KFC- fires a Tupelo Woman for being homeless #WTFnews

Woman fired for being homeless

KFC manager’s version changes

Mar 21, 2013   |
Eunice Jasica

Eunice Jasica
Written by
Emily Le Coz, http://www.clarionledger.com

A Tupelo woman hired earlier this month by a KFC was fired Monday after the franchise owner discovered she’s homeless.

Eunice Jasica has been staying at the Salvation Army lodge since early December after losing her job, her car and her home.

The nonprofit organization requires its residents to seek employment daily and, upon finding it, to pay for lodging and start saving for a place of their own. Jasica said she had been job hunting for months and was relieved to find work on March 11 at the KFC on North Gloster Street.

A document signed by that location’s general manager on March 12 confirms Jasica had been hired to perform “prep work” and would receive a paycheck every two weeks.

But when Jasica reported for duty Monday, franchise owner Chesley Ruff withdrew the job offer upon learning she lived at the Salvation Army.

“He told me to come back when I had an address and transportation,” Jasica recalled. “But how am I supposed to get all that without a job?”

Ruff signed a letter the same day stating he couldn’t employ her “due to concerns of lack of residence and transportation” and that she could reapply when her circumstances change.

On Thursday, though, Ruff said he’d only used the homeless excuse to protect Jasica from the real reason he declined her services: She has no prior food-prep experience and seemed too elderly to lift the 40-pound boxes involved in kitchen work.

Jasica is 59 years old and had worked 27 years as a bus driver and also did security for Bloomingdale’s. She attends classes at Itawamba Community College when she’s not job hunting.

“I was trying to spare her feelings, I guess,” Ruff said. “I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but I know it was stupid.”

KFC operates more than 5,200 restaurants nationwide and follows all applicable employment laws, but its independent franchisees make their own hiring decisions, said KFC Corp. spokesman Rick Maynard.

Mississippi is an at-will employment state. That means the employer or employee can terminate the relationship at any time for any reason as long as it doesn’t violate anti-discrimination statutes based on factors like race, age, color, religion, sex, national origin or disability.

Under the law, Ruff had the right to terminate Jasica’s employment based on her lack of a permanent residence but not, for example, because of her age.

Ruff said he never terminated Jasica, though, because she hadn’t yet been hired. The document signed by the store’s general manager says otherwise. The general manager would not comment.

Although he refused to employ Jasica, Ruff has hired homeless people in the past. Among them was Scott Kohlman, a felon who came to Tupelo after his release from prison.

Kohlman, who was homeless, had worked at Ruff’s KFC for several months and even became a manager, according to Salvation Army Maj. Sue Dorman. His story also had appeared in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Kohlman did not return a call for comment Thursday.

“Over the 20 or so years I’ve been in Tupelo doing business,” Ruff said, “I have helped people before.”

That’s why his refusal to employ Jasica shocked Dorman. She said she called Ruff after seeing his letter Monday and was told simply that it’s company policy not to employ people lacking stable housing or transportation.

Ruff never mentioned concerns about Jasica’s ability to lift heavy boxes or her lack of food-prep work, Dorman said.

“I was ticked,” Dorman said. “She’s one of those that’s really trying hard. She doesn’t want a hand-out.”

This week’s incident is a first for the Salvation Army in Tupelo and for similar agencies operating throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, said the organization’s three-state divisional spokesman Mark Jones.

Jones called the situation “disheartening.”

A quarter of India’s mentally ill homeless



Jul 31, 2012


New Delhi: In the dimly-lit lobby of a shelter for the mentally-ill homeless, she sits reading the tattered printout of an e-mail from her US-based brother. The 55-year-old scans every word – her brother has sternly refused to accept her following her recovery from mental illness.

It’s a body blow but she refuses to give up. After a long and hard battle against mental illness at Sudinalaya, a shelter for such homeless women in north Delhi, the doughty woman has drawn on her inner resilience to carry on living. She misses her family, fights the rejection, but is trying to come to terms with the fact that the shelter home is perhaps her refuge – for the foreseeable future.


