alternate approaches with homeless people; Key West’s One Human Family facade exposed once again in this year’s mayor’s race

homeless census

Monroe County mostly is the Florida Keys

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Frisbee Dave 3

my homeless friend and colorful Key West homeless man Frisbee Dave

Dave and Jackie

Dave with mainland friend Jacqueline Bush-Holcomb down for a visit this past spring; try as she, Curtis Seltzer (next below) and others might, offering financial and other help, Dave was not inclined to change his lifestyle; he said to me, he has few worries and pressing matters, they have many

Curtis Seltzer

Curtis Seltzer, above, childhood friend of Dave, wrote to me yesterday:

NPR story this a.m. Possible use of Medicaid funds to build housing for homeless. Called The Brook in NYC. Question as to whether health funds can be used for cap. Investment. c.

I replied:

Hard to imagine legal way to use Medicaid for free or subsidized housing for anyone, but perhaps there’s a loophole. Building housing for homeless people is being tried elsewhere: Utah, started it, I think. A few other places. Miami did it, then ran out of money and still moans about its homeless situation. Free or subsidized housing will help new homeless people get back into mainstream, if they have jobs. Putting any homeless people who are active addicts into free or subsidized housing won’t go anywhere. I would require clean urine going into a free or subsidized living unit, and then I would try to do random urine screens and have in the “lease”, if a urine screen is flunked, then that’s ground for automatic eviction. I’m hearing a lot of talk down here about so many homeless people being mentally ill and they need to get back on their meds. Don’t see how to enforce that, either, and if they are active addicts, first trying to get them back on their meds is assbackwards and not likely to get hoped for results, whatever hoped for results are.

Leo Bashinsky

Oldest first Bashinsky cousin Leo, above, sent yesterday:

New York Debates Whether Housing Counts As Health Care
Offering a homeless person an apartment with access to a doctor and social services may be cheaper than paying for emergency room visits and jail or shelter stays. But should Medicaid help with rent?

from WNYC

Lissette Encarnacion in her apartment at The Brook, a supportive housing complex in the New York City borough of the Bronx.

Lissette Encarnacion in her apartment at The Brook, a supportive housing complex in the New York City borough of the Bronx.

Natalie Fertig/WNYC

Standing outside her sixth-floor apartment in the Bronx, Lissette Encarnacion says she sometimes forgets the place belongs to her.

“I’m thinking I’m at somebody else’s [house],” she says. “I’m ringing my own doorbell.”

Encarnacion used to have a career in banking, and lived in a real home with her son and husband. Then one night everything changed, she says, when her husband came home drunk and angry, and threw her off a balcony.

“He came home, pulled me from the hair, and just started beating the hell out of me,” she says. She was seven months pregnant with her second child, a boy.

Encarnacion suffered traumatic brain injury and was never the same. She and her sons moved in with her sister, but Encarnacion often wandered off.

Eventually she became homeless, she tells NPR affiliate WNYC, and remained that way for a decade. She suffered from epileptic seizures, and was frequently picked up by paramedics and taken to emergency rooms.

Then two years ago, she moved into The Brook, an apartment complex that provides supportive housing to its residents — more than half of whom are formerly homeless.

Now Encarnacion lives in a studio apartment, which she has decorated with stuffed animals and Christmas lights. And though the place is small, she likes to think of it as her “penthouse” apartment.

Brenda Rosen, the director of Common Ground, the organization that manages the building, says The Brook offers a full range of services to keep its residents healthy: social workers, security, a doctor and even an event planner.

And while these services don’t come without a cost — an apartment at The Brook runs at about $24,000 a year — Rosen says they are cheaper than the estimated $56,000 per year that the city spends on the emergency room visits and stays at shelters and jails, where many people with severe mental illness end up.

“You know, we as a society are paying for somebody to be on the streets,” says Rosen.

