94.Just some thoughts – Charities

3208259353.jpgDear Friends:

I have this week become more alert to some issues in homelessness. Me and a few friends have been discussing charity and I became alerted to how many charities there are that supposedly are for homeless veterans or veterans in general. I was shocked to find out how much money is regularly donated in this nation for veterans and homeless veterans by our citizens nation wide. My first thought about the amounts donated was “It should be raining money!”

As I am standing on the streets and seeing homelessness I think about the money that is donated. I think of all the people that have donated to some of these non profit charities and think they have done well. Well some of these charities do well and manage to use the money for their intended purposes, but many do not. Some of the executors of these charities garner over $300,000.00 a year in salary.

I have been out on the streets trying to find where these donations go to. I have not seen changes due to these donations. I found one charity with $2 million in real estate, $1.5 million in cash reserves, and the manager receiving over $100,000.00 a year as a salary. This charity also belongs to one of our fraternal veterans organizations and is giving less to programs this year by close to 17%. (I am leaving out their name at this time because I hope their organization may assist my charity in the future.) This charity sounds more like a mutual fund than a charitable organization to me. Another charity has large salaries and all the directors are professional political lobbyists who graduated from the Ivy League and make the claim that it was themselves that pushed through legislation for social programs. This last group received over $5 million in donations and does not support any purpose other than posting to the internet at times. They do email a lot though asking for my financial support.

Anyhow, I view a charity as a Direct Action. To be able to step in a timely manner to assist the need in which established. We know what the problem is already- it is lack of direct action that prolongs the issue at hand. If I was a charity, I would have my organizations name on something besides letterhead stationary. I would want the world to see my charity’s works.

A noted statistic is that if you do not get a homeless individual off the street in the first six months of homelessness, there is a good chance that the person will develop mental or substance abuse problems.  Being out homeless for greater than that will cause the individual to become used to or inured to it also and their chances of regaining a normal life again is lowered greatly.

There are many federal and state programs for those homeless veterans with mental or substance abuse issues. That is what the VA and other agencies are geared toward. Out of the 195,000 homeless veterans that the VA says there are in 2006-2007 (and we know it is greater), there are 30% of those that recieve no form or are ineligble for assistance. That is over 58,000 homeless veterans that the VA and other charities turn aside. Using the VA’s 2004 estimates of homeless veterans that number is close to 100,000 homeless veterans that are not eligible for any program.

The charity that I envision, is one that can step in and provide emergency housing, clothing, food in a timely manner. To be able to give the homeless veterans a place to regain their dignity, a place where they can have time to find a job that will give them future income. To network with businesses to assist employment placement. To have mentors to assist the homeless veterans to regain their foothold in life. A place of privacy for the homeless veteran or homeless veterans with families. A place where homeless women veterans can feel safe and those with children a place to live together. A place that will accept referrals from the VA and other organizations for homeless veterans that “fall between the cracks” in their programs. That those homeless veterans with families be able to live as a family until a foothold is regained. The cracks in many of these state and federal programs are chasms with many homeless veterans falling through every year.

I also envision a charity that is the point on homeless issues, that corporations and municipalities can not institute “programs” to drive the homeless away from the life needing services that are inside cities. A charity should also be a defender of its cause also. I have not seen that with many charities rallying to a cause and saying “No this is not right” as in the Starbucks episode with Al. See “Starbuscks Shuns the Homeless“.

I seek to establish this form of charity. It takes time, energy, money, and volunteerism. I stress that latter for many reasons. There are many aspects of a charity that require “in person” assistance over financial at times. In the upcoming months I will begin launching this with the help of a few that truly know and understand homelessness.

It has taken a while to get this far and it will go further with more help.


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1 Response to “94.Just some thoughts – Charities”

  1. December 21, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Good information! I’ve recently done a post on a similar subject, Veterans Charities – The Good The Bad and The Ugly here: http://oldtimer.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/veterans-charities-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

    It turns out that some of these turn all or virtually all donations into services for veterans, whereas some turn virtually all over to … themselves or to the paid fund raisers, leaving almost none for the vetrans, while we, the givers, think it all goes to the cause we are giving for.


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