The New Homeless on NBC's Dateline 7/4/03 @ 8PM (EDT) - page 2

Tomorrow night's Dateline on NBC is going to focus on the "new homeless". Mark your calendars. It is BOUND to be scary.... Read More

  1. by   SmilingBluEyes
    could be you

    could be me

    could be any of us next

    if we become disabled and unable to work

    if jobs dry up in our communities

    yep could happen and already is to thousands

    frightening

    preventable

    sad
  2. by   CseMgr1
    The cause of the baby's death, according to the Medical Examiner was malnutrition. Both of the parents were at first arrested for child cruelty, but when it was discovered that the Mother was also malnourished and that they had been turned away time after time for help, they were exonerated and finally got help.
  3. by   CseMgr1
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by PsykoRN
    [B]
    Originally posted by fergus51
    Parents who can't care for their children have the option of adoption and there is no excuse for allowing a child to die.

    The article didn't state the cause of death. I wonder if it may have been SIDS in which case there was nothing they could have done.
    I also watched the documentary and was riveted. When I was a single parent of 3 little ones, there were so many times where we were one step from the streets. OMG did I feel these people's pain!!! I think the hardest thing to endure is the degredation and the frustration of trying to do the best you can and having people, who are supposed to be in a position to help you, treat you like second class garbage. Does wonders for your self-esteem.
    Tell me about it. I was also a single Mom, and recall during one particulary bad month almost being out of food, and with $50 to my name until payday, which was days away. I had a choice between paying the note on my Guaranteed Student Loan and buying food. Well, needless to say, that was a no-brainer, making a choice between whether or not my child was going to eat, or paying that note!

    Anyway, my choice didn't win me any popularity contests with the GSLP folks. Two days after the payment was due, I got this very nasty phone call from one of their collectors. He would not even let me explain what my situation was, and I finally hollered at him: "If you think that this is a contest between you getting your damn money and my son eating, guess who just won!", and I hung up on him. I was shaking and crying, for I was so mad. I was also, like that single mom on "Dateline", walking a fine line between trying to keep a roof over our heads...and being homeless, and I was scared to death.

    To my surprise, that collector called me back later...and actually apologized for his behavior. He told me that he was having to deal with (and it's still going on today) massive defaults on student loans...and his government bosses were on his back, to collect. I apologized too, for hanging up (my Mama taught me better), and made payment arrangements.

    I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I can't help but wonder too, if that baby's parents couldn't have done more. If I were in that situation, I think I would be camped out on DEFAC's doorstep, and yelling at anyone with ears attached to their heads: "Help me, my baby and I are STARVING TO DEATH!"
  4. by   live4today
    Originally posted by CseMgr1
    ...........I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I can't help but wonder too, if that baby's parents couldn't have done more. If I were in that situation, I think I would be camped out on DEFAC's doorstep, and yelling at anyone with ears attached to their heads: "Help me, my baby and I are STARVING TO DEATH!"
    I agree! I would have gone to the police department for help, or gone to the television news stations with my story. Heck, I would have even called Oprah for that matter. You name it, I would have done it short of sitting in the aisle of a grocery store feeding my baby jars of baby food as a way of saying "This is how desperate life can be for many, and my baby and I are living proof of it!
  5. by   CseMgr1
    Our little baby was laid to rest yesterday:

    As baby is buried, cause is revived
    Tragedy rekindles call to reach out to homeless

    By JIM THARPE
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Metro Atlanta residents and local leaders looked out over the tiny white casket of a 25-day-old infant Saturday and vowed to step up efforts to confront the city's homeless problem.

    About 70 people -- family, church members and state and city officials -- attended a one-hour funeral for Enestae Kessee Jr. at the Overcoming Church of God in Atlanta, about three miles from the state Capitol.

    "As good Christians, we will use our authority to make sure this does not happen to any other child," state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) told the congregation in the small sanctuary where Enestae's casket sat at the front, his grieving parents in a pew nearby. A spray of flowers rested on top. A white toy lamb nestled snugly in the arrangement.

    The baby's casket was open during a viewing before the service. He wore a blue knit cap and a small blanket was pulled up to his neck.

