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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visits, or to smoke, etc. A threat of discharge is sometimes used.
In the poorhouses more severe penalties are employed, removal of
privileges, isolation, harder bed, discharge, etc. In workhouses
the discipline is very similar to that of a prison. Dr. Buehl thinks
that the penalty of discharge is inconsistent with the poor law, since
this law makes relief a duty, and permits disciplinary measures, but
does not provide outdoor relief for persons who need rigid control.
The indoor pauper, therefore, should be kept under discipline but not
sent out to beg or steal.

Modern chemistry and physiology have discovered the minimum
quantity of protein, fat and carbohydrates necessary to health, and
most of the poorhouses of Germany have dietaries established by
the boards. This important matter is not left to the caprice or
ignorance of the cook or the director. The diet must also be adapted
to the needs of the stronger inmates and of the aged, sick and insane,
and in special cases the advice of the physician must decide.

The custom is" to permit paupers to wear their own clothing, so
long as it lasts ; but those confined in workhouses are frequently
required to wear a uniform, which serves to remind them that they are
under punishment. So far as possible, the paupers are required to
work, and agricultural occupations are preferred. Out of 150 insti-
tutions where other than house work was carried on, there were 78
which employed their inmates with some kind of agricultural labor.
Owing to the long winter? it has been found necessary to introduce
other industries.



The poor authorities sometimes make contracts with private
institutions for the care of the paupers. Many of the inmates of the
thirty Workmen's Colonies are thus sent by the rehef agencies, and
their cost met by the public funds.^

G. Vagrancy. — The highest authorities recognize the necessity
for systematic rehef of the wandering citizen. Wherever a German
may travel he is still possessed of the right to relief when he requires
help to maintain existence. This class has many different elements.
Some are able to work but unwilling, others are unable to work even
if they are willing, and it is not always easy to distinguish them in
a throng of applicants. Statistics of the unemployed are kept by
bureaus of employment, by trades unions, by the cheap inns and
stations for help, the workmen's colonies, the emigrant offices, the
correctional houses for tramps, and from these sources we learn that
the number of wanderers who require assistance regularly rises and
falls with the demands of the labor market, foreign emigration and
convictions for vagabondage and mendicancy. In the times of crisis
and depression (1873-1879, 1892-3, 1900-1) the number of vagrants
increased. "Objective" causes account in great part for the annual
rise of the demand for help, as seasonal employments, changes of
weather, gluts in certain industries, neglect of training, sudden in-
crease of population. Even those causes which are rooted in per-
sonal defects are connected with external conditions, as indolence
with vicious education, premature labor of children, drinking cus-
toms, etc.^ It is, therefore, unfair to say that any man who really

* The National Society in 1903 arrived at these conclusions: (i) Indoor
relief is in general to be preferred only when there is a special need of com-
pulsory labor or supervision, or when the physical or mental condition of the
poor requires an intensive oversight or care, such as can be secured only in
an institution. (2) Since the necessary institutions can be erected and main-
tained only by bodies financially able to meet the cost, therefore, when there
is not already adequate provision, it is advisable to unite several poor law
unions for the purpose, as is done in Saxony. (3) Individualization should be
sought in indoor relief. Aged couples of good repute should not be separated.
(4) Suitable employment for all inmates capable of labor is to be recommended
on personal, moral and financial grounds ; for those who are strong enough agri-
cultural and garden work is recommended." '

^ Zeitschrift fiir das Armenwesen, October, 1903, p. 299, from Schriften des
D. V. f. A. u. W., 1903. Cf. Heft 65, S. d. D. V. etc., "Die geschlossene Armen-
pflege," by Dr. Buehl and Dr. Eschle.

^ See remarks of Pastor Morchen in Heft 57, Schriften d. D. V. f. A. u. W., p. 97.



desires to labor can find it at any time or place. There must, indeed,
be a systematic and rational method of detecting and correcting true
vagabonds, but nothing is gained by treating all wandering men as
criminals, at least presumably, without first putting forth all possible
efforts to distinguish those who are really willing to work. The
German system of stations of help, cheap inns and workmen's colo-
nies is a contribution to the world's best experience in this field of
philanthropy. Their own administrators reveal defects and criticism
is open and distinct ; but such criticism is itself an evidence of inter-
est and earnest purpose.

