Re: Dispatch from HPN

Virginia Sellner (
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 18:01:57 -0800

Well said Chuck -- thanks.  Virginia Sellner, member hpn

At 08:54 AM 12/8/97 -0800, Chuck Currie wrote:
>I for one am perfectly comfortable with Tom's People's Network list.  There
>is room for all kinds of diversity in our movement.  Certainly an attempt to
>start a all-homeless list isn't a threat.
>Chuck Currie
>Oregon Housing Now Coalition
>2710 NE 14th Avenue
>Portland, OR  97212
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Daniel Myers <>
>Date: Monday, December 08, 1997 8:34 AM
>Subject: Dispatch from HPN
>>Like many listmembers here, I was wondering what would be going on in Tom
>>Boland's "Homeless" People's Network.
>>So I joined.  It seemed only fair to see how it would work.
>>To put it simply, you're not missing much.  The people who do the postings
>>are pretty much "into themselves",  into their "medications", the "former
>>homeless" tend to dominate, there is "homeless envy", a small proportion
>>of the small number of list subscribers do most of the postings (there
>>have been about 35 subscribers), there are cliques, there is a "cult"
>>mentality, and most of the postings would be considered spam and too much
>>bandwith if they had been posted at CSF Homeless.  (I presume there are
>>some CSF members who are glad that those types of posts happen somewhere
>>else, and may thusly support Tom's endeavor to keep them there.
>>After Tom Boland did his oiling in CSF, ("Talmadge, with his caring
>>scholarship" :P, "homeless run organizations", "peaceful means to homeless
>>peoples' aims", etc., he jumped ahead and applied for a $10,000 grant to
>>run HPN.  He claimed to put the matter up for discussion in HPN, but when
>>I commented in the group and asked for some further disclosure, I received
>>a number of stereotypical, violent "shout'em down" flames and received no
>>information from Tom.
>>I noticed that NCH makes reference to HPN in its website.  I believe that
>>NCH should erase it.  Since CSF Homeless is a mostly open listserv, it is
>>also open to people who I now view as Tom Boland's "cult" members, who are
>>likely to respond to this posting.
>>>From about the end of October, there have been about 800 postings, many of
>>the "atta girl" type, where a small one-liner had a larger attachment of a
>>previously sent message.  The total bandwith from about that time was
>>about 3500 megabytes, indicating an average posting of about 4.5K.
>>The top contenders for the greatest number of postings are:
>>Tom Boland - 139 postings
>>Pat Myers  -  83 postings
>>Virginia Sellner - 78 postings
>>Anitra - 67 postings
>>Bonnie Briggs - 64 postings
>>HC Covington - 45+ postings
>>Don Boker - 47 postings
>>Bruce Burleson - 42 postings
>>With the exception of perhaps Don Boker, none of these others appear to be
>>homeless, and few of the remaining members of the group seem to be
>>homeless either.
>>There are a few good posts here-and-there, and it would be more convenient
>>for the world if they were posted on the CSF list.  I presume that some
>>people on HPN would do better to join CSF, particularly if they are having
>>their first internet experience in the area of homelessness.
>>I should emphasize that one un-stated difference between HPN and CSF is
>>that CSF, and more virtuously I believe, seeks to keep a focus on the
>>subject of homelessness, where in HPN the focus can be more legitimately
>>on any subject which any homeless/former homeless person chooses to talk
>>Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 14:09:39 -0800
>>From: Virginia Sellner <>
>>To: "P. Myers" <>, Daniel Myers <>
>>Subject: Re: proposal defense meeting 12-1
>>Way to go Pat -- and I posted one too, but I haven't seen it show up here
>>yet -- Virginia
>>At 11:53 AM 11/29/97 -0800, P. Myers wrote:
>>>Well this is interesting, Daniel.
>>>You flame Tom's credentials because they don't meet your criteria for
>>>funding, suggesting that he is reproducing the same pattern of dominance/
>>>power relationships that currently exist, and because he includes "chic
>>>homeless" ("chic" homeless, Daniel?!  What is that?  A formerly or
>>>currently homeless person with or attempting to get a college degree?) and
>>>formerly  homeless.
>>>Then you indulge in a bit of past history ranting, re your preference of
>>>word choice, suggesting that there are many powerful out there wanting the
>>>big bucks to be had for representing the marginalized, esp. homeless.
>>>Whew, Daniel, that's a serious stretch of reality for *mah little brain...
>>>although I understand your passion in having peer run services...I *think