    The infant son of 24-year-old Enestae Kessee Sr. and Bonita Williams, 19, stopped breathing suddenly last week. The young homeless couple scooped him up and carried him through the city streets for more than a mile seeking help.

    They were ignored until they reached the Atlanta Detention Center.

    Initially they were charged with child cruelty in the death, but charges were dropped after a medical examiner concluded the parents had not hurt the infant.

    The community came together to pay for the child's funeral and burial at Lincoln Memorial Gardens.

    A local construction company has given the father a job and a development group has given the couple free lodging for six months.

    The couple's plight and their child's death has become a rallying cry for community activists who contend too little is being done to help the poorest of the poor.

    The infant's father said his son's death has brought him closer to God.

    In an emotional tribute, Enestae Kessee Sr. sang and spoke to his dead son as the church fell silent except for the slow whirling of ceiling fans.

    "That boy right there changed me," he said, pointing to the small casket. "That boy showed me what love is."

    Retired Marine Corps Col. Bill Gaffney of Roswell, who felt moved to attend the funeral, said that everyone in the metro area bears some responsibility for the child's death.

    "I hope the rest of us will feel some of the guilt I feel and carry it with us the rest of our lives," he said during the "community testimony" portion of the service.

    City Councilman Jim Maddox told mourners the city was already working to turn the old city jail on Pryor Street, near the Garnett MARTA station, into a shelter and service center for the homeless. The child's death, he said, could accelerate those plans.

    "Out of this tragedy, hopefully something positive will occur," Maddox said.

    Councilman Derrick Boazman said elected officials must re-evaluate efforts aimed at the poor to make sure those resources are directed effectively.

    "Hopefully through this young baby, we will be able to prevent this from happening again," Boazman said.

    The Rev. Louis Adams said that even though the child lived only three weeks, his life had a "divine purpose."

    "Through Enestae's life, many children and mothers in this situation . . . will have a chance at life," Adams said.
  6. by   KMSRN
    A 25 day old baby would have been showing signs of trouble and distress before actually dying of malnutrition and the parents would know if they were not able to feed it. Maybe the parents have some mental deficiencies and were not able to judge what was happening or be aware of all resources. The hospital emergency room would have been an option, before the child got to the point of death. This is very sad.
  7. by   CseMgr1
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    could be you

    could be me

    could be any of us next

    if we become disabled and unable to work

    if jobs dry up in our communities

    yep could happen and already is to thousands

    frightening

    preventable

    sad
    Yes, and it's happening to more and more people. Read this:

    Jobs losses put damper on recovery

    By MARILYN GEEWAX
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    YOUR TURN
    Stocks, corporate profits and productivity are recovering. But jobs continue to disappear.

    Percentage unemployed nationwide.
    March 2001 4.2%
    June 4.6%
    Sept. 5.0%
    Dec. 5.8%
    March 2002 5.7%
    June 5.8%
    Sept. 5.7%
    Dec. 6.0%
    March 2003 5.8%
    April 6.0%
    May 6.1%
    June 6.4%

    People who want work but are too discouraged to keep looking (in thousands).

    March 2001 349
    June 294
    Sept. 285
    Dec. 348
    March 2002 330
    June 342
    Sept. 392
    Dec. 403
    March 2003 474
    April 437
    May 482
    June 478
    >Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




    WASHINGTON -- The stock market has been rallying, and corporate profits strengthening.

    Still, U.S. employers keep hacking away at payrolls, laying off workers and refusing to hire new ones. Since March 2001, when a brief recession officially began, more than 2.5 million jobs have vanished.

    Where did they go? Will they ever come back?

    Overwhelmingly, mainstream economists say the jobs have been lost to better machines, more sophisticated software and tougher foreign competitors. They also say that, eventually, U.S. companies will begin creating jobs again.

    "There are jobs that are gone and won't come back," said Ken Goldstein, economist for the Conference Board, a New York-based business association. "But new ones will not only replace them, they'll be even better jobs."

    Goldstein's optimistic predictions may come true, but for the millions of workers who have lost paychecks, these are tough times. In contrast to the booming late 1990s, this new decade has produced the longest sustained period without job growth since World War II.