Lodging Houses (Hcrberge znr Heimath). — These establish-
ments are largely supported by branches of the Inner Mission and
are conducted in a religious spirit. They are inns where the wan-
derer may have lodging and meals at a low rate without temptation
to use strong drink and where he will not be exposed to the arts of
unscrupulous landlords. They are frequently utilized by the poor
authorities and benevolent societies as shelters for destitute strangers.
There is a central organization of these inns. In all there were in
1895, 439 inns, which furnished 3,7cx),ooo lodgings, 2,470,000 paying
guests, 700,000 guests from the stations, and 500,000 persons who
took meals. ^

Workmen's Colonies (Arbeiterkolonien) . — The life of wanderers
often brings them to sickness and unfitness for labor, and the colo-
nies were established to furnish a shelter and means of recuperation
to fit the guests for regular industry. While the stations for help
receive the wanderers only for a brief stay, the colonies permit them
to remain weeks or months. In 1896-7 there were twenty-seven
colonies in Germany, with a capacity for 3,000 persons. In winter
all the places are occupied, while in summer about half are vacant.

^ As an illustration of care for homeless men in Berlin we cite the report
of the "Warming Halls" for 1902. Various large halls were kept open and
warmed ; food without stimulants was sold at low prices from December 6,
1 90 1, to March 6, 1902, daily from 7 a. m. to 6 p. m. Tailors and cobblers
mended clothes and shoes. 16,231 cups of coffee were sold at 4 pf. a cup; 6,242
cups of milk at 4 pf. ; 30,039 fragments of food at 2-4 pf. ; 22,695 pieces of toast
at 2-4 pf. ; 62,225 portions of soup at 5 pf. The total outlay was 5,700 marks.
The number present varied from 152 in mild weather to 1,009 o" cold days.

The Society for the Aid of the Unemployed sustained (1901-2) three "Frag-
ment Kitchens" (Schrippenkiichen), which collected and fed 32,184 shelterless
men en 32 Sundays. See Zeit. f. d. Armenwescn, January, 1903, p. 31.


The Colony for Workmen in Berlin has a peculiar problem owing
to its situation in the largest city. Various experiments have been
made here in selecting suitable employment for the kind of men who
resort to the house. At one time they tried to cultivate silk worms,
but without success. It has been found that work must be such as
any sound man can do without special training; it must be work
which cannot be done better and at lower price by machinery ; the
product must be easily marketed at low price with a slight profit ; the
raw materials must not be expensive because the capital is small and
the men waste a good deal. The "colonists" change often, are fre-
quently defective in body and mind, and are not as a class, reliable.
Hitherto, the industries which come nearest to meeting the conditions
are making straw wrappers for packing bottles, broom and brush
making, cabinet work, preparing kindling (in winter). Outside
labor, — as forest work, removal of snow and sand, — is regarded as a
"necessary evil," because the colonist is thereby removed from the
control and influence of the institution. Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen,
July, 1903, p. 213.

Employment Bureaus and Agencies. — While the agencies of
relief have daily occasion to direct their poor to the places where they
may find employment, this method of promoting dependence is not
and should not be made a part of poor-relief administration.

Workhouses and Correctional Institutions. — Indoor relief in Ger-
many is chiefly confined to able-bodied persons. In this country
various methods have been tried and poorhouses have been used both
for the care of the helpless and the test and control of the sturdy
beggar. Wherever these classes are mingled the result has been
deplorable ; the innocent child, the helpless old people, the dangerous
insane, the disgusting idiot, the depraved criminal, have been heaped
together in one mass. Of late the tendency in the well organized
districts has been to confine the work test to establishments for
persons capable of self-supporting labor, and others are assisted
either by outdoor relief or in special institutions adapted to their
particular needs. The principle now most generally accepted is that
those shall be placed in correctional establishments who have im-
properly sought to live by charity, or, if destitute, have gone about
begging and tramping without making their appeal to the regular
offices of relief.