“My family has refused to accept me even after recovery. I have nowhere to go, so now I have to accept this shelter home as my home,” the former schoolteacher, who is not being identified for fear of further taint, said.

“These women here are my family. I cook here and talk to friends,” the economics graduate from Nagpur, who was found on the streets last August and was treated at the the Delhi government’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), said in a determined voice.

Tragically, she’s not the only one.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there are over 70 million people with some form of mental illness in the country and about a quarter of them are homeless. Experts say familial apathy and an attitudinal shift in society are pushing millions of recovered mentally-ill people into homelessness.

“A shelter home cannot replace the emotional support provided by a family,” said Sudinalaya director Sreerupa Mitra.

“I will file a petition in the high court asking whether and how much penalty can be imposed on families who abandon people in our society, put them in utmost misery and render them homeless,” Mitra told IANS.

According to Nimesh Desai, director of IHBAS, a major concern is rehabilitating those who have recovered.

“Generally, the outlook towards people with mental illness has improved. But homelessness of millions of mentally-ill is a major concern because of the changing face of society,” Desai said.

“There have been cases where the family members corner property worth crores and throw the individual into a mental asylum,” he added.

“It is frustrating to see such active deprivation of economic and social rights even in well-to-do families. Are the families falling short of physical space in their apartments or do they lack emotional space?” Desai wondered.

Interestingly, families declining to accept a loved one with a history of mental illness have been more evident in “urban and economically well-off families”, said experts.

While “legal persuasion” could be applied on families to support a patient, more often than not, patients are left with no option but to struggle in custodial asylum or languish on streets – both of which are worse after recovery.

Back at Sudinalaya, lunch is over and the utensils have been washed and put away. The now recovered woman, hoping to get back to a teaching job, heads for the carom board for a game she excelled at when in college.

“If no one comes for me, I will stay here and teach the other women this game,” she says.



Homeless in Silicon City, India

As the city prepares to welcome the monsoon, its poor are left to battle it out in the streets. In 2010, the Supreme Court ordered state governments to set up shelters for the homeless people. The October 2011 deadline has long expired and the work is yet to show good progress in many states. Karnataka, as usual, is a laggard state and Bangalore, lags many other cities such as Belgaum, in helping the lot of its poor. The city may need 80+ shelters, but only seven have been built so far. The majority of the homeless poor do not seem to be aware of them.

The man in this video earns Rs. 70 per day, almost twice Montek’s gratis to BPL people.
These are the aam aadmi for whom the Congress is shedding crocodile tears and setting up the UID database at a cost of Rs. 20,000/ Crores (as per the Union budget) to prevent “leakages” of LPG and BPL rations.

Mentally ill in India struggle with homelessness

With care centres virtually non-existent and family networks breaking down, streets are becoming the only resort of the mentally ill in India

Malia Politzer & Vidya Krishnan

   Thu, May 24 2012., livemint.com

Kochi (Kerala): Police found the woman wandering on the streets of Kochi in a gauzy, mud-splattered salwar kameez. Emaciated, with matted black hair, slack jaws and a vacant gaze, she couldn’t remember her name or where she belonged. She was taken to a local magistrate, who declared her mentally unfit and placed her in Kauffernaun, a half-way home for the disabled, abandoned, destitute and mentally ill.

“This is what we found after we tried to clean her,” says Sister Juliet, who runs the home, sliding a photograph across the table. The picture is a close-up of the back of the woman’s head. The matted hair had been removed to reveal a chunk of her open skull, riddled with squirming white maggots. She died three days later of heart failure.

The Catholic nun has seen many such cases in her nine years at Kauffernaun, where most of her wards will live until they die. Few will receive full treatment. Such an end often represents the best-case scenario for India’s growing numbers of homeless mentally ill.

