Updated Jul 27, 2019
I didn’t work there, but saw how things operated.
It was very small in “shelter” terms – Just a house with 9 bedrooms.
It also wasn’t free. They ran it with the micromanaging, condescending. thinly-disguised-contemptuous attitude as if it were a free shelter, but actually charged rent. The amount was seriously overpriced for the conditions (crowding, micromanaging etc).
However, they didn’t view the residents as paying customers. Because the general model was for the government welfare department to pay the residents’ dole directly to this place. The residents were all viewed as bludgers, (primarily welfare mothers), with the welfare department being the actual customer. And yes, the welfare mothers crammed as many as three or four children into the room with them. Said children were being raised poorly, and will likely repeat the cycle in another ten years or so.
It was all about chronic dependency. People for whom the term, “no-hoper” was invented. Higher education, or even basic, minimal employment just weren’t on the radar for these people.
They called the people living there “residents”, not “tenants”, and that wasn’t just to be polite or friendly.
The rent was probably set at the maximum they could get based on either welfare regulations, or just the maximum to where the residents had just barely anything left over.
Stays were theoretically for a maximum of three months, but there were suggestions that they didn’t actually enforce this.
They provided a room and food. Residents had to buy their own soap, toothpaste, transportation, etc., with the small amount left over after the rent.
You would have been in very serious difficulty if you had any one-time or ongoing medical costs.
This place acted like they were doing people a personal favour by allowing people to live there. It was owned by some allegedly religious entity, and the abusive manager claimed to be religious. But it was really a business, profiting off of fleecing desperate people.
The deal included rotating duties of cooking dinner, and also cleaning common areas (bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, etc), as a condition of living there. Which meant that, a childfree resident had to clean up the daily mess made by other people’s children.
It also included a level of micromanaging rules that no normal landlord could get away with. No visitors in your room, no booze, all kinds of intrusive questions (including finances and medical information) and “here is what you are going to do about your pathetic situation”.
One command was to apply for long-term welfare housing (with a very long waiting list), with the expectation of long-term welfare dependence.
Another command was to see a “budget counselor”, who would demand a detailed accounting of every dollar you received and spent. So that they could dictate what you were allowed to buy.
The manager and a night supervisor (i.e. adult babysitter) actually reacted negatively towards a resident who got a part-time job.
They lied (because they were generally dishonest and disrespectful). Manager claimed that, the job was willful misbehaviour, because it allegedly distracted said resident from “dealing with” a recent bereavement. Babysitter claimed that, said resident wasn’t mentally fit to be working at a job with other people. It was absolute gaslighting.
The manager confronted the resident, and stated that, a condition of continuing to live there was to get diagnosed with a psychiatric disability, and apply for disability welfare benefits. Despite the fact that said resident was working part-time and attending university part-time, and was a sane, rational, reasonably-functioning person. The manager wanted this person to just give up on life, throw away any future potential, and become one of the totally dependent no-hopers.
It was a blatant attempt at gaslighting a person who happened to be having a very sad moment in life.
Why the negative reaction? My guess is a few reasons:
- When a person receives over a certain income from working, the welfare department penalises their dole. This could result in that benefit being lower than the rent amount. Which would mean that, this place would need to arrange for the resident to directly pay some or all of the rent. With the risk of non-payment.
- There may have been the idea of a disability benefit paying more money, which the facility could take, based on allegedly providing more services (i.e. micromanaging). And/or the idea of demanding that, the tenant’s entire benefit be paid directly to the manager of the facility, since you can’t trust crazy people with money.
- A working person would have a position to feel like a paying customer. With expectations and standards. Like objecting to the poor conditions, and the bad behaviour and attitudes of the other residents and their children.
- A person who was working, with good credit history, zero criminal history, zero eviction history, generally adult functioning, childfree, and only low-income due to being a university student… just did not fit with the business model, or the contemptuous mental model of residents.
- Said person might actually have other alternatives, and might not be such an easy target for financial exploitation.
- There was always at least one empty room in the house. So, if someone moved out (due to working and/or refusing to tolerate the conditions), they couldn’t just reload the room with another profit-making resident.
- A working person didn’t “fit in” with the other residents. One of whom tried to instigate conflict based on envy and tall poppy syndrome.
This place actually wanted people who were shut out of education, jobs, and regular housing rentals. They wanted people who had/perceived zero other options. Who were terrified of being booted out on the street. And who would submit to bullying and micromanagement, while being used for revenue.