The German penal code (Sees. 361 and 362) provides that vaga-


bonds, beggars, persons who require those dependent on them to beg,
persons who so indulge in indolence, gambling or drinking that they
or their families must resort to charity, persons who receive relief and
refuse offered labor which they could perform, and those who wil-
fully neglect to provide shelter for themselves, may be incarcerated
or fined, and, in addition, required to work either in or outside a
workhouse ; always separated from free laborers. The institutions
in which this compulsory labor is performed are distinguished from
prisons and penitentiaries and are called workhouses or correctional
institutions. There are, therefore, three kinds of institutions for
persons able to work and presumably in need : poorhouses in the
proper sense, workhouses administered by the poor-relief authorities,
and the correctional institutions managed by prison authorities.
One hears the complaint from representatives of a humane policy
that too frequently poor persons are placed in correctional establish-
ments along with depraved criminals who should have been assisted
at home or have been sent to an asylum for defectives or the helpless
aged. In many localities the poor will endure extreme suffering
before they will consent to enter a shelter which is closely connected
with a prison. On the other hand, able-bodied mendicants are some-
times placed in institutions designed for the feeble, and share the
treatment of invalids, although they should be placed under the con-
trol of officers who require steady and hard labor.

It has been found difficult to provide occupation for those capable
of work without competing with free workmen. The household
affords much occupation for the women, but it is more difficult to
keep the men busy.

Stations for Help {NaturalverpUegungsstationen) are places
where destitute travellers secure the immediate necessities of exist-
ence, as food and lodging, on condition that they perform a desig-
nated task of work. The guest is required to move on in search of
employment as soon as possible. Therefore, it is necessary that the
stations be connected in a system and that the network covers a wide
region, with the stations not further than a day's walk distant from
each other. The route is prescribed and the certificates are sent
forward from one place to the next. In 1895 there were in Prussia
744 stations in 342 districts. The numbers fluctuate greatly, with a
tendency to diminish. There are local unions all federated in a
national society. There were in Bavaria, in 1900, 559 Verpflegungs-



stationen, of which only lOO required work in return for rehef ; yet
the desirability of a work test is generally conceded in that state.

Societies to Prevent Mendicancy (die Antibettelvercine) . — In
Berlin, Dresden, Dortmund, Hanover, Breslau and other cities exist
societies of various names whose aim is to repress begging. In
Elberfeld the woman's society acts as a society to prevent begging at
the door. Not merely do these associations seek to furnish the
means of investigation and testing, but they agree to supply what is
really needed, so that there shall be no excuse for begging or for
thoughtless almsgiving. A small shield on the door notifies the
mendicant to go to the office and not disturb the family. Part of the
equipment is, sometimes, as in Dresden, a workplace where tramps
may be tested.

Urban Shelters (Asyle fiir Obdachlose). — In some of the cities
there are shelters for the homeless, some of them connected with the
municipal workhouses or stations of help, and others which do not
require any work test. The decided tendency of expert opinion is
to condemn those shelters which receive all who come, give them
lodging, bath, disinfection and food, and require no registration and
no labor in return for aid. It is believed by the representatives of
the national society of charity that this policy makes any thorough
and individual treatment impossible and tends to deprave the tramp
still further. The wanderer is apt to take the money which he
should use to pay for his bed to buy drink. He is induced to
think that it is easy to procure the necessities of existence without
personal effort and without responsibility. Unless careful investi-
gation is made at the first application for assistance one can easily
predict a life career of vagabondage and crime. It is believed to be
highly desirable to have a good understanding between all the
agencies of sheltering charity, so that each man shall be sent to the
place where there is the highest probability of his being rescued from
his course of mendicancy, corrected of his fault, and set upon his own
feet as a self-respecting man.

