13 DECEMBER 1935, Page 20

THE GRAY HOUSE REPORT • [To the Editor of Ti n s

SPECTATOR.] SIR,—The publication of the Gray House Report with its admission of failure cannot, as you yourself suggest, be regarded as the final word on the whole matter. Its un- fortunate experience has not been shared by other Homes, and the main reasons are not far to seek. First, the unsuitable site of an old casual ward and its proximity to an existing one made any " HoMe " life an impossibility ; the unalterable decision of the Committee to adhere rigidly to the rules laid down at the outset of the experiment without regard to possible developments of its own er the experience of others,. obviated true progress : finally the loss of Mr. Gray's pers , sonality and guidance among the lads themselves after only a few months' working was hard to sustain. The depression caused by a study of Gray House statistics may be a little counteracted by the reports of other Homes where many, proofs of success both in restoring hope to the hopeless and

work to the workless can quoted, over a period of several years.

In the .sevcn Homes in the West ofEngland only about four, per cent. of men admitted can be, classed as unsatisfactory, while absconsions are comparatively rare : even some of this

number later confess to • having made good through the influence of a stay in one of the Homes. The Homes arc all run with small overworked staffs, usually voluntary, and even a 20 per cent. record of success would be a matter. for congratulation ; but there is far more. In the S.W. .we can claim 40 per .cent, and these are not of a temporary nature. • While not prepared to admit the men are " incorrigible and irredeemable," it is true that there are on the roads a number of very difficult cases, for whom a period of special treatment and a system of voluntary detention is necessary. No such measure was suggested as an alternative by your critics. Help of the kind would be welcomed by those who have experience of the many lads who cannot come within the scope of the work of the Homes that at present exist.

It is to be hoped that they •who read the Gray House Report will not be led to draw general conclusions from a particular instance, and include in their condemnation the valuable work that is being done by the St. Francis Brotherhood and the County Homes, in the face of exceedingly great odds.—.

(Management Committee Glos. Home for Wayfarers.)'