Re: Mandate homeless people on nonprofit boards and staff?

Homeless Action Coalition (
Thu, 19 Nov 1998 06:35:02 -0800

There has been an effort to include "affected population" representation on
some policy boards; however, that is only a beginnin: 1) just being there
doesn't make them effective, they are still up against a systematic process
that includes a built in understanding of the "assumptions" inherent to the
process. 2) they are often "classed" as representative of the whole service
population whereas I don't usually find what they represent very
representative of me.

At 05:30 PM 11/17/98 -0400, Tom Boland wrote:
>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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