dateline. harrisburg. a few blocks away from north 2nd street in downtown harrisburg, in the shadow of the pennsylvania state house, is the boyd memorial building. located on the basement level is downtown daily bread, a nonprofit organization that serves the homeless and disenfranchised of the city.
carter n. nash is the client counselor with downtown daily bread, a 3 person operation that provides lunch, counseling, showers, lockers and other services to about 120 people per day, 365 days a year. in his capacity as client counselor, mr. nash advises the homeless on everything from substance abuse to federal disability benefits.
mr. nash’s clients are mostly people who work as manual labor in the construction and restaurant industries. mr. nash stated that the cyclical nature of these industries causes many people to end up homeless. he has also had white collar professionals seeking services at the daily bread. the state of pennsylvannia recently downsized, and a former supervisor there sought services at downtown daily bread.
mr. nash observed that 3 years ago downtown daily bread served about 80 people per day. currently, that figure has reached 120 people per day. he stated that the foreclosures from the subprime fallout have not affected his organization.
as far as the subprime foreclosures go and other foreclosures go, pennsylvania had the foresight many years ago to put under the pensylvania housing finance agency a program to assist people who are having mortgage problems. and i believe that has probably been the safety net that this state has had that a lot of other states don't have. also, until recently, i had never seen them advertise this program on television, but they have recently been doing so.
one segment of his clients that faces severe hardship is the disabled. although the federal government provides disability benefits, administered through the social security agency, mr. nash said it is a long process for the disabled to get medical care.
it can take up to a couple of years. because they'll be rejected, they have to appeal, that appeal will be rejected, then they have to appeal. and during that time, there is a good chance that they can lose their home, they can lose their car, they've lost their job. they don't have medical insurance during that period of time and then things will get progressively worse. so that if they have a medical condition they're applying for, and they're not getting the treatment they need, so that by the time they finally do get it, they're in much worse medical condition and need more medical treatment.
he agreed that few people would choose to give up their jobs and lie about being disabled to get 500 dollars a month.
mr. nash often refers disabled clients seeking federal benefits to local attorneys. if awarded benefits, the social security administration pays the attorney fees. the applicant is not required to pay any fees to the attorneys. the bar association regularly sends a representative to downtown daily bread to inform client of their rights and options.
we have an arrangement with the local bar association where they come in once a month to speak with people. also, the pennsylvania department of public welfare has a ...specialist who works with people who are applying for disability to help walk them through the system. and there are also a couple of attorneys that i know personally that i can refer people to.
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downtown daily bread is located just down the alley from senator stinky’s campaign headquarters for Harrisburg. although ----------- receptionist with the campaign, has repeatedly told ----------------, one of stinky’s campaign managers, that he or some other senior member of the senator’s harrisburg office should meet with mr. cash, no one has spoken to him about the needs of the homeless and disenfranchised. mr. nash even went to senator yomama’s office himself to meet with the campaign managers, but they ------------- the time to talk to him. mr. nash is not a man with much free time. he does have a steady stream of volunteers, however. he’s arranged with various local churches to provide volunteers. the schedule is full for the next year.
reporting from harrisburg, I’m shoebox butler.