Close Community

I believe that it is the local community‘s responsibility to care for its members; and religious institutions should be leading that, since most every religion has at least one humanitarian principal.  Merriam-Webster defines community as “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.”  I am a fan of the “Big Society” initiative in the UK.  “The Big Society is about helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities.”  You can read more here http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/big-society.  I think that we need to employ an American Big Society, I like the term “Close Community” .
Basically the idea is that people should want to help each other.  Radical, I know.  I think that a government backed initiative to provide civil services at a local level would help communities to grow and decrease federal spending on domestic civil and humanitarian projects.  So money that currently goes to government projects such as planned parenthood would be re purposed to approved non-profit agencies.  Let’s use Social Security Disability as an example.
What is Social Security Disability?  The Social Security Administration of the United States government pays out disability to approved individuals.  Disability is defined as “a sum of money paid to somebody, usually on a monthly basis, by a government agency or insurance company because he or she is unable to work” by the Encarta World English Dictionary[North American Edition].  I do not believe that our government should be responsible for financially supporting individual citizens who are not employees of the government.
So local charities would apply for state and federal dollars, and would be evaluated based on their credentials (areas serviced, services provided, length of service, etc).  So a charity such as Spring Assistance Ministries would be a good candidate as they service a small area (about eight zip codes), already have a food assistance program (which would mean less financial assistance would be needed since some disability money is spent on food), and are familiar with the people they help.  The budgets for the individual government programs would be combined, and then the total would be decreased, and then doled-out to approved local organizations.
So how about that?  We stop relying on the government to take care of individuals and let the government take care of all of us by helping us to take care of each other.

One thought on “Close Community

  • May 21, 2011 at 3:53 PM
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    So, the current debate in Houston regarding city-funded sports teams would fall into the group of programs covered in this model. People are upset because they will have to begin paying for their children’s sports since city budget cuts have eliminated funding for uniforms, equipment, coaching, and park usage; for all sports except baseball. I do not believe that it is the responsibility of the city to provide sports teams. There are many great for-profit and non-profit organizations that do provide this service, such as the YMCA or Upwards. While there are fees associated with these programs there are also scholarships available for those who need financial assistance. I even hear that children are able to play games with each other without jerseys, adults telling them what to do, or a full sized field/court; but that is just a rumor…

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