Re: Mandate homeless people on nonprofit boards and staff?

Flower Child & Zephyr (
Thu, 19 Nov 1998 10:39:03 -0700

Hello Tom, Homeless Peoples Network, and Homeless Action

     As an HPN member, I'd like to point out the often assumed
idea that efforts to help the homeless need to be automatically
oriented toward making us acceptable to society, and to rejoin
that social setup as a productive member, maybe once again--if we
were previously 'employed.'  So our food needs may be met in some
more or less sporadic way, we get cleaned up so we do not smell,
find some health help, and we get trained so we can act as the
cogs 'employers' wish, and we (finally) get some portion or
timeshare of a housing facility, apartment or room.

     However, I see a whole grouping of homeless, and often whole
cadres of the young, as very dissatisfied with the values and
mechanisms of the current society.  Often that society did not
accept us at the same time we were rejecting them, and so we
became and remain homeless or marginal, even mental.  Speaking
for myself, I still believe that pulling the same social
bandwagon down the road and over the cliff is just about the most
idiotic waste of our life potentials that there could be, because
radical reverse-direction change is still what is needed.

     When we get such change going, and a lot of it is
heart-change and material downsizing and spreadout, not only will
the human parade have a sustainable peaceful future, we all will
be encompassed in it, and very likely will be housed in some way
also, even if it is in microhouses and microhouse cohousing
villages or extended vehicular communities.

     Loving you,  Flower Child
   from alt.gathering.rainbow & hpn

-----Original Message-----
From: Homeless Action Coalition <>
To: Tom Boland <>
Cc: <>
Date: Thursday, November 19, 1998 7:33 AM
Subject: Re: Mandate homeless people on nonprofit boards and

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
>shaping HUD funded programs in your communities?
>>Unfortunately, there has never been any enforcement by HUD of
>What can we who've been homeless do to ensure enforcement by HUD
>"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
>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
>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
>such the nonprofit director or board.
>What do you think? -- Tom Boland
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