Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti

Here is an article with some of the aid for Haiti groups listed:

Here is another list of groups & what they do on the ground in Haiti to donate funds :

•Americares – provides health care materials and relief aid via partners on the ground

•Doctors without Borders – has already set up emergency relief clinics on the ground, (may need supplies later as well)

•Grassroots Online – partners w/local social justice organizations to help distribute food, medical supplies, & other needs identified by Haitian social justice workers;

•Haiti Emergency Relief Fund – has been working on social, political, and human rights issues in Haiti for 6 years,

•Madre – works with community based Haitian women’s organizations, will be helping women in crisis, needs: water tablets, antibiotics, medical supplies, also distributing food & clean water asking for: donate $$ or supplies, call for more info 212 627 0444

•Quixote Center – long term grassroots organization working in US & Haiti, works w/ women’s groups & is sending earthquake aid

•Red Cross has already allotted funds to relief effort; you can give money via link or text “Haiti” to #90999 to give $10; NO volunteer opportunities @ this time

•UNICEF – emergency teams already in Haiti or volunteer

•World Concern – offering food, clean water, blankets, and temp shelter to victims,

•World Food Programme – provides emergency meals and clean water,

•Yele - donate $5 by texting the word “yele” to #501501

If you are a relative of a US citizen in Haiti and are trying to get information about their safety, you can call 1-888-407-4747 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225 202-647-5225

Dr. Jam,

While I do believe that we need to help the people of Haiti, there are a group of homeless people within our own borders that need our help just as much as the people of Haiti do. Some of them are former patients of the Hudson River Psychiatric Hospital just across the way from where you teach. They have been neglected for decades. They are the sickest of the sick; they have a severe form of mental illness that makes them incompetent and yet they are asked to learn to take care of themselves. That they fail and many of them wind up homeless is not surprising to me.

My brother, although never homeless, was one of the tens of thousands of former patients of the state hospital system who were unable to manage on the "outside". I have been writing about my brother Paul and his experiences since his release from the state hospital system. I usually like to say that while his life was very difficult and I think his early death was directly attributable to his release, he was one of the lucky ones because he was never homeless or incarcerated.

That is a pretty sad statement to make, especially when you learn more about my brother's sufferings. Please think about the homeless within our own borders, an estimated third of the hundreds of thousands homeless are just plain sick and need medical care, yet we step over them or divert our glance.

I have ideas of how to change things for people like my brother Paul. If you are interested, I would gladly share them with you.
I agree with you that there are many people within our borders that need and are in crisis,there is a safety net though it is very ragged (now here comes the but) BUT all the people in Haiti are in need and in crisis now, with no net.

What you point out is the failure of policy/law makers to have the vision to fully make policy--across agencies, and to fully fund all the components of policies that they do make. Agencies and policies tend to get compartmentalized and turf build and defend... In this case the more humane model of treating persons with Psychiatric problems--not warehousing them in the mamouth Pysch Centers, but in community homes. Unfortunately, there were not (and are not) enough homes,, and many people have the misunderstanding that having a halfway house in their neighborhood would de-value their property. Americans think they have the right to increased property values. A former student and I published a study of property values, and found that halfway homes make good neighbors, and do not decrease property values (published in a now old book called Contested Terrains).

I'd like to hear your ideas. This is one of those issues that is also dear to me--my brother worked in a halfway home before his illness made it too difficult for him. (He, too, passed too young)
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