Nationwide there are only 37 state-run mental hospitals—a fraction of the number required. In northern India, homes providing long-term care to people with mental illness are virtually non-existent, and the wandering mentally ill become indistinguishable from thousands of beggars in the streets, or migrant workers sleeping on sidewalks.

Two years after former model Gitanjali Nagpal was found begging on the streets of a south Delhi neighbourhood in a confused mental state in 2007, the Delhi high court ordered the government to create wards for mentally ill women in shelter homes within three months. Three years later, little has changed. Four half-way homes have been sanctioned, but none has actually been built.

In southern states, a number of privately run half-way homes have emerged to meet demand. But lacking the resources to meet more than basic necessities, such homes have recently come under fire for their abysmal conditions. In Kerala, the few that exist are now in danger of being shut down.

Homelessness among mentally ill is growing significantly—it’s really become my major concern,” says Nimesh Desai, the director of the department of psychiatry at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi. “I am getting more and more convinced that in public mental health, the final frontier is the issue of mental illness and homelessness.”


Nowhere to go: Mentally ill women staring out of a room at the Capernaum Charitable Trust in Kochi. Sivaram V/Mint

Nowhere to go: Mentally ill women staring out of a room at the Capernaum Charitable Trust in Kochi. Sivaram V/Mint


By even the most conservative estimates, roughly 7% of India’s population struggles with some form of major mental illness—at least 70 million people, according to the Indian Council for Medical Research. Yet in urban areas, at least half will remain untreated, and in rural areas the treatment gap is estimated at as much as 90%, according to the National Institute for Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore. 

The ministry of health and family welfare estimated that at least a quarter of India’s mentally ill are homeless.

Cutting across class

Today, those numbers appear to be growing—and not just among the poor. Psychiatrists in government hospitals observe growing numbers of mentally ill homeless coming from educated, middle-class backgrounds. “I have seen post-graduates and PhD-qualified people who are mentally ill living on the streets,” said Desai. “It’s an issue that cuts across class and caste.”

Yadagiri was one such man. A 32-year-old with a degree in electrical engineering who lived with his parents in a city outside of Chennai, he began exhibiting signs of schizophrenia in his early 20s—having paranoid delusions, and talking to himself. One day when his symptoms were bad, he wandered out of his house, only to be found by a police officer more than 250 kilometres away in Kerala, who placed him in Prathyasa Bhavan, a home for destitute mentally ill in Kochi. “He was here for a year and a half,” says Ammni Varghesekutty, who runs the home that treated him.

Yadagiri was lucky—he responded well to treatment, and was accepted back into his family. “He didn’t know who he was or where he came from when he came. We gave him treatment and eventually he got well enough to remember where he was from. We returned him home,” says Varghesekutty. Unfortunately, few patients share Yadagiri’s happy homecoming.

Desai says the growing number of homeless mentally ill is linked to India’s economic transformation.

“What’s happening with mental illness is what is happening with many social problems in transitional society,” says Desai, adding that the strong family and social networks that used to provide support to people with mental illness are breaking down. Many families are no longer able or willing to take care of mentally ill relatives so they end up on the streets, he says. But while the governments of developed countries have organized systems in place to help treat the mentally ill, India is yet to make that transition, he adds.

Countrywide, India has approximately 3,500 registered psychiatrists. In practical terms that means three psychiatrists per one million people. Nearly 80% of India’s districts do not have any mental health-care facilities. And long-term care centres are almost entirely absent.

“I calculated sometime ago that, by conservative estimates, we need at least 100,000 vacancies for long-term residential care,” says Desai. “But right now we only have 2,000 throughout India.”

No easy solution

In the southern states, the dearth of government-approved, professionally run facilities has led to the emergence of a growing number of small, unlicensed privately run homes. In most cases, the homeless are identified by the local police, who, after obtaining approval of the local magistrate, route them to such homes.

