Re: Re: Mandate homeless people on nonprofit boards and staff?

Anmnschmid@aol.com
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:51:26 EST


Homeless people currently in programs with homeless service providers should
be able to select their representatives on nonprofit boards, rather than
housed, middle=class staff selecting who should represent homeless people.
Unfortunately, the latter process is all too common.

In North Carolina, we had the NC Homeless Self-Help Network for a number of
years.  We were all homeless and formerly homeless people who were interested
in shaping public policy surrounding homelessness.  Unfortunately, we too were
used by the state's Housing Coalition, which often stifled our efforts, and
essentially used us to secure funding that they would otherwise have not been
able to access.  We too elected a representative from the network that was to
sit on the Coalition board, but the executive director did not like our
selection and did not put our elected representative on the board, but instead
selected a "stooge" to give the appearance they were including homeless
people.

So even those organizations that label themselves as "progressive" and
"liberal" are all to often full of crap.  At least with the right wing, you
know where you stand, so you're not as likely to fall for this sort of
deception.

Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot that i think we can do about it.  Our
network complained to HUD on several occasions about the all-too-frequent
violations of Section 3 requirements for HUD funded projects (which states
that homeless and formerly homeless people should be hired by nonprofits and
local governments that receive McKinney act funding from HUD) and for sham
nonprofit board inclusion in our state.  Unfortunately, HUD did not care.  And
even Cuomo, who purports to care for the homeless, is so busy telling us what
we need that i bet he can't even spell the words "empowerment" or "inclusion."

The only way that i see around this problem is for homeless and formerly
homeless people to receive the leadership training that is often provided to
the middle-classers by "liberal" training institutes (such as Highlander in
TN).  Unfortunately, they too cannot appreciate the need for involvement of
homeless people in their trainings.  

Does anyone out there have a more positive outlook on this than i do?  Maybe
i've just become too cynical in my old age.......

Andrea (anmnschmid@aol.com)