Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BAR: Time for HIV Charity Under One Roof to Close?

(DJ Schulz holds open the door at the swanky new Under One Roof store in San Francisco's Financial District. Credit: Jane Philoman Cleland, BAR.)

People with AIDS and the larger HIV community should quickly wise up to the serious fiscal problems at nonprofits and the evolving nature of our needs, versus the rocky stewardship of executives and boards of directors at the nonprofits that provide fewer and fewer direct services to clients.

To wit, the demise of NAPWA and the Native American AIDS Project and the refusal of Paul Kawata at NMAC to make his three current IRS 990s available on his group's site.

We also have to look at the entities that raise money for the nonprofits. As the Bay Area Reporter's Seth Hemmelgarn notes in their latest edition, the such an entity is raising concerns about their purpose and honesty:

[The Under One Roof charity] that's provided dwindling payouts to beneficiaries over the years is set to move into a swanky Financial district mall, despite the fact that it just dumped its costly Castro Street shop and hadn't previously announced plans for another permanent storefront . . .

Now, the organization is set to move into the Crocker Galleria in April. A ribbon cutting at the new location is scheduled for Friday, March 1 . . .

After Under One Roof moved to 518A Castro Street in 2008, the annual rent went from $85,000 to more than $200,000. A former board member helped with those costs, but the space became a money pit. The agency announced last year it would close the shop early in 2013, and did so January 31.

What the hell were they doing paying so much rent for that prime location, when PWAs in the Bay Area are desperate to either find or retain their housing and could have used a portion of that $200,000? That former board member is an idiot.

Must have been nice for the staff, board and volunteers to play sales clerks and cruise the boys on Castro Street while so much money flowed down the sewer in front's of Harvey's bar!

The crew running this show must be shamed into putting their scam out of business. Under One Roof leaders have abundantly shown they exploit PWAs and are out of touch with reality.

The tone of the paper's coverage, and quotes from other AIDS executives who are normally loathe to speak critically of other groups in public, poses a huge question. Is it time for this group to close?

Cynthia Laird, in her BAR editorial, takes a stick to the behinds of the board:

Unfortunately, Under One Roof's designated spokeswoman, Jennifer Kutz, has declined to speak with us. That's too bad, because we're certain that people living with HIV/AIDS and the organizations that have benefited from Under One Roof over the years would like some answers . . . There is a stunning lack of transparency among Under One Roof's board. And it brings to mind the problem nonprofits face when they are no longer effective or needed.

The handwriting is on the wall about this group. Do PWAs and the community a huge favor. Close up shop. Go out of business. Please.

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