Emergency Relief for the Unemployed. — This subject was dis-
cussed very fully by the German National Conference^ in 1902. Two
resolutions were unanimously accepted: (i) A distinction should be
made between emergency work (Notstandsarbeiten) in the proper
sense, and the reservation of needed public work for a season when

* Schrif ten d. D. Vereins fur Armenpflege, etc., 1902, Heft 58 and 62.



much ordinary industry is suspended. The latter measure should
be v:sed only to prevent unemployment ; the former to give relief to
those actually unemployed. (2) Neither of these measures belongs
to poor-relief. Both require a more methodical preparation and
management than they have heretofore had, and in particular dis-
tricts they should be administered according to common principles,
so far as possible. A third resolution received a majority vote, but
it was strongly opposed in the conference and cannot be said as yet
to express the settled conviction of the representatives of German
charity, chiefly because they do not yet see a way to carry it out. The
vote stood 50 in the affirmative and 47 in the negative on the proposi-
tion : "For satisfactory dealing with unemployment, along with the
measures already cited, others are desirable, and in the first place
insurance against unemployment."
H. Medical Relief.

In no department of charitable effort has there been more progress
than in this field. Kindness to the helpless sick was never so well
equipped with the resources of science as during the late century.
The insane are no longer treated as possessed with evil spirits. The
war upon tuberculosis is carried on with a wisdom and energy for
which past ages present no parallel. Sanitaria for convalescents are
recent inventions.

Influence of Workingmen's Insurance. — Dr. E. Munsterberg^
calls attention to the effects of insurance against accident, sickness
and invalidism in preventing illness, as well as in securing medical
attendance and care without a degrading appeal for charitable help.
Of the system itself we shall speak later, but of the tendency to induce
and require employers and local governments to introduce sanitary
reforms it is proper to make mention here. In order to reduce the
cost of insurance of wage workers and to increase the efficiency of
the workmen many improvements have been promoted ; and charity
itself has been spurred to increased use of methods to prevent dis-
ease. Employers guard machinery ; cities forbid the occupation of
unwholesome dwellings ; boards of health are more active in sup-
pressing the causes of sickness. Everywhere the rate of morbidity
and mortality is diminishing, and thus one of the greatest causes of
pauperism is reduced. Thus both the direct and the indirect influ-
ence is wholesome.

^ Die Armenpflege, p. 149 ff.



Hospitals. — Of recent years, 914,175 patients on the average are
cared for annually in the general hospitals of Germany, and scarcely
20 per cent, of these are provided for by private charity. Convales-
cents are more generally cared for by private means. The best pro-
visions seem to be made in Hamburg, Bremen and Westphalia.

It was decided by the Federal Council of Home Affairs in 1902
that medical relief in a sanatorium or hospital is obligatory on the
local authorities when such relief is not only desirable, but also useful
or necessary ; so that recovery or at least improvement of condition
may be furthered or dangerous increase of the complaint prevented.
Medical men may advise that a patient be sent to the country in case
of lung trouble or other weakness. When the local authorities grant
such relief to a non-resident, they may recover costs from the place of
legal settlement, if the person cannot pay. When there is income
from sick insurance benefits the poor authorities at Charlottenberg
made it a rule to pay one-third of the costs and receive two-thirds
from the insurance funds.^

Outdoor Medical Relief. — In connection with outdoor relief spe-
cial physicians are ordinarily appointed to administer to the needs of
the destitute. In the larger cities these officers are placed under
legal regulations. They must have office hours to receive the pauper
sick, must visit in homes when necessary, and in urgent cases are
required to render immediate help. Their pay for these services
ranges, according to the size of the town, from 300 to 1,000 marks.
In some places the poor can choose the physician who is called to at-
tend them, and he is paid by the officer of relief according to a contract
rate. One advantage of this method is that the physician thus freely
selected by the poor family enjoys their confidence, and this plan is
frequently preferred. But on the administrative side there are
serious difficulties ; the fixing of the rate of compensation is not an
easy matter, and the supervision of the work of so many physicians
is full of snarls. The situation for the physicians is complicated by
the severe competition for positions as medical advisers for the
various sickness insurance associations. In many places the fees are
miserably small. Were it not for the generous spirit which marks
the medical profession, the poor would suffer far more than they do.

