It is about Responsibility. Accountability. Ours, as a 501c3 Public Charity
Straight Ahead Outreach-Taking back Your Life Inc. (STA)
***This blog and subject ONLY relates specifically to the Homeless Assistance World and the nonprofit organizations that are involved in it, primarily in the USA, although it really does apply anywhere. I am not speaking in relation to any other cause and or their organizations.***
Grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine or a cup of tea, sit back and relax, this is gonna be a long one. Its a huge topic, lots to cover. :-))!
I have been in and around the Homeless Nonprofit World now for approx 28 years in one form or another and what i am about to write about here is from those years of experience and observations within it.
I believe the nonprofit world as relates to Homelessness has made a major mistake. Most Nonprofits, be they classified 501