While exemplary homes do exist—a Chennai-based home for destitute mentally ill women called Banyan has garnered international recognition for its model rehabilitation programme—most leave much to be desired. The dire state of India’s mental asylums has made sporadic headlines since 2001, when 26 mentally ill people died in a fire at Moideen Badusha Mental Home in Tamil Nadu. Chained to their beds, they were unable to escape.

Following the Erwadi incident, the Supreme Court ordered that all such homes obtain licences prior to opening. But five months ago, the issue resurfaced again when another small, unlicensed, privately run home in Thrissur was raided by the police after neighbours complained of foul smell.

Inside, 70 mentally ill men were found chained to windows. Others were sitting in years of accumulated filth.

Shortly after the Thrissur case, a non-governmental organization, Human Rights Law Network, filed a petition in the Kerala high court requesting that the Mental Health Authority mandate licences for all institutions treating or housing mentally ill patients, or shut them down. The authority responded with a counter-petition that all the homes that do not become licensed will be shut down.

But obtaining a licence is next to impossible under the law: Kerala’s mental health policy dictates a doctor-patient ratio of one to 100—an impossible-to-meet requirement in a country with three trained psychiatrists per one million people. There are also specifications on staff strength and infrastructure requirements that sound good on paper but clash with the on-the-ground reality.

While the Planning Commission has not yet announced the size or scope of the outlay for the 12th Plan for treating mental illness, “we certainly hope for an increase,” says Keshav Desiraju, the additional secretary for health and family welfare.

Desiraju is part of the technical committee working on a draft of a new mental health act since January 2010 that aims to replace the Mental Health Act of 1987. Though he does not have a definite timeline for completion, he hopes it will be introduced in Parliament soon.

One improvement in the proposed new act is the establishment of a registry and guidelines governing half-way homes catering to mentally ill with no place else to go. It also attempts to address issues surrounding guardianship and human rights neglected in the Mental Health Act.

But some say the proposed new act does not go far enough. “India was among the first countries to sign the UN Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities, but has yet to align its policies with the UN convention,” says Javed Abidi, director for the National Centre for the Promotion of Disabled People.

Abidi complains that the proposed legislation also neglects key issues—like how to address the question of legal capacity (the ability to decide on issues such as the right to marry or whether to be admitted to a mental institution). “It’s been two years already and the Bill is still very far from Parliament,” he says. “Anyway, it’s a very sad commentary on how badly these issues are neglected.”

Lacking government funding and running primarily on charity, most homes in Kerala are unlicensed, operate under the government radar or regulation, and are unable to afford anything but the basics.

Sister Juliet relies on “helpers” among the inmates whose circumstances are less extreme. In the men’s ward, more than 70 boys and men are confined to two floors by sturdy iron bars and heavy padlocks, left to their own devices for most of the day. At night, they share sturdy wooden cots stinking of urine. The worst affected—delusional and violent—live side by side with those who have only mild mental disabilities. In the women’s ward, one inmate wanders aimlessly from her bed to a small bathroom while another jumps up and down on a small metal cot.

In the north, no homes exist for the mentally ill. IHBAS runs a bi-weekly mobile health clinic near the Jammu Masjid Mosque in partnership with the local magistrate and Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA), an NGO that runs homeless shelters in the capital. Over the past three years, they have managed to treat more than 42 severely mentally ill people, but a lack of resources limits their reach. “If we could evolve a model of half-way homes in combination with functional community-based treatment and mobile clinics, few people would need institutionalization,” says Paramjeet Kaur, the director of AAA. “It’s lack of governmental will, more than anything else.

When High Court Judges usurp land meant for the homeless, where do the homeless seek justice?