Expert opinion favors a reasonable compensation for the service
of the poor in order to remove temptation to slight them for private

^Zeitschrift fiir das Armenwesen, April, 1903, p. 113.


practice. In the country districts medical service is very inferior,
owing to the scarcity of physicians and of hospitals. The Patriotic
Women's Society has earned deserved praise for promoting medical
relief in rural neighborhoods.

Physicians for the Poor} — The conditions in Germany have com-
pelled attention to the question whether physicians serving poor-relief
authorities should be treated as public officials, with the consequent
rights of permanency in office, pensions, etc. Generally young phy-
sicians, with small practice, are appointed for short terms of few
years, to give them a chance to gain skill and earn a living while
their private practice is small. Usually there is not enough business
to keep a physician busy his whole time and so yield him support.
The salaries and fees of physicians to the poor vary greatly, between
200 marks and 1600 marks annually, according to the service required
and the locality. Specialists, as for the eye or ear, are employed by
contracts. The consultations are held either in public offices or in
the office or home of the physician.

Should the poor have a choice among physicians? It is granted
that they would receive more benefit from one in whom they have con-
fidence. But there are grave practical difficulties. The physician to
the poor is a confidential agent and adviser of the authorities and
visitors, and it is difficult to bring the actions of a large number of
physicians within legal requirements. It is also difficult to agree
upon uniform rates of compensation. For these reasons the right
to select a physician is rarely accorded the family. Private charity
has provided many dispensaries for the examination and treatment of
persons who can leave their houses, and with good results.

First Aid to the Sick and Injured, and Emergency Relief. — Any
citizen, whether rich or poor, is liable at any moment to need the help
of nurse, guard or physician in case of fall, sunstroke, rupture of
artery or other unforeseen occasion of illness or helplessness. To
meet these needs many societies have been formed similar to those in
other countries ; and stations are established where a surgeon may be
found or summoned quickly, and where bandages and other appli-
ances are kept in readiness. The city administration, in connection

*Munsterberg und Stern, 48, Heft, der Schriften des Deutschen Vereins fur
Armenpflege u. Wohlthatigkeit. — Zeit. f. d. Armenwesens, May, 1903, p. 129 flf.

Moritz Fijrst, Stellung und Aufgaben des Arztes in der offentlichen Armen-
pflege, S. 278, Jena, G. Fischer, 1903.


with the fire or poHce department, sometimes provides for emergen-
cies. Naturally these arrangements are specially helpful to the poor
and the stranger in sudden misfortune, and the name of charity is not
misapplied in this connection. In 1896 there were 28 "Samaritan
Societies" in German cities ; and in 253 cities there was some kind of
preparation for help in case of accidents.

Medicines and Appliances. — It is customary for poor authorities
to furnish milk, wine, beef extract, etc., for the sick poor on prescrip-
tion of a physician ; and contracts are made with druggists for fur-
nishing such articles. Sometimes mechanical appliances, as spec-
tacles, bandages for hernia, and artificial limbs, are supplied on the
advice of the physician ; when the appliances are expensive the poor
officials must know and give orders in advance of purchase. Baths
have also been provided by the relief officers, — a measure which is
due in great part to the insurance laws. Here and there are en-
dowed charities which supply money to send invalids to healing
springs, as to Ems, Gastein, Carlsbad, Teplitz, Elster, etc. The
Israelites furnish a sanitarium for their needy coreligionists at Soden.
But the number of such endowments is too small to meet the need,
although they are very proper forms of private benevolence. In
Prussia the government railroads, on the recommendation of the
administration for the poor, grant transportation to healing baths at
reduced rates.

Disinfection of bedding, clothing, and furniture is performed by
the city administration usually without charge to the poor. If prop-
erty must be destroyed as a sanitary measure the city pays an equiva-
lent. Great care is taken to disinfect lodging houses, shelters, sta-
tions, hospitals, and to insure cleanliness of bodies and clothing in
such places.

Appliances for Use in Nursing the Sick. — From Zurich, in Switz-
erland, has extended into Baden a movement to supply such articles
as are required in the sick room of poor families, as ice bags, ther-
mometers, rolling chairs, bath tubs, etc. Usually the poor suflfer

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 6 of 73)