Few people would dispute that Lissette Encarnacion is better off in her studio apartment than she was when she was living under the bridge. And it’s far cheaper if she has a doctor downstairs than if she has to show up regularly in the ER.

The question is, who pays for this kind of housing?

New York now has about 47,000 supportive housing units, and the state intends to invest $260 million Medicaid dollars over the next two years. But the federal government won’t match it.

At the crux of this debate is the question of whether housing qualifies as health care.

This past December, the outgoing New York State commissioner of health argued in an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that housing is health care. Providing housing to the chronically homeless saves health care money, he argues, so Medicaid should help pay capital costs.

New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson went further, arguing that federal Medicaid money already pays for housing, through long stays in nursing homes and hospitals.

But Bruce Vladeck, who formerly administered Medicaid and Medicare in the Clinton administration, says federal Medicaid dollars can’t and shouldn’t be used to pay for housing — it’s not cost-effective.

“Medicaid is supposed to be health insurance, and not every problem somebody has is a health care problem,” says Vladeck.

Instead, Vladeck argues that housing programs should be paid by housing agencies.

“As a society, both in the private sector and the public sector, we are really cheap and niggling and resentful about paying for social services, and we are much more generous when it comes to paying for health services,” he says.

At the moment there is not enough housing money to go around for all the people who need it — people like Encarnacion, who are done living on the streets but still need support. For her, The Brook offers a place in between.

“I stuck it out, and it’s good,” she says. “And God’s been real good to me. And the people that work here have been very good to me — and patient, because I am not easy. I am not easy.”

Reader comments below the article are interesting, and there are links to related articles in the article; here again is the link to the article:

Read this story  

I replied to Leo:

Thanks for sending this, a person up in Yankeeland wrote to me about it this morning but didn’t send a link. I might use my reply to him and what you sent in tomorrow’s column. Key West could put a lot of public rental housing on Truman Waterfront, but I would use it for poor working stiffs who can’t pay Key West high rents and for new homeless people also unable to pay high rents, who are working, before I’d use it to get street people off the streets. I’d leave street people alone, who are not seriously misbehaving. Those who are seriously misbehaving, I would put with other serious misbehavers – in jail. Key West has private non-profit residential turn-around programs for street people and other homeless people, who are willing to be sober and go through the program steps and discipline. Most street people I have known don’t want  to be sober or to go through the programs. You can’t make them change. So, put main focus on the poor working stiffs and working new homeless, before they become street people.

Leo also sent yesterday:

Handmade Signs From Homeless People Lead To Art, Understanding
Artist Willie Baronet is on a 24-city, 31-day trek across the country this month, buying handmade signs from homeless people. He says the project has changed the way he views homelessness.
Artist Willie Baronet has been collecting signs from the homeless since 1993.

Artist Willie Baronet has been collecting signs from the homeless since 1993.

Tanya Conovaloff

Artist Willie Baronet is on a 24-city, 31-day trek from Seattle, Wash. to New York City looking for supplies.

He’s been buying handmade signs from homeless people for an art project called We Are All Homeless. Those signs are little more than a peripheral blur for many people. Baronet wants us to slow down, read them and understand.

“It really started because of my discomfort, my guilt, the way I felt, whenever I encountered a homeless person on the corner,” he tells NPR’s Eric Westervelt.

One of the signs purchased during his cross country trip.

Ted Mase

He has been purchasing and collecting homeless signs since 1993 and has incorporated them into artwork over the years. This is his first trip across the country. Baronet says he makes every attempt for them to set the price. The average price he has paid for a sign is $12, but he has paid as little as $4 and as much as $40.

Throughout his latest trip, there have been several memorable individuals. One was a veteran named Michael who lost one of his legs to diabetes. “He talked about his struggles trying to get help with the VA,” Baronet says. “At the end I asked if I could take a photo with him … he just pulled me really close, our faces were touching. I just felt a powerful connection with him.”