    "It's unprecedented to be in the third year [following] a recession and still be shedding jobs," said Harry Holzer, a labor economist at Georgetown University in Washington.

    Doug Rosenbrock, an unemployed senior program analyst in New York, has been seeking work for months. His job search has provided him with no evidence that better jobs are about to emerge. "Once you lose your job, you can't even get an interview," he said.

    On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate for June hit 6.4 percent, the highest level in more than nine years. Still, that figure is not terribly high compared with the last two recessions. The jobless rate reached 10.8 percent in 1982 and 7.8 percent in 1992.

    But "there is a fair amount of pain" because job openings are rare, Holzer said. With so few employers seeking workers, many people have stopped looking for jobs, and therefore are not counted as unemployed by the government.

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the total number of unemployed -- counting both those seeking work and those who have stopped looking -- was about 10 million in June, compared with 6.6 million in May 2000, when the unemployment rate slipped to a low of 3.8 percent.

    Even many people who have jobs wish they could get more hours. The number of people employed part time because they can't find full-time work was 4.6 million in June, up from 3.3 million when the recession began in March 2001, according to the Labor Department.

    Because employers are still being so cautious, many full-time workers are hurting, too. The average workweek for rank-and-file employees remained at 33.7 hours in June, matching the lowest level since the government began keeping records in 1964. Those short hours don't bode well for job-seekers, because companies typically ask employees to work more hours before they start bringing in new people.

    If the economy is recovering, why are jobs so scarce and work hours so limited?

    Erica Groshen, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York economist who recently studied employment trends over the past several decades, said those questions can be answered with two words: increased productivity.

    Because of new technologies and procedures, employers are getting more work done with fewer people.

    During the 1960s and 1970s, job layoffs tended to be cyclical, Groshen said. When orders fell, workers were sent home, "but as soon as the economy picked up, the workers were called back, and they did pretty much the same thing they were doing before," she said.

    In the 1990s, as computers and other kinds of advanced equipment began having a bigger impact, layoffs started becoming permanent.

    Moving jobs offshore

    At the same time, advances in telecommunications and the Internet made it easier for companies to ship service-sector jobs overseas. Today, jobs that used to be done in America by computer programmers, architects, accountants and back-office workers are being performed in low-wage countries such as India, China and the Philippines by contractors.

    A study by Forrester Research estimated that by 2015, 3.3 million jobs, worth $136 billion annually in wages, will have moved offshore.

    "Now when employers see a decline in the demand for their product, they see it as either a mandate or an opportunity for long-term change," Groshen said. In other words, they'd rather acquire a new piece of equipment, develop a better production technique or send jobs offshore than start hiring again.

    Such trends have been devastating for blue-collar workers. Manufacturers cut jobs in June for the 35th consecutive month. During that stretch, the manufacturing sector lost 2.6 million jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

    Since the final quarter of 2001, productivity has increased at an annual rate of 3.7 percent, a point higher than economic growth. For workers, that translates into "work harder, work faster."

    But mainstream economists say that in the long run, higher productivity helps workers because it boosts profits and allows employers to pay their remaining employees higher wages. When workers make more money, they can afford to spend more, which eventually creates new jobs in restaurants, clothing stores and so on.

    Goldstein said the process of job destruction and creation is constantly moving forward, even though at the moment, the pace of destruction is outstripping creation. "Certainly this has been a slow recovery," he said. "But this, too, shall pass."

    History offers many examples to support Goldstein's upbeat outlook. For example, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, farm laborers lost jobs in massive numbers. Initially, they may have seen little reason for optimism, but within a few years, many had moved from low-paying, backbreaking agricultural jobs to high-wage factory jobs.

    Statistics on job-related accidents, pay and longevity show that over time, dangerous jobs are indeed being replaced by safer, higher-paying jobs.

    As an example of how this process works, Goldstein noted that electronic toll-collection systems increasingly are replacing toll-booth workers, who must do repetitive tasks while breathing exhaust fumes.

