Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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ments, for the sick, for incurables, for the insane, and for epileptics.
The Protestant Deaconess Society of Vienna has a deaconess home
in that city and a summer sanitarium in the country. Four other
similar institutions are maintained by the Protestants of Austria :
"The Home of Peace" in Graz, a general hospital in Teschen em-
bracing eight pavilions, two other buildings and accommodating 130
patients, a home for the sick in Waiern, and a hospice in Karlsbad.

Several funds and one central home which has property amount-
ing to 310,728.56 flor. are devoted to aiding aged Protestant ministers
and teachers, and their widows and orphans. There is a mutual
benefit burial society for evangelical ministers and teachers. Besides
this there is in Vienna an evangelical funeral society which had in
1898 spent 154,955 flor. and possessed property valued at 89,315 flor.
The Gustavus Adolphus Society is a general supporter of the Prot-
estant benevolences. It has in Austria 15 branches, with 30 women's
societies, 49 children's bands and 324 local societies.

In 1898 there were in Austria 1,261,600 Hebrews. The Jewish
population is largest in the province of Galicia where in 1898 it num-
bered 772,213 or 1 16.6 to every 1,000 of the whole population. In
Galicia the charitable associations among the Hebrews appear to out-
number those among all the other people, more than two to one,
with a membership correspondingly greater. Their receipts and ex-
penditures, however, are less than those of the other charitable so-
cieties, yet only by about 14 per cent., while the charitable endow-
ments administered by the Hebrew societies are somewhat the
greater. The smaller income of the Hebrew societies is divided
among twice as many beneficiaries. This is in part because in
many cases the aid is given in the form of loans with the inten-
tion that the beneficiary shall recover economic standing and repay.
Lower Austria comes next to Galicia in the absolute number of
Hebrews, because of the influx to the commercial capital, Vienna. Of
the 128,729 Hebrews in that province 118,495 were in this city, and
there is a large amount of charitable activity and expenditure among
the Jews of Vienna. Available reports include information of Jewish
charitable endowments in Austria of over two million florins. Be-
sides the funds of charitable societies the authorities of many syna-
gogues are trustees of funds. The sums thus administered are said


to amount to 2.3 million g-ulden, including- about 1.5 millions devoted
to charity. The Hebrew charitable societies have a custom of re-
quiring contributions from their members in honor of notable events
in family life, such as a betrothal, a marriage, a birth or the occupa-
tion of a new residence. Mutual benefit societies exist among them
that tend to prevent the need of charity, as by caring for the sick and
burying the dead. The mutual feature includes the obligation of
members themselves to attend the sick of their number, especially at

The common classification of charitable societies according to their
objects is not easily applied to the Hebrew organizations. The kinds
of activity are determined less by their constitutions than by the
kinds of need encountered, and of some societies it would be hard to
tell which of several kinds of ministration is their prevalent activity ;
but it can be said that the Jewish charities apply to almost every
fonn of need and include almost every recognized method of relief.

Bohemia : Catholic Societies. — In the archdiocese of Prague in
1900 there were 14 orders of men, with 35 places of residence, and
632 members; 15 orders of women, with 83 places of residence, and
1,089 members. Only a part of these are devoted to charity; many
are ecclesiastics, teachers, etc. The church sustains almshouses and
all forms of relief; has 200 endowments, with an annual income of
31,659 kr., and distributes food at monasteries and elsewhere. The
Society of St. Vincent de Paul had in 1899, 34 conferences, and there
are many local societies. The Brothers of Mercy have existed since
1620 in Prague, and have cared for 389.518 sick persons. During
1899 they ministered to 3,863 patients. There are 9 orphanages and
institutions for the blind, deaf, epileptics, etc.^

E. Co-operation. — While some creditable advances have been
made in the direction of such coordination of charities as is repre-
sented by the phrases "charity organization" and "associated chari-
ties," yet the condition of Austria in this particular is on the whole
backward. In towns too large to permit each citizen to know the
others the need is apparent. Especially in groat cities where there
are numerous dispensers of charity it is possible for one to receive
aid from many sources, and the decline into professional mendicancy
is thus made easy. The money and effort are dissipated, often doing

