REALLY, MAGGIE BROOKS?

Never in my life have I experienced such blatant inefficiency and incompetence.  It just boggles the mind.  If DSS were a for profit organization it wouldn’t last a month. You have employees who have no idea what their co-workers do; endless paperwork and red-tape; all used as a deterrent to funds.

I know the deal, you make it as difficult as possible to get answers so those truly in need give up. That’s your game.  I get it.  You don’t have the funds to do what you really need to do, so you make it harder and harder for individuals to claim assistance. But I can tell you how you can alleviate some of your problems, dear Maggie.  Get rid of the moochers.  Get rid of those individuals who play the game better than you; who know how to work the system so well that they slip through so quietly and slimy that you don’t know what hit you and then you find yourself in a deficit and crying poor.  You know who I’m talking about. Don’t play coy with me.  The 18 year olds who were on their parent’s plan and slid right through the system, with nary a sound.  The ones’ who pop out puppies like they are excreting waste. And those children go right into the system and stay there until they are 18, and then the whole process starts all over again.  More than likely, these 18 year olds already have children of their own before they fall off their own parent’s plan.  See where I’m going with this? You are only perpetrating a system of useless, non-productive individuals.  Many of these individuals will never hold down a job for any length of time, thus not contributing to your slowly decreasing funds. Funds that could be going to someone who really needs it in the short-term, such as myself.

I’m getting the runaround.  Documents lost. Birthdate imputed incorrectly. I make too much on unemployment; I need to apply for social security; I’m denied social security; the list goes on and on, and in the mean time I have no food and I can’t pay my rent.  If it wasn’t for my family, I would be homeless, malnourished  or dead by now, all because I couldn’t get the help I needed. You are creating your own problems, Maggie. I think it’s time to stop and rethink the empire you created.  Your workers have no clue of the programs that are out there, and cannot answer questions about any department other than the one they work  in. SNAP can’t answer questions concerning Financial Assistance; FA can’t answer questions about SNAP, and no one can answer questions about housing assistance.  Worse, they can’t even point you in the direction of individuals or organizations who can answer these questions.  It’s just pathetic.  I don’t blame them; I blame you. You are the emperor of this catastrophe, and as such should always take responsibility for the serfs actions.  So take some responsibility, Maggie AND GET SOME CHANGES DONE!

Now that I have that off my chest, when was the last time you actually walked into your lands a plenty? Allow me to give you just a brief look into what 7 hours in my life at DSS was like:

I arrive at DSS at by 9:30 am. I have an appointment at 10:00 am for my SNAP benefits. The parking spots closest to the building are already taken so I need to park in the alternate parking lot approximately 100 yards away.  It is December so it is quite cold out.  I walk into the building and have to go through security.  I listen to my instructions and proceed through. While I am being swiped with an atomic wand, the security guards take no mind to me or any of my peers, and proceed to discuss their previous night’s escapades. The chatter includes drug references and profanity. HMMM. I walk into the main area, and am immediately struck by how long the lines are. The noise is deafening to me.  I suffer from panic attacks, so the crescendo of different voices, languages, babies crying, is more than I can tolerate.  I have never been through this before, so I go to the back of the first line, thinking that it was the line for appointments. I wasn’t told otherwise.  I stand there, in that cacophony of sounds, clutching to my purse as a security blanket. I am holding it so tightly, that my nails are digging into my hands and leaving pink/purplish marks.  I dread an attack. I try to breathe deeply, but every time I hear a child or baby screech it’s like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.

BREATH.

I stand in that line for a good hour, gradually creeping towards the beginning of the line.  It’s when I get closer, that I realize that I am in the wrong line, and the line I need to be in is directly to my right. It’s also the shorter of them all. I move over, and stand there for 10 minutes, and finally I am at the window.  I hand my paperwork to the indifferent woman at the window and am given a number. I take a seat. I brought a book with me, but soon realize that I must be diligent in listening to the loud-speaker for my number.  The speaker has a tendency to blend right in with the talking, laughing and crying that surrounds me.

So I sit.

And I sit. And I sit some more. I try to look straight ahead and not make any eye contact with anyone.  I observe some disturbing things.  Most everyone has an I-Phone  Not just an old one, but the new I-5 or I-6.  I have a five-year old pantec. I see women caring Coach and other designer purses.  Even if they are knockoffs, they cost more than mine.  I have a three-year old purse from JC Penny that I bought for $14.

Not only am I getting panicky I’m getting angry. I sit. I sit. I sit. I think they have forgotten about me, so I approach the indifferent woman at the window, and ask how much longer will it be.   She says there are two people ahead of me.  I sit for four hours.

Many times I thought I heard my number, and when I walk up front, I am quickly told to go back.  It’s not my time yet.  I sit. I sit. I sit.  At the fifth hour I am called.  I am finally able to go through “the golden doors” where I believe a sensitive, caring individual will finally help me maneuver through this boggling system.  I sit down with her and hand her my paperwork. Click, Click , Click on the computer. She says my application has been denied.  I ask why.  Click, click, click. “Computer Says No”. That’s a bit from  the British Television show, “Little Britain”. She says I can’t prove I’m not working. I hand her the letter from unemployment stating that my status has been terminated.  At this point she says I have to re-apply.  I’m ready to cry. I tell her that I have an apple and ketchup in my fridge right now, and soon will be evicted from my apartment.  She says I have to re-apply for SNAP and she can’t help me with financial assistance because it’s not her group.  I ask who I need to speak with. She says she can’t help me.  She gives me another appointment for SNAP.  I walk out frustrated, angry and near a panic without any help.  As I’m walking out, I hear your security guards talking amongst themselves with no regard to what’s going on around them.  I hear “M…f…ker” come from one security guard.  All I could think to myself is “You got that right, buddy”.

Yes, Miss Brooks. Some changes need to be made.

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