    With the quicker electronic systems, drivers save money on gasoline and get home more quickly. "The money that is not going up the gas tank is then available to spend on something else" to occupy the driver's increased leisure time, Goldstein said.

    No consolation

    Promises that more enjoyable jobs eventually will appear in the "leisure" sector aren't much comfort to Reginald Elms, a toll-booth worker on the San Mateo Bridge in San Francisco Bay.

    Elms, a state employee for six years, said he has watched the "FasTrak" electronic toll system slowly supplant people like himself. "Common sense tells you, later on down the line they're going to use this to replace employees" in mass numbers, he said.

    But Elms said most workers have become philosophical about it. "We had [union] meetings about it when it first came up a few years ago, but there was nothing we could actually do," he said. "It's just part of the deal now."


    Next thing you know, they'll be replacing US with computers and robots....


  8. by   CseMgr1
  9. by   Milehighnurse
    Originally posted by KMSRN
    A 25 day old baby would have been showing signs of trouble and distress before actually dying of malnutrition and the parents would know if they were not able to feed it. Maybe the parents have some mental deficiencies and were not able to judge what was happening or be aware of all resources. The hospital emergency room would have been an option, before the child got to the point of death. This is very sad.
    Developmental delay of the parents was my second guess in which case they may not have known appropriate needs of the baby. Given that, I wonder why the hospital where the baby was born, didn't pick up on that and ensure that these parents had access to resources and knew how to recognize signs of distress before they left the hospital. Sometimes "the system" just makes me shudder.
  10. by   jnette
    Originally posted by PsykoRN
    Developmental delay of the parents was my second guess in which case they may not have known appropriate needs of the baby. Given that, I wonder why the hospital where the baby was born, didn't pick up on that and ensure that these parents had access to resources and knew how to recognize signs of distress before they left the hospital. Sometimes "the system" just makes me shudder.
    And it should.
    But it's not just the "system"... individuals, churches, you name it... seems like there's a frightening cloud of generalized apathy smothering ppl these days. Takes tragedies such as this to wake us up...just long enough to shake our heads in disbelief before we drift back off to slumberland. Or close our eyes intentionally to protect ourselves from what we don't WANT to see.. or know.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    I'm having problems with the story about little Enestae. Reading the obit, there is a long list of grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles . . . . . where were they when this little baby was dying of malnutrition? What is the story behind the parents? Are they developmentally challenged? What did happen with the hospital and nurses who discharged this little family? If she was bottlefeeding, where was the referral to an agency that makes sure these kinds of situations are taken care of and formula given. We have cupboards full of formula that is given to us free by the formula companies in their "breastfeeding" gift bags. We, of course, take out the formula .. . .sorta defeats the purpose of breastfeeding but that's another story. I always load up the moms who are bottlefeeding and low income with this formula.

    I'm just not feeling all that comfortable with the lack of details in this story. Any hospital emergency room would have taken care of this little baby.

    confusing, sad and appalling story . . .
  12. by   jnette
    I agree, Steph. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered. I do tend to think the parents were not fully aware of many things until it was too late. Wandering around homeless also has a way of numbing otherwise rational thought processes .. from the sheer trauma and stress of it all. Kinda like asking a severley traumatized victim of domestic violence "why didn't you do this, why didn't you do that?"

    Guess we just don't know what was REALLY going on with these young parents, but I'd sure hate to pass judgement without knowing. Sad story, truly sad.
    Last edit by jnette on Jul 6, '03
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Morning Jnette!

    Skipped church this morning to pay bills and do some cleaning without my toddler wanting to sit on mommie's lap and so sent him off with his daddy. I'm sure God will forgive me

    I'm not trying to be judgmental regarding this baby and his parents but I am trying to understand. There was a gap here that this family fell through and I don't think the story in the newspaper is giving a complete picture. I'd like more info so this doesn't happen again. To tell the truth, there are times when I discharge new parents and their sweet little newborn that I just pray hard . . . . the awful truth is, come people should not be parents. How to fix that is the problem . . . .

    Now, back to paying the bills and listening to Lyle Lovett . . . driving my kids crazy with that one. :chuckle

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