What the poor are for

A company called FIS is currently being investigated by the government for welfare fraud. Usually, welfare fraud is carried out by individuals who receive welfare, but in this case a company allegedly got homeless people to apply for welfare benefits in exchange for housing and then scammed the money they received.

FIS leases apartment buildings from landlords and lets the rooms to homeless men. In order to receive welfare, you have to have an address, and the people (almost all men) that FIS solicit apply for benefits with their new addresses. The company then reportedly deducted rent from the welfare benefits and kept this money to go to the rent, but it was found that the money being paid to the landlord was half the amount that they had collected from the tenants. The rest they appeared to be pocketing. In other words, the tenants were paying twice what they would pay had they rented their rooms directly from the landlord.

Usually such activities are carried out by NPOs. It’s not clear from media reports exactly what FIS is (or what “FIS” stands for). But FIS is not the first company to make a profit off the poor in such a way. Some NPOs actually force their tenants NOT to look for jobs so that they can skim their welfare benefits. Others basically keep their benefits for them, paying them allowances. Also, these places can have Draconian rules, like no drinking or smoking. It’s no wonder that in many cases the men show up, stay one night, and the next day they’re gone, back out on the streets where at least they’re free.

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