>>>that's what you want...yes?  So. You react to code words with a
>>>patronizing, condecending diatribe that obscures a, Daniel, a really
>>>tenuous relationship to any form of logic.  But it gets better!
>>>Following are questions for Tom.  Weeeellll, not really for Tom, and not
>>>really schoolin' us, Daniel?  Like, if Tom went to
>>>college, or worked with people labelled mentally ill, or has ever had a
>>>credit card (!!!), he is prima facie unqualified to receive grant
>>>subsidies of this project...aaannnnddd his "peaceful" and "non-violent"
>>>beliefs are suspect as well.
>>>Well, damn, Daniel.  The only questions *I have left are
>>>1.  Where and how did *you learn to means-test so well??  You come off
>>>    like one of the worst DSHS caseworkers *I've ever encountered...
>>>    and
>>>2.  Are you aware just how close to McCarthyism you come, and how
>>>    slick you sound?
>>>This is a fine list, well-conceived and well-intentioned.  I support the
>>>list and listowner without reservation.  Now, Dan, lemme know when you
>>>want *my history, in order to do your background checks...but from what
>>>I've read, you already fail my "bother to ever read him again" test.
>>>Pat Myers
>>>On Sat, 29 Nov 1997, Daniel Myers wrote:
>>>> I personally can not support Tom Boland's funding proposals at this
>>>> in time. Much of my "activism" deals with the issue of indigent homeless
>>>> being exploited by wealthier interests, such as college graduates.
>>>> In this way, Tom's funding goals replicate the same patterns of
>>>> discrimination which are largely responsible for the repression of the
>>>> poor.
>>>> Anyone can form a "homeless" list.  HPN is flawed as a true "homeless
>>>> people's network", because it would include any person who is "chic
>>>> homeless" or "formerly homeless".
>>>> As I expressed when I first joined the CSF Homeless group a couple years
>>>> ago, anyone can use words such as "empowerment", "peaceful",
>>>> "non-violent", and, as it appears often, there are members of powerful
>>>> interests who are wrongfully claiming to represent homeless people.
>>>> I agree that homeless people should network on-line, and that the name
>>>> Homeless People's Network has a certain drawing power.  I agree that Tom
>>>> is a very smart guy from his postings, but I am more than just curious
>>>> about the personal education/employment history he is going to be
>>>> including with his grant application.  Where and when did Tom go to
>>>> college and finish up?  What did he major in?  Was he ever employed in
>>>> mental illness organization or in any organization which supported
>>>> illness organizations and professionals?
>>>> If the facts will form a basis for rejection or boycott of HPN, then so
>>>> it.
>>>> dhm
>>>> btw, I did some research on  In order to sign up for
>>>> internet service, you need a credit card.
>>>> On Tue, 25 Nov 1997, Tom Boland ( wrote:
>>>> > Next Monday morning (12-1), a team of HPN members from the Boston area
>>>> > meet with a potential funder for our project for the following year.
>>>> >
>>>> > *If you can be a part of that group, please email me at
>>>> >
>>>> > As those of you know who read the proposal when I posted it on-line,
>>>> > be asking for $10,000 to cover a years's costs, but are more likely to
>>>> > $5,000 or less (or maybe even nothing).  Any funds granted will help
>to pay
>>>> > for computer related costs, rent for the office from which I write,
>>>> > possibly some money remaining for a stipend for me to host the list.
>To do
>>>> > the job well is "full time plus" work.
>>>> >
>>>> > Even a small grant award can help me to continue my listserving work
>>>> > the next year.  The business that has covered some computer costs is
>>>> > longer able to do so.
>>>> >
>>>> > Also, there are some qeustions that the grantmaker is likely to ask
>when we
>>>> > defend the proposal.  I list them below, and invite you all to suggest
>>>> > answers.  The likely qeustions are:
>>>> >
>>>> > *How can this discussion list result in social action to end
>>>> >
>>>> > *Who will oversee the listserver's work and assure that it is done
>>>> >
>>>> > *What is the decison-making structure for member management of the
>>>> >
>>>> > As a just formed project, we have no difinitive answers to these
>>>> > yet.  I have told the grantmaker that HPN list members will help
>choose how
>>>> > we do these things.
>>>> >
>>>> > So members, what is your advice?  Feel free to post to the list, or to
>>>> > privately.
>>>> >
>>>> > Seeking peaceful means to homeless peoples' aims.--Tom Boland
>>>> > <>
Virginia D. Sellner
Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
P. O. Box 1232
Cheyenne, WY 82003-1232
(307) 637-8634