Baronet has come across some funny signs during his trip. One that read, “Family attacked by ninjas, need help getting karate lessons.” He noticed that Detroit was the only city on his trip where none of the signs he came across where humorous.

Baronet thinks there are some cities that have dealt with homelessness better than others. “There are cities that I think in their struggles with what to do about the homeless try to legislate them away and I just don’t think that’s possible, ” he says. Laws in different cities affect things like where homeless can panhandle within a certain distance in an intersection and where they can sit on the streets.

“It’s not us and them. It’s just us,” he says. “I used to think they were different than I am and I think a lot of us are just one or two bad decisions from being in the same place.”

Reader comments to this article also are interesting, here again is the link to the article:

Read this story

I replied to Leo:

Oh. WOW!!! Yeah, this and the other one should work nicely in tomorrow’s column, balance out something else seriously related but not nearly as nice. I’ve had this pic in my homeless photo gallery cache for some time.

homeless enterprise

And these.

homeless terroristhomeless readerhomeless comedianhomeless cry for helphomeless eating addictionhomeless soup kitchenhomeless starving artisthomeless apprenensionhomeless at kioskHomeless Santahomeless internet hackerhomeless Rivera

homeless vethomeless car childhomeless sleepinghomeless vet 2homeless man with his Biblehomeless shamanhomeless bustJesus with leperhomeless dog

Jesus homeless


Moving laterally …

mud dog

“Mud Dawg” Mike Tolbert, former co-owner of Daddy Bones BBQ on North Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, out of business after succumbing to endless road construction on that street, now nighttime staff worker at KOTS, the city’s overnight homeless shelter, wrote yesterday:

Like I said Before [Mayor] Cates’ daughter was sued by that family! Oh boo hoo I didn’t mention the CO defendant in the case! Point is Nobody should have to sue for burial and medical if you run them down and are the one at fault. You should offer Long before it gets to court to do the right thing! Guess I was raised different than mayor cates raised his kids!

Original article detailing lawsuit against cates’ daughter.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Gwen Filosa” <>
Date: Jul 28, 2014 10:36 AM
Subject: RE: Old article
To: “Mud Dawg” <>

Okay, this is the 2010 article. I’ll spot you this article.

Charity, mayor’s daughter sued – 08/18/2010

A Key West nonprofit and the mayor’s daughter who works there are being sued by the brother of a homeless man who died after she hit him with her car on North Roosevelt Boulevard in March.

Wesley House Family Services and Nicole Cates-Canalejo are named in Kenneth St. John’s lawsuit, which seeks more than $15,000 for his 55-year-old brother’s funeral and medical costs, but no punitive damages, said attorney Rick Ellsley of Plantation. William St. John was on life support for four days at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

Cates-Canalejo struck him as she pulled out of Checkers in the 2500 block of the boulevard.

She was “careless, reckless, failed to exercise reasonable care for pedestrians, failed to keep a proper lookout and operated the vehicle in an unsafe speed,” according to the lawsuit expected to be filed today.

Key West police cited her for failing to yield to a pedestrian when leaving an alley or driveway and entering a roadway. She must appear in court on the criminal charge and could face a maximum $1,000 fine.

She was working for Wesley House at the time, which is why Wellsley including the nonprofit and its two parent affiliates, the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church board of trustees, as defendants.

Cates-Canalejo was “traumatized” by the wreck, said her attorney, Richard Hersch of Miami.

“This was a horrific, terrible accident and in the 30 years I’ve been practicing law I’ve never had a client so emotionally disturbed,” Hersch said of the 34-year-old daughter of Key West Mayor Craig Cates. “She is devastated.”

Hersch declined to comment further on the case.

“The St. John family recognizes that they have not been the only ones suffering as a result of this tragedy and would like to express their sincere hope that taking this step will move the matter to an early resolution and provide closure for everyone involved,” Ellsley said in a prepared statement.