^ Zcit. f. d. Armenwesen, 1904, p. 151, — reference to Das soziale Wirken der
katholischen Kirclie in Oesterreich, Vol. X.


harm instead of good, and for lack of concert some forms of need are
left without provision. State and provincial unions exist, but they
do not meet the situation. The congress of Catholic benevolent so-
cieties held in Vienna, May, 1900, devoted especial attention to the
need of reform in this direction and passed resolutions outlining and
approving methods of cooperation between public, religious and other
private charity.

The societies against impoverishment {Verein gegen Verarmung
und Bettelei) are often in the closest cooperation with the public
charities and to this end frequently elect public poor officials as offi-
cers of their societies.

In promotion of cooperation between public and ecclesiastical
charity the law of some provinces {e. g. Upper Austria) provides that
the Armenrath shall include a parish priest. Styrian law specifies
promotion of cooperation with church charities as one of the duties
of the Armenrath. The coordination of charities is a feature of the
Elberfeld system, and progress in this direction has been made by the
cities where this system has had most influence. There is a recogni-
tion of the necessity of learning whether an applicant for public relief
is also a recipient of private charity. Troppau and Innsbruck require
by ordinance that private charities, where they grant aid larger in
amount than that allowed by the city, shall act in consultation with
the public poor officials. They also give to chairmen of district poor
committees the right to invite to particular sessions of these bodies the
heads of private charities. In Innsbruck these chairmen are ex-
pected to request from every private benevolent agency in the city
regular reports of every case aided within the districts over which
they respectively preside. Among the cities Trent deserves especial
mention for the coordination of its charities. Graz also holds a lead-
ing position. In that city a charity organization society was formed
January, 1897. It aims to introduce individualizing treatment into
the municipal poor-relief and to promote such reorganization of that
department as is necessary to the exercise of intelligent discrimination
and persistent fostering care in the treatment of cases, while at the
same time it is the aim of the society to secure systematic cooperation
of public and private charity. One hundred and fifty women were
among those who responded to the call to enter such an organization.
The year following its formation it had 410 supporting and 310 active
members, the latter apportioned among the districts of the city. The



most notable movement in this direction is the provincial society for
charity cooperation in Styria (which aims to bring all the charities of
that crown land into a league). The movement was initiated by offi-
cial action and has the support of prominent personages, though from
its nature it must depend on private contributions for the necessary
funds. The aim, measurably fulfilled, is to include in one organiza-
tion the public, private and ecclesiastical charities of the crown land,
to secure a general view of all means and agencies, without curtailing
the independence of any, to avoid duplication of effort, to promote the
formation of agencies that will provide for needs still not met, to en-
list private activity, to diminish the burden of municipalities, to
disseminate sound principles for the guidance of practice by means of
conventions and a periodical. An innovation in this connection is the
establishment of a registry of the poor, aiming at nothing less than a
record of the case of every person who is aided anywhere in Styria,
a copy of the same to be forwarded to every agency interested.

The Katholische Lands-Wohlthatigkeits-Komittee fiir Nieder-
oesterreich was founded in Vienna in 1900. It seeks to unite all
Catholic agencies for the care of children, popular education, social
help, relief of the poor and sick, and to guide all to the most effective
and economical methods. In December, 1902, it had united 67 so-
cieties in its federation. The central bureau gives information, but
not material relief. In 1902 a movement was started to extend this
union to include all Catholic charities in the Empire.