Faiza Khan, Khar East Andolan

Posted on May 6, 2012

When you ask about the court cases in Golibar now, the residents will wrly reply with the famous Hindi film dailogue. “Tareek pe tareek! Tareek pe tareek! “. The hearing on this Monday, the 7th of May, will be 20 months since the Golibar criminal case has been in the Mumbai High Court. In 2009, builder Shivalik Ventures had faked signatures of residents of Ganesh Krupa Society (GKS) in Golibar to claim the 70% consent it needed to redevelop the Golibar slum. On that list of signatories was Sulochana Pawar who had died four years before she allegedly gave her consent. Going by the rules of the SRA, this should have, at the very least, led to the ouster of Shivalik Ventures from this redevelopment project.

Instead, the then Slum Rehabilitation Authority(SRA) chief, Mr. S. Zende (remember this name, it’ll come up again later!) asks the residents of GKS to settle for a compromise. The police had been even more nonchalant and refused to investigate the case until the Court directed them to do so. Once on it, they were so baffled by this seemingly obvious case of fraud that for 20 months, they’ve been seeking extension after extension to complete their investigation. The Court has been very obliging. Meanwhile MHADA’s demolition squads, with police protection continue to break people’s homes.

So the government is clearly not on their side, specially after it backtracked on the GRs last year. The police never was. Their only hope of any justice was in the Courts. Until the Nyay Sagar scam came to light.

Akankhsha tai and other women from Ganesh Krupa are huddled around a copy of Janta ka Aaina, a community newspaper. They burst into cackling laughter. “Yeh toh apna Chandrachud hai!“(This is our Chandrachud!). Apna Chandrachud is Justice Chandrachud of the Mumbai High Court who has been hearing the matter of the Golibar GR case in the High Court. Now he’s on the frontpage, accused in a major land scam, along with Justice Khanvilkar who is hearing the Golibar criminal case (of the forged signatures). There are 13 other Judges and ex-Judges accused.
Nyay Sagar and Siddhant are two multi-storeyed buildings built on a plot of government land that was reserved for the homeless. The judges of the High Court led by then Justice Rebello (now Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court) formed Nyay Sagar Co-operative Housing Society in 2001 and in collusion with Vilasrao Deshmukh  de-reserved all but 10% of this land and appropriated it for themselves. This change in the Development Plan of this plot, Survey No 341 (Part) CTS No 629 from being reserved for the homless to Residential was facilitated by some very senior bureaucrats, including Mr. Zende (the SRA chief who asked residents of GKS to settle for a compromise). What is shocking though is that the land was handed over to Nyay Sagar CHS much before it was de-reserved.

View Larger Map

Even the de-reserving was a sham. Once it is decided that the reservation of a piece of land is to be changed, there is a notification which is open to the public for 30 days in case they have objections. This notification was made public on 16.6.2004 but just six days later, on 22.6.2004 ,the status of the land was modified. The Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan has filed a complaint with the Anti Corruption Bureau asking them to file an FIR.

Akanksha tai laughs when she reads the buildings are called Nyay Sagar (meaning Ocean of Justice) and Siddhanth (Principles). But then she asks soberly, “Now where are we to seek justice?”


1. Shri Vilas Rao Deshmukh, the then Chief Minister,
2. Shri Sangeetrao, the then Collector Mumbai Suburb,
3. Shri SS Zende, the then later Collector Mumbai Suburb,
4. Shri RC Joshi, Principal Secretary, Department of Revenue,
5. Shri Ramanand Tiwari, the then P. Secretary UDD,
6. Other Unknown Govt. Official/s.
7. Justice V C Daga,
8. Justice A M Khanwilkar,
9. Justice B R Gavai,
10. Justice S M Ghodeshwar,
11. Justice S Radhakrishnan,
12. Justice S A Bobde,
13. Justice P V Kakade,
14. Justice R Lodha,
15. Justice G D Patil,
16. Justice F I Rebello,
17. Justice D K Deshmukh,
18. Justice D B Bhosale,
19. Justice D G Karnik,
20. Justice J P Devdhar,
21. Justice DY Chandrachud

A letter from Justice Rebello to ex-CM Vilasrao Deshmukh misusing his official letterhead for a non-official matter
More documents will be made public soon.



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