Re: Mandate homeless people on nonprofit boards and staff?

Tom Boland (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 17:30:39 -0400

Andrea <Anmnschmid@AOL.COM> wrote:
>HUD funds have long required the inclusion of homeless and formerly homeless
>on boards and other governing bodies of nonprofit organizations, as well as
>local planning councils.

The federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandate seems to be moving
nonprofits toward "homeless inclusion" on boards and staff here in greater

USA based list members, are homeless and ex-homeless people actively
shaping HUD funded programs in your communities?

>Unfortunately, there has never been any enforcement by HUD of this

What can we who've been homeless do to ensure enforcement by HUD of
"homeless inclusion"?

>Frankly, i believe it makes a lotta sense to have
>homeless and formerly homeless people on boards and staff, since we know best
>what the real issues are, where the service gaps are, and what it really takes
>to get back on your feet.

Andrea, I agree.  Nonprofits need direction from - and accountability to -
the publics they aim to serve.  To assure that, I think we need people
who've been homeless not only on advisory boards and governing boards, but
also where most power lies in nonprofits -- on management staff and as

As an advocate of "self-representation", I'm also concerned with is how
nonprofits' homeless board members are chosen, and by whom.

How do you avoid "token" representation on boards, where the nonprofit
director controls so many votes that the "homeless representatives" feel
pressured to keep their mouths shut about concerns and suggestions, and
just "go along to get along"?

Perhaps the homeless participants in nonprofits should choose our own board
members, rather than our "representaives" being self-selected by others,
such the nonprofit director or board.

What do you think? -- Tom Boland
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