The civil suit, which Ellsley mailed to the Monroe County circuit court on Tuesday, has not been scheduled for trial. County Judge William Ptomey is to hear the criminal case in Plantation Key, but a date has not been scheduled.

County Judge Ruth Becker recused herself on July 28, but did not give a reason why, Hersch said.

Mike’s email and the Citizen article were in response to my having written to Mike, and published at, that Mayor Craig Cates had told me at the Chamber of Commerce mayor candidates forum last week, that the lawsuit had been filed against Westinghouse (which turned out to be my hearing problem), for whom his daughter worked when she ran over and killed a homeless man near Daddy Bones in late 2009. I had previously published that Mike had told me Mayor Cates had refused to pay the dead homeless man’s burial expenses, and the dead man’s family then had sued to collect those expenses.

I replied:

I had thought Craig had said his daughter was working for Westinghouse.

I agree, the claim should have been paid, instead of forcing litigation. I imagine Wesley House and Craig’s daughter were insured. Maybe the insurance carriers played hardball, it was only a homeless man who got killed? Maybe it was Wesley House and Craig’s daughter, perhaps encouraged by her parents, who played hardball, it was only a homeless man?

Given Wesley House’s Methodist Board and the dead homeless man’s last name, St. John, and given the homeless man Jesus said in the Gospels, if you get sued, settle with your adversary on the way to court, less the judge find you guilty and put you in jail, and given Jesus also said in the Gospels, as you do the least of these, you do also to me, I wonder why Wesley House’s Board didn’t insist St. John’s burial expenses be paid forthwith by their insurance carrier, failing which, Wesley House’s Board paid the burial expenses in keeping with Jesus’ advice? Same perspective also might to Mayor Cates’ daughter and the Cates family.

I remember Craig told me when I called him about the accident, after reading about in in the Citizen, that his daughter was all torn up emotionally, and their family was all torn up. I offered to speak with his daughter, to try to help her through it. I thought it was the homeless man’s fault. Craig thanked me, said he would get back to me. Later, he thanked me again, but they were going to deal with it in their family.

If I had been included, I would have advised paying for the dead man’s funeral expenses, even if it wasn’t her fault. Her emotional trauma could only be worsened by going the way it reads in what you sent about how the case ended up going.

I continue to believe that unfortunate event deeply affected Craig with respect to homeless people, and his family also.

Not long before the accident, Craig had asked me to be on his Mayor’s Homeless Advisory Committee, and, as I have published a number of times, I never heard from him again about it. Even later, Craig told me that he didn’t want me participating in a Mayor’s homeless tour around town, which made Citizen headlines and is how I found out about it and called Craig and said I would be there, and he tried to talk me out of it.

After observing how Craig was trying to deal with Key West’s homeless situation: bringing in Bob Marbut from Texas; talking about building a 24-hour transformational homeless shelter at the Easter Seals property on Stock Island; telling me his police were not harassing and arresting homeless people for sleeping outside at night when KOTS was full, and I said he knew his police were doing that and not to insult himself, and he said, well, only when homeless people sleep where they aren’t supposed to sleep, and I asked him to tell me where they can sleep when KOTS is full, so I can tell them?, and he said nothing, I decided Craig was too mixed up about homeless people to be involved in deciding their fate in the city, and he should recuse himself from any homeless matters facing the city. I published all of that a few times.

Tomorrow night, as fate (angels) arranged, is the mayor’s candidate forum at the golf course club house, which Craig declined, citing “previous engagements”, according to the golf course community association hosting the forum. When I published that maybe Craig ducked that forum because he was not going to be popular there, after trying to put his new homeless shelter right next to the golf course, Todd German, who had told me he had told Craig to stop talking about homeless stuff, it was costing him political capital, called me and said I probably was dead on for why Craig had declined that forum. Todd said Craig knew he was not liked out there it was understandable he did not want to participate in that forum. I said I didn’t agree with that; Craig should participate whether he was liked or not, and that it was childish for him to not be there, he should not even be mayor, if that was his reason for not being there.

