alms, may create immense mischief, and for the same
Indeed, of the two, alleged work hastily given and badly managed is likely to be more harmful, in that it may degenerate character the more rapidly.
In how many of our cities has the cry gone out, We have had relief work, but for the sake of the poor we hope we may never have to resort to it again”! On the other hand, workers in several cities are fairly satisfied with results of relief by work, and feel that no very bad conditions remain from it. May we not believe that this difference in result arises from difference in administration ?
Looking at our experiences, good and bad, what do we find to guide us through the next industrial emergency? The following several points may serve as a summary:
1. Public relief by work administered by unwise officials is harmful, because it stimulates an excessive number of applicants, more than it is possible to investigate well. It usually lacks skilful foremen, so that the work is done in a slovenly manner. It appeals strongly to the politician to use this large number of places to reward his followers.
2. Private relief by work is likely to be inadequate from insufficient funds. Money enough is not always subscribed to guarantee that no suffering occurs. This form appears to yield better results when applied to women than to men, as in the preparation of fur for hats through the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities,
3. A combination of public and private efforts can be made to eliminate some of the evils arising from the use of either separately,