From the “If It Helps One Person” Files

Whenever talking about fiscal outlays for the impoverished, I often get “cut down to size” with the “if it helps one person, it’s worth it!” rejoinder, such as discussing this chart with a warm-hearted, caring doctor of comic books:

Sure, the amount spent has gone through the roof. But if it has helped one person! Or a small number of people.

In that vein, we have an excited story in the Springfield News-Leader about a change to a government program in Springfield: New city agreement could help more subsidized housing residents get off welfare.

People who receive federal housing vouchers are eligible for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which aims to help them get off welfare. Through an annual grant, the housing authority employs a coordinator who helps people set goals and connects them with resources, like job training programs or tuition assistance.

Since 1992, only 21 individuals have successfully completed the program, according to Erma Owens with the housing authority.

For the love of Pete, fewer than one person per year has successfully completed the program. That sounds like an ineffective program if you ask me. But I’m just a taxpayer.

The partnership the article speaks of is that the city will share an employee with the program.

This has definite benefits.

Adams said working at both places helps streamline the process for clients seeking help because she can tell them exactly what to expect from each office.

“Instead of me just saying ‘Go to the career center,’ I can tell them who to talk to. (That way they can) make a better connection with community resources and the career center,” Adams said.

That is, the benefits are facilitation, communication, and improved processination.

On the plus side, at least it’s not the city or the federal government throwing more money at the program hoping to get it up to 1.25 or 1.4 people per year.

“If it helps one person…” mostly helps one type of person: government or Near Government Organization employees.

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