I have heard Craig say before that he does not go where he is not liked. He told me he was not going to your working man’s BBQ party at Daddy Bones, because of how you felt about him. One Human Family is easy to promote, not so easy to live. When asked during the Pirate Radio mayor’s debate last Friday, if I were mayor, what goals would I have for Key West over the next three years?, I think I got to answer that first, I said I would hope to see Key West actually become the only city of One Human Family on this world, but right now One Human Family is only a facade in Key West.

I suppose that was yet another of my “unbalanced” moments Mark Ryno picked up on during the debate, as reported in today’s post at My sense on the air, when I said that, it unbalanced Craig, Todd German and Jack Smith. I wasn’t looking to my left at Margaret Romero. Craig spoke next. He wandered. Talked about not everyone wanting to all get all along.

When I first met Craig and Cheryl at the 2008 Yacht Club Thanksgiving Day cook out, I was there as Todd’s guest, Craig already had announced he was running for mayor the next year. I knew I would run, too, but had not told anyone yet. I asked Craig, what was his goal for Key West, if he was elected? He said he hoped we could all just get along. I said he might find that hard to achieve.

Wasn’t Thanksgiving Day 2013 the day suspected homeless man Charles Eimers learned One Human Family was a facade in Key West?

Darn, I wish that Pirate Radio debate had been recorded.

I told the golf course association that I hoped they record tomorrow night’s forum; that was before I learned Craig had declined. I told Margaret before the Pirate Radio debate that maybe Craig will show up anyway at the golf course forum. She said she was going to be there regardless. I said, me too.

If Craig doesn’t participate in the golf course association forum tomorrow night, he will prove yet again that he doesn’t really want us all to get along and One Human family is a facade as far as he is concerned. I never figured we all would get along, but I always felt One Human Family was something else, something a lot bigger: live and let live. So far, I’m still the only Mayor candidate who has apologized to Charles Eimers’ children for KW cops killing their father last Thanksgiving Day.


Mike wrote:

Remember. He said only wesley house was sued!! That slick forked tongue devil!! Guess he didnt count on someone pulling up that old article.

I replied:

I didn’t understand Craig to say his daughter wasn’t sued, I figured she was, but Wesley House’s insurance carrier and its lawyers defended the case, since she worked for Wesley House.

Back to Frisbee Dave.

Frisbee DaveFrisbee Dave 2

In the winter and spring of 2004, Dave’s and my tents were right next to each other on the Bridle Path across the road from Smathers Beach.

Smathers Beach

The Bridle Path once was where Key Westers rode horses. By then, Dave had been living outside in Key West many years. He did not seem to drink or use other narcotics. (He still says he does not use.)

Dave told me in 2004 that he had been told he was bipolar. I never had any problems with him, even though he seemed spacey at times, off in his own world, and sometimes he got irritated with me, and people generally, for not volunteering at the soup kitchen like he was doing. I said that was his calling, not mine, and he was doing a good job. I said I was doing other things to try to help homeless people. He apologized.

Later in 2004, KOTS was built on the Sheriff’s property on the city’s side of Stock Island, the Gulf of Mexico side,


and homeless people had to sleep there nights to avoid being hunted, harassed and even jailed by Key West police. Dave started staying nights at KOTS. The angels made other arrangement for me. It was over a year later that I would discover what staying at KOTS was like.

I told the city officials beforehand not to build KOTS. I said it would cause the city lots of trouble. It did.

Key West Golf Club

I imagine KOTS and its proposed replacement will be topics during tonight’s mayor candidates forum at the golf course club house, starting 6:30 p.m. The public is invited. Easiest access is off of College Road.

Sloan blue

Sloan Bashinsky

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, the city’s “mainstream” homeless expert

Sloan empire  t-shirt lge




About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; spoken for; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days at, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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