F. Institutional Relief. — As early as the thirteenth century
thgre were institutions for the care of the poor. Toward the close
of the middle ages, and later, they were founded within their respec-
tive districts by princes and nobles and by ecclesiastical orders. A
"Burger-spital" existed in Vienna from the middle of the thirteenth
century. These early institutions received the poor, the sick, the in-
sane, children and the aged. It was Joseph II. (1765-1790) who
reorganized the administration of such institutions, especially in Vi-
enna, and assigned to each one specific functions, to one the care of
the sick poor, to another those with incurable or repulsive diseases,
and to another orphans. But up to 1863 the mingling of these classes
was general in the Empire, and the institutions in which they were
congregated, though quite numerous, met inadequately the humblest
requirements for the care especially of those with sick inmates.
Often they were unclean and malodorous. Progress in knowledge



of hygiene, backed by a new sanitary law of 1870, has occasioned
marked improvements. This law gave to provincial authorities
power and responsibility with reference to hygienic conditions in all
such institutions within their territories. The organization has been
slower to improve and there are still institutions of the sort, even
in great cities, where incurables, as the consumptive and the cancer-
ous, sufferers from disgusting ailments, epileptics, the aged, crippled
children, idiots, cretins, the deaf and dumb, blind, and wrecks of
alcoholism are congregated without individualization or classifica-
tion. By far the largest number of such poorhouses are supported
by municipalities, many are maintained by endowments, more than
a score are district institutions (system of Lower Austria) and half
as many provincial, while three are supported by societies. The total
number is 1,486. The number of inmates in 1895 was 43,055. In
1870 there were 114 inmates in such institutions to each 100,000 of
the population in Austria; in 1880, 156; and in 1890, 179. As to
their administration they are of three classes: (a) Those which
furnish to their inmates entire living, either in natura or by allowances
of over 15 kr. a day per head in cash. This is by far the largest
class and in different institutions of this class the expense per day
per head varies from 22 to 89 kr,, and the average is 44 kr. (b)
Those which furnish lodging and less than 15 kr. per day. (c) Those
which furnish lodging only, relatively few, numbering probably be-
tween 190 and 200 in all Austria. In the country districts there is
pitiful lack of care for the disabled poor. The bidding off of paupers
to those who will support them at the lowest rate tends to the most
wretched results. Many of the poor end their days in barns and out-
houses, subsisting on refuse and covering their nakedness with rags.
The aged and utterly broken down, after lives spent in hard and
honest toil are reduced to a state from which death is a deliverance ;
and younger persons suffering from incurable diseases are in a
plight no less pitiable. Proper institutional care for such persons in
country districts is possible only when large districts or whole prov-
inces unite in the support of infirmaries. Certain provinces have a
regulation that the provincial board can compel the incurable to enter
provincial institutions against the will of the individuals and without
the request of the municipalities concerned, when it is recognized that
a municipality is not in a position to furnish shelter and care com-
patible with the demands of humanity.


In discussing the crying need of better organization and classifi-
cation Inspector Gerenyi recognized six classes now existing in the
Austrian poorhouses or infirmaries. First are the mentally defective
but not dangerous. These would be far better off in the departments
for incurables or labor colonies connected with hospitals for the in-
sane. Often there is in them considerable power of useful labor.
Not a few such would be taken home by farmers for a small consid-
eration and, under proper regulations, good results could be expected.
Second are the incurably diseased, for whom there should be special
provincial homes. Third are drunkards and tramps, whose proper
treatment remains to be considered. Fourth are orphans and found-
lings. And according to the author cited these should be brought
up in rural homes. Fifth are the sick and crippled children requiring
special homes, as also do the deaf mutes and the blind. Sixth are the
aged and broken-down, the proper inmates of infirmaries. This class
alone, Inspector Gerenyi thinks, should be left to local care and

