I recently saw the video presented at the Kent County Library by John Queen, Fr. Henry Sabetti and Carol Niemand. “Rethinking Poverty” is available on YouTube at H.O.Y.A.S. Empath presents: “Rethinking Poverty”. The Bayside H.O.Y.A.S. leader John Queen and the Shrewsbury Church team of Fr. Sabetti and Carol Niemand have joined forces to address the needs of those in Kent County who are so poor that they need help.
People of any background can become poor. They can be well educated or not. They can be any age. The facts are that the overall rate of poverty in this county is 60% and the percent poverty of the public high school population is 70% ! Much of the remaining population is retired and therefor on fixed income.
Examples include one of the persons they are helping has a college degree and had a good job. He fell to alcohol and poverty. If taxes go up, even a working person may not be able to afford to pay them. When they don’t pay, they loose their home and their credit rating. Harder to watch was the 14 year old girl with younger brothers who had moved to Kent County. The head of household was their mother who had a job and payed the bills. However, she died and the kids were now profoundly poor. Also, as a minor child, the girl could not get official identification. Those facts blocked their hopes. The girl couldn’t care for herself or her brothers financially or in any other manner. And she didn’t know how to work the system so she couldn’t get all the help that was available to her family. John, et. al. have helped and the family is now in good circumstances. These are some of the smaller items on John’s “boots on the ground” to-do list.
His bigger level of things to do is to list all those who can help, get them in a reasonable order and get the needy started on the route to support. There are pieces that can be contributed by the federal, state and local government. There are also multiple private organizations and individuals who already lend a hand. Some of the churches open their public space to shelter folks in need. The police and warden have ways to help. There is at least one motel that can be used by people in transition until more permeant housing becomes available. There needs to be better and more reliable public transportation and restrooms for obvious reasons.
During the showing, the Library room was full of persons in charge of many of these services. Many had no idea how profound the problems are. To be really helpful, all the services have to work together and work in a particular order. It is a monumental job to set a program that is flexible enough to meet the needs of each person who asks for help and also strong enough to cover all bases so as to be effective.
The alcoholic is not going to give up alcohol. That doesn’t mean he should freeze to death or starve to death. Many people would gladly work if there were jobs in Kent County. What we need is something like the commercial lot that is zoned in the north of the county on Route 301. It could hold a distribution center or two and the gas station and restaurants that the employees of the center would need. It would also be useful for travelers on #301 and bring revenue to the county. The commercial zone was placed on a main road at the edge of the county so as to not be disruptive to the ambiance of the rural nature of Kent County. This is the sort of business we need to give many the source of employment they need.
The tax revenue might cover the increase in property taxes coming to pay for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which is currently in its first year. This is important because the state of Maryland has determined our required assessment as if each and every person owns one of the lovely and large houses on the waterways of this peninsula. The statistics cited above show that to be false. The proposed tax will go up as much as 100% in the next 9 years.
So, thank the good Lord for John Queen (The Bayside H.O.Y.A.S.) and Shrewsbury Church for taking on the immense task of organizing the various sources of aid to our massive population in need. Anyone who needs help, I suggest you contact John Queen’s organization.
Needless to say, I have a new set of heroes.
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