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HEMPSTEAD TOWN ALMSHOUSE.

Hempstead, N. Y.

In addition to the several inspections of the year 1901, a special inspection of this almshouse was made on the 15th of January, 1902, in time for the annual report.

The conditions, from a sanitary standpoint, were found to have improved during the year. Two modern shower baths have been installed, and the water supply is greatly increased. A caloric engine lifts the water to a steel tank capable of holding 1,000 barrels. This tank is in the attic of the main building. The shower baths are practically useless, however; the construction work was poorly done, and the rooms in which the baths are placed are not large enough.

An effort to classify the sick is now made. The ordinary patients are looked after in their own rooms, but men suffering from contagious forms of disease are placed in a small cabin somewhat removed from the main building.

The old tramp house has outlived its usefulness, and should be razed. If it is found necessary to maintain a tramp house, a good building with sanitary equipment should be erected. The present building is not clean, and its general condition un fits it for tenancy. The same is true of the small hospital building, and both these structures should be thoroughly cleansed and then be kept in such condition. The main building was found clean throughout, everything being in an orderly con dition.

Food is served only twice a day during the winter months. It was found well cooked and abundant, but two meals may

entail a hardship upon those who have been accustomed to breakfast, dinner, and supper. This is especially true in the winter season, when the inclement weather makes greater demands upon the system than are made at other seasons.

The chief needs of this almshouse are in the line of greater fire protection. Like all large frame buildings, this is in constant danger from an outbreak of fire. It is hoped the authorities having it in charge will take steps to make it as safe as possible.

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NORTH HEMPSTEAD AND OYSTER BAY TOWN ALMSHOUSE. East Norwich, N. Y.

This almshouse remains in practically the same condition as it was at the time of the last annual report. An number of improvements were suggested, plans have been approved for them, and it was expected that they would have been finished. long ago. Owing to failure to secure an appropriation, nothing has been done. This almshouse is endowed. It has two funds invested, the revenue from which is used to support the institution. One amounts to $30,000 and the other to $18,000. Besides the interest from the invested funds, the moneys derived from excise are applied to the support of the almshouse, and there should have been enough to make all the repairs and enlargements suggested.

The sanitary conditions do not conduce to the welfare of the inmates. Bath tubs, flush water-closets and better drains are

needed, but everything waits for necessary action by the town board.

One great need of this institution is better protection against the dangers of fire. Three barrels filled with water, located in different parts of the main building, are the only available means of fire defence. For a building of such rambling combustible character, having three inside stairways and no fire escapes, greater protection is needed.

The housekeeping department is to be commended. The residence building was found clean throughout.

Two meals a day are served during the winter months. The food provided is well cooked and abundant, but there is prob ably little economy in the plan of having only two meals each day.

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Of this number, 12 men (3 of whom are over 70 years of age) are maintained at the expense of Nassau county.

THE DEPENDENT POOR OF NASSAU COUNTY.

At the time of the division of Queens county, the almshouse on Barnum's Island, in which the county poor of Queens had been maintained for many years, was turned over to the new county of Nassau. It had a large number of buildings, an electric light and heating plant, and could have provided accommodation for many more persons than were usually dependent

in Nassau county. It was thought wise to sell this almshouse; it was considered too large for the county's needs, as well as too expensive. When the almshouse was sold the county made arrangements with the two town almshouses in the county and with the Brunswick Home, at Amityville, to care for the county adult charges. The conditions in the town almshouses have already been presented. It remains necessary to speak of those in the Brunswick Home. This is a private corporation. It is used for the purpose of receiving patients from cities, towns or counties which have to maintain patients as public charges, and from guardians, parents and others who desire to place defective or afflicted wards in an institution.

Nassau county maintains 14 persons in this home. Of this number, 2 are epileptics; 5 are idiots (2 of whom are blind); 4 are feeble minded; and 3 are cripples, whose only means of getting about is the wheel chair. One of the feeble-minded patients is a dumb boy of seven years; two of the cripples are young men, one 21 and the other 28 years of age; the third is a young woman of 26 years. Of those classed as feeble-minded, two are men 63 and 73 years of age respectively, and therefore are suffering from senility. Two of the idiots are females, one 31 years of age and the other 15; the three males are aged respectively 30, 25 and 36. Both the epileptics are males, their ages being 27 and 39 years.

It will be seen from this enumeration that the institution receives all classes of patients. Its facilities for the care of these defectives are better than those of the ordinary almshouse. This is due to the larger number of attendants employed, and to the further fact that the institution is fitted up as a custodial asylum.

It is doubtful expediency for the county of Nassau to make contracts with a private corporation for the care of its dependents of this class. Of course the crowded condition of the State institutions may render such a step necessary as a temporary expedient, but as a final solution of the problem of the care of defectives such contracts will hardly prove satisfactory.

An institution of this kind is run for profit, and, while the managers will give a measure of care, they expect to make a profit. This home is intended to return a regular profit to its

owners. While nothing may be said adverse to the treatment of patients, it is against public policy to make the maintenance of paupers or defectives a matter of private gain. The temptation is always present to push economies to such an extent as to deprive patients of the attention and treatment they should receive.

It would be better for Nassau county to combine in one the two almshouses now maintained by the public, and, placing it under the charge of the county authorities, make provision for all the public dependents in a satisfactory way. The income from the several endowments set apart for the maintenance of the poor will be ample to pay all the expenses of a well equipped modern almshouse. These endowments need not be lost by a transfer to the county, for all the conditions attached to the endowments could be carried out by the county itself. At the present time the division of the endowments into three parts entails an unnecessary expense of administration which could be saved were the county to maintain this almshouse. The poor in the two almshouses would have better treatment, and the last vestige of the contract system disappear. This is not merely a matter of economy-the vital interest is that of humanity. Where the contract system prevails, no matter how carefully guarded its provisions may appear. there is always danger that the effort to profit by the contract may result in abuse of the inmates. It may be further urged in favor of this plan that, while giving full credit for the changes which have been made in the two town almshouses of the county, it is a fact that neither can be considered entirely satisfactory. A county almshouse built on modern plans and properly equipped will prove economical and assure more satisfactory results.

ORANGE COUNTY ALMSHOUSE.
Orange Farm, N. Y.

This almshouse consists of a group of three residence buildings, in addition to the barns and outbuildings. Two of these buildings are of stone, and the other of brick. Of the stone structures, one contains quarters for the men and the work

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