Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Homeless Inc's Street Sheet's Printing Bill is How High?

After twenty-years or more of observing and occasionally engaging with the Coalition on Homelessness nonprofit, I've never seen them present achievable plans. Their staff and executive director constantly state what is wrong with current City policies and they're against this and that, but forget about asking supporters to push govt agencies to enact solutions.

In recent months, the Tent City homeless encampments grew under the Division Street freeway overpass creating numerous public health hazards for street folks, neighboring residents and businesses and passers-by. COH deplored the situation, their executive director Jennifer Friedenbach met with Mayor Ed Lee's chief of staff Steve Kawa and was in regular contact with City agencies, but good luck finding their list of actions for solutions.

On March 5th, after the City swept the tents and homeless folks away, COH issued a timeline on the sweeps and buried in it was the above list of steps.

Note that no City bureaucrat is targeted to provide the portable toilets, garbage clean up or needle drop-boxes. Should we contact someone - anyone - at City Hall for those services? Nope and COH wants a plan, as if we don't have plenty sitting on shelves gathering dust, oh, plus it must be shared with Homeless Inc who probably won't like it. Same old shit.

My sympathy goes out to San Francisco's homeless population first and foremost for not having housing, but also for suffering under the inept leadership of Friedenbach and COH and how they compound problems.

COH's latest IRS 990 tax filing shows their revenue in 2013 was at $291,200 and assets listed at $83,700, while in 2014 revenue jumped to $432,900 and assets totaled $178,200.

Friedenbach's annual salary was $21,700.

Since they don't receive any govt grant, COH's robust increase of revenue and assets came from private donors. What good it does is another question that needs addressing.

The amount spent on COH's Street Sheet publication that homeless folks use to solicit funds and goods, stood out on the tax filing at $48,900. In the previous year cost of the newspaper, usually three sheets for a total of six pages, was $23,000 according to their filing.

Curious that the cost of producing the paper more than doubled in a single year.

Given the high number of homeless folks on the streets that I see or interact with daily, and yes it seems there are more of them, I can say there have been a handful of times in recent months when I saw someone peddling the publication.

In the grand scheme of and large govt bills for homeless people and programs in San Francisco, the COH's comparatively small budget and how they spend it may not be high on the public agenda but that is no reason to avoid scrutinizing their work, financial stewardship and leadership.

What good does COH accomplish?


vcdiva said...

Great article!

Rusty said...

Something is fishy about this. If the executive director of COH is paid less than $22000 per year, and the rest of the staff is paid even less, where does the rest of the money go? Okay, $48000 for printing the Street Sheet. That still leaves a lot of money unspoken for. Are there other ways that the staff is being paid other than through official salaries?

I've always thought that many of these organizations were being paid by the city ostensibly to solve various social problems (like the homeless problem), but that in fact the organizations had no intention of solving the problems and were actually trying to PREVENT them from being solved -- inasmuch as if these organizations actually did solve the problems, their staffs would soon be out of their jobs. But this explanation doesn't work for the situation at COH if the salaries are so low and are not being paid by the city anyway.

So what's going on here? I'm very puzzled. But I agree with you, Mike -- the COH and other homeless advocacy groups are failing utterly to help San Francisco make progress in dealing with homelessness.