Letter to David Berns

Paperwork going into funnel and coming out as money

David Serota

Mr. David Berns
Director, Department of Human Services
District of Columbia

Greetings Mr. Berns (David),

Hope this autumn has been happy, healthy, and fun for you and Colleen!
May I again offer a suggestion which I have mentioned at a couple Interagency Council on Homelessness meetings that could mend some big holes and inequities in the “safety net,” eliminate involuntary homelessness, and put our District back to work, as well as streamline assistance to people in need of help?

Convert all social welfare programs, including food stamps, TANF, public housing, shelters, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), IDA, job training programs, and the other myriad taxpayer-funded programs which help persons in need to a simple guaranteed jobs program.

Require all persons to work half-time (20 hours per week) at productive labor, and guarantee a monthly income of $1,000. This would eliminate millions of dollars of paperwork, personnel costs, and similar bureaucratic “red tape,” provide positive incentives for all people to be productive citizens, and extend the “safety net” to all citizens fairly and equally.

A total of $1,000 per month is sufficient to rent a room in the District of Columbia while still leaving enough for basic survival needs. It would still be necessary to provide support services to persons with serious mental or physical disabilities, such as having a “payee” to make sure their monthly income pays for necessary survival needs such as housing and food. The work requirement would help people by giving them job skills and work habits which they could use in the future. It would also eliminate a lot of crime and social ills by removing some of the idle time currently being abused by so many people: as the old saying goes, “Idle hands do the Devil’s work.”

The monthly income payments could easily be made by using the current EBT card which is used for food stamp payments, and each person would be required to file an annual income tax report with the IRS under penalties of perjury for false statements.

Have a nice weekend, David! Please say Hi to Colleen for me, and let’s have lunch again soon!

(Gary J. Minter)

Issues |Housing|Jobs

Region |Washington DC

information about New Signature, a Washington DC tech solutions and consulting firm


email updates

We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.