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Settlement Houses Essay

1085 words - 5 pages

During the Progressive Era, settlement houses were opened to provide social and
educational services to immigrants in need. These settlement houses also became meeting spots where reformers and many intellectuals could discuss various problems in society. The most well-known settlement house was founded by Jane Addams and a good friend, Ellen Gates Starr. The Hull House, which was named after Mr. Hull, was in Chicago's Nineteenth Ward. It housed immigrants with diverse nationalities such as Italians, Bohemians, Irish, English, Germans, Americans, Canadians, and Russians. As a result, the new immigrants coming in sought neighbors of their own language and beliefs.
At the time, the Nineteenth ...view middle of the document...

If a young woman decided to go into Hull House and become a resident, she would have to save some money to pay for her own expenses. In addition, Addams would've assigned this woman a job that was in her best interest without paying her. Addams also wanted immigrants to cherish their ethnic traditions and not conform to American ideals. During the 1900's Addams had earned respect for being an advocate for those who didn't have much. As a result of the success Hull House had, settlement houses had opened in other big American cities. Settlement houses usually took up a lot of space so they needed a whole neighborhood block.
The settlement house changed the lives of those it served, providing a boarding club for young women in the workforce known as the Jane club. The Hull House gave middle class women the chance to step outside of the home in order to become independent. Addams also wanted to tackle a serious issue, which was getting rid of the overwhelming trash on the streets. This made the conditions in the Nineteenth Ward poor, the homes and streets were unsanitary. The trash needed to be thrown away properly to prevent children from getting sick and dying of disease. People had been dying from typhoid and most people believed this was caused by the flies which had been carrying it around. Addams became a garbage inspector for the Nineteenth Ward and organized a better plan to pick up garbage and dispose of it correctly.
This led to a significant decrease in the death rate of the Nineteenth Ward. Other parts of the city that weren't so lucky, didn't know how or what to do. This was either because they didn't
3 have any other choice or because no one knew any better. That is where the valuable service of the settlements came in, by explaining the sanitary laws to those who did not understand at all.
Those who understood the laws, were showed how they can request and rely on better administration from the city. So it wasn't unusual for settlement workers to hear about reported complaints to authorities by unknown persons about law violations. Most of the complaints were absolutely ignored until more people got together and supported them.
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