Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/74

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72
HOMES OF THE LONDON POOR.

be valuable to the relieving officer, if they could be brought into communication with him, and that a mass of information had been collected in their district-books, which might be of service to the Guardians if it could be made available at the right moment. But the attempt to bring them into direct communication with any official would have been open to many objections. Confusions might arise when visitors were absent; new visitors would occasionally have to be appointed, and to have their work explained to them. No relieving officer would have time to undertake this duty, nor even to communicate with so large and fluctuating a body as that formed by these volunteers. The Guardians, therefore, resolved to recognize one of these volunteers as representing the whole body. The referee would be a connecting link between themselves and the visitors, and through her only, all communications would pass. I was asked to fill this position with relation to the Guardians, for one reason, because I was already a member both of the Relief Committee before mentioned, and the committee of the Charity Organization Society, and the recognized medium of communication between these two bodies.

After the combination of volunteer and official agency had thus been arranged, which was in the winter of 1872-3, the Guardians directed the relieving officer who is in charge of the St. Mary's Poor Law District, to send me daily a list containing the name of each applicant from that district, with his address, ages of family, and nature of application.[1] I send out the information at once to the visitor in whose court the applicant resides, with a blank form[2] on which she may report any facts bearing on the character and circumstances of the family, which appear to her to be such as the Poor Law authorities ought to know. She can report by giving a summary of the infor-

  1. A copy of the form is appended to this letter.
  2. A copy of this form filled in with a specimen report is also appended.