Brighter aspects are presented by certain institutions, as the
six municipal "houses of maintenance." The first has a three-story
central structure containing the offices and residences of officials,
and two-story wings in w'hich are wards of 12 beds each, accommo-
dating 540 persons — 240 men and 300 women, with air space of 29^^
cubic meters per head. A second has a front and a rear building,
with wards of 14 to 20 beds, allowing 20 cubic meters air space per
head and accommodating 1,726 persons — 744 men and 982 women. A
third is located about 114 kilometers out of the city, has wards of
15 beds, 20^ cu. m. air space per head and places for 694 — 267 men
and 427 women. A fourth, about 14 kilos, from the city, occupies
an old cloister, and as the location and building are less sanitary
than the others no more beds are allowed than will leave 26 to 35
cu. m. of air space per head. It has 596 places — 285 for men and
311 for women. A fifth is 61 kilos, from the city, allows 15 cu. m.
space per head, and has 330 places — 155 for men and 175 for women.
The sixth has wards for 16 beds, with 20 cu. m. per head and places
for 831 — 313 men and 518 women. The six have places for 4,717 —
2,004 nien and 2,713 women. The buildings cover 37,837 sq. m. and
have yards and gardens 170,465 sq. m. in extent. This plant cost
3,543,000 gulden, and the daily expense per inmate averages 60 krz.

The second institution described is large and in the city itself.


and receives indiscriminately all persons admissible. Here they are
divided into three classes: (i) The aged and broken-down; (2)
idiots, epileptics and incurable; (3) persons requiring strict discipline.
These three classes are kept by themselves by being transferred from
this central institution to others of the six which are set apart for
special classes. Though these institutions are for legal residents of
Vienna, others may be temporarily admitted till provided for by their
home municipalities ; and when there is vacant room non-residents
who pay for their care are sometimes admitted for longer periods.
In the conduct of these institutions the head of the poor department
acts as agent of the magistracy, and the latter is supervised by the
Gemeinderath. Each of the six has a manager with one or more
assistants, one or more house physicians, and a Catholic chaplain,
while a Protestant clergyman holds service for those of his faith on
sacred days. All these officials of an institution are required to
meet monthly to discuss the suggestions of the month's experience
and the requests and complaints of the inmates. The inmates receive
lodging, board or a portion of money, clothing, bed, bedding, wash-
ing, medical treatment and nursing in sickness, and after death a
decent burial. Formerly the inmates were not boarded in commons
but received, every fifth day, a money payment, and connected with
each institution was an eating-house keeper who was under contract
to supply food to the inmates according to a schedule of prices that
made proper living possible with the stipend allowed. When prices
have risen it has been necessary to allow a bounty from the city to the
eating-house keeper. The inmates were not required to buy at the
restaurant attached to the institution, save a few, whose mental ca-
pacity or other special reason gave ground for restriction. Too much
of the allowances went for stimulants, and in 1862 it was decided to
try an experiment at the great infirmary described above (second) ;
only a little money was allowed each inmate for incidentals and they
were boarded in common. The aim was to furnish a healthier diet
without excess of brandy or coffee. It proved impossible to satisfy
the inmates without greatly exceeding the outlay under the former
system. Opposition to the new arrangement caused it to be given
up within a year. After an experiment in 1888 there was a special
tariff for the sick at the official eating-houses. In 1893 the magis-
tracy introduced boarding in commons at all the institutions outside
the city, and two years later the practice was adopted in all the six



infirmaries except the one first described. This one was for persons
of the burgher class and its inmates were allowed their choice between
an allowance of 40 kr. a day and 22 kr. a day with board in commons.
In the other five infirmaries the daily allowance had been 26 kr. and
it was now reduced to 4, and regular meals were furnished three
times a day. The ordinary bill of fare was somewhat modified on
Sundays and holidays, and the sick were fed according to the orders
of physicians. A bar was established in each infirmary, and wine
and beer were sold at cost. Brandy was prohibited. Though the
inmates could not justly complain of the board furnished them, and
although physicians approved of it on sanitary grounds, the free
disposal of their money was so missed that the inmates by agitation
succeeded in having the plan modified after two years. Accordingly,
by the rule of 1887, inmates were given choice between taking full
board in commons, and taking only breakfast and dinner, and re-
ceiving a money allowance for supper. The quantity of bread for
all inmates was cut down from 45 to 30 deka. and by that means the
money allowance of those taking full board was increased from 4 to
5.5 kr. a day, and those who took only breakfast and dinner in com-
mons received 8 kr. a day. A year later the rule was further modi-
fied so that inmates are not required to take any of the board in com-
mons but may receive instead the former allowance of 26 kr. a day
paid in advance every five days. One who takes board and wishes
to take money instead must give 30 days' notice before the change
is made. One who takes money can receive board instead after 5
days' notice. The manager or the physician can refuse the money
option to inmates who are sick or cannot be trusted with money.
Inmates are not required to work but may be employed at a wage.
They are not required to stay in the institution after breakfast is
eaten and the rooms are put in order for the day. The manager may
grant leave of absence for not over 4 weeks. Infraction of house
rules may be punished by reprimand, detention in one's room not over
48 hours, forbidding to leave the institution for not over 4 weeks,
exclusion from paid services, or transference to the fourth house
of maintenance, which is for those who require strict discipline.
Punishments are inflicted upon a majority vote of three officials, the
manager, the physician and one other specified. In each case of pun-
ishment a record is to be kept stating on whom it was inflicted, the
offence and the penalty.


G. Vagrants. — Drunkards and begging parasites find their way
into Austrian almshouses where they form the third of the six classes
of inmates already mentioned, and prove themselves the dread of
the officials, the plague of the physicians, and the terror of the other
inmates. They undermine discipline, prevent arrangements favor-
able to the welfare of others, and in no sense belong in a poorhouse
or infirmary, but require restraint, severe discipline and efforts at re-
form. In seven provinces of Austria there are road stations on the
Wiirttemberg plan, known also in other parts of Germany, Switzer-
land and the Netherlands. The purpose of these stations is to give
lodging to homeless wayfarers, remove the excuse for beggary and
facilitate the search for employment. The purpose is to afiford such
food and lodging as to preserve health and require labor in return,
always making the reward for labor less than that received for equal
exertion at regular employment. The stations are usually 15 kilo-
meters apart. None are received who cannot do the prescribed work,
and usually a passport is required and a certificate showing that the
person has been employed within the last two or three months. At
each station is kept a list of opportunities for employment in the
neighborhood. The system was first put in operation in Lower Aus-
tria, in 1887, and later in Moravia, Styria, Upper Austria, Bohemia,
Silesia and Vorarlberg. The expense is borne by districts, munici-
palities or provinces. In the period 1895-97 there were 814 stations
which reeceived 1,495,983 guests and found positions for 43,125.

In Vienna there is an institution similar, in some respects, to these
road stations, but at the same time very different in that it is intended
not for wayfarers but for legal residents of the city. It is an asylum
and voluntary workhouse for the shelterless. It is open only to per-
sons who are in health and able to labor. They are admitted between
6 and 9 p. m. in summer and 5 and 8 in winter. There is a section
for late comers. Those regularly admitted are at once examined by
a physician and may be sent to a hospital. Persons of both sexes
are accommodated and there is a special section for women having
children. Children under 14, unaccompanied by a relative are re-
ceived, but the next day they are turned over to the magistracy for
appropriate care. Applicants must present certificates of legal resi-
dence in Vienna. A compulsory bath is furnished, and a light supper
and breakfast. The institution has two departments : the asylum and
the workhouse. Persons who come for more than seven nights are



transferred to the workhouse and persons who become shelterless and
have recourse to the asylum a second time within three months are
sent directly to the workhouse, and a person coming for the first time
may be sent there upon decision of the competent authority. One
who declines to go to the asylum for lodging loses claim to any other
kind of municipal aid. Those who come so often as to indicate idle-
ness become subject to the law for the treatment of vagabonds. Per-
sons are admitted to this voluntary workhouse in order to maintain
themselves during a period of lack of employment. All such, as well
as those transferred from the asylum as just described, must perform
a daily minimum of work, Sundays and holidays excepted. Wages
are allowed for work in excess of the required minimum. Work
begins at 6 in summer and 7 in winter. After the day's task is done
there is liberty to go out in search of employment. Special privileges
are allowed the best behaved in beginning early the search for work.
Clothing is loaned to some while their own is being washed, but they

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 11 of 73)