Wednesday, June 13, 2012

GRH4V: Bars Do Not A Prison Make.

I would not like to see the sign out front changed to reflect this Touched up Photo.

Yet the photo reflects how a large portion of the veterans here at the "home" for veterans actually feel about this place, and how the quality of life here has gone down hill so fast.

You do not need bars on the doors and windows, to make a prison. Some prisons are created by actions of people, and by the perceptions people have.

When a veteran is afraid to speak up about an issue, he is imprisoned by his own fear. That fear can be created by the actions of the Administration. A veteran sees others who speak up, and get targeted for expulsion, and that makes them wary of speaking up even when it is in their own best interest to do so. It makes them feel imprisoned, with no way out other than death.

When veterans feel they have no where else to go if they get kicked out, this creates uncertainty and that can cause them not to speak up when they need to. Again, leaving them feeling imprisoned.

When veterans see issues brought up at member counsel meetings, and then nothing gets done about the issue, it leaves them feeling hopeless, as they believe nothing will be done if THEY bring up an issue.

When members write up issues on the yellow "issue sheets" we are given, and then get a political spin response that doesn't even address the issue written up, members feel that the procedure is a waste of time and that staff members and administration are here just to get a pay check.

When members ask why rules that are stated in writing in the member hand book are NOT being enforced by staff and/or administration, their inquires get ignored, and their questions never answered. So why follow the rules? If one can, all can, right?

If you selectively enforce rules, on one person but not the other who does the same thing, what kind of message are you sending to the others? That is a form of "beating them down" or "mentally breaking them".

And when Veterans ask to meet with officials such as the board of managers, WITHOUT STAFF being present, and then are refused, what kind of message is that sending to veterans?

When a veteran is forced by the courts to take a conservator or a guardian, and that conservator or guardian abuses them, they have no voice, and again feel imprisoned.

No, This is not the Grand Rapids Home for veterans. Some say its a hospital, others a home. I say none of the above. Not a prison, not a home, not a hospital. We are in transition right now. If we were a home, we would have more room to live in; not 56 square feet for bed, dresser and table. We would have room for a book shelf, or a easy chair or a small work desk. And our rights would be respected. None of this waking us up at 5am to tell us we have an appointment at 2pm that afternoon.

IF this were a hospital, better sanitation standards would be imposed on ALL parties, including members. Veterans would be required to practice good personal hygiene, and if not, would be moved to a ward for those who cannot. (see the post about stinky on Rankin 2 Dom Unit).  If this were a hospital the members would not be allowed to constantly spill coffee down the hallways, leaving it there for house keeping to clean up. Seems like every other day, the spills are 12  inches apart and go from Kozy corners down  the hall, past the chapel and on to Rankin 1.It also happens on Rankin 2 and 3, with spills going from their kitchenettes top the nearest elevator.

If this were a hospital the meals in the main dining room would be served HOT, and would not be useless calories, made up of carbohydrates, sugars and starches. And the meals would be varied, not the same instant potatoes every day, same green beans,  same fruit cup, same drinks. The soups would not be made with the 2nd main ingredient of diced tomatoes, which is used as a filler for so many food items here, just to name a few things that are wrong, and that have been presented to the administration which ignores the issue.

And since it is not a prison (officially) then it must be a home, but not a good one, the way things are looking.
Lots of room for improvement. Improvement to keep this place from becoming a real prison.

Start by replacing the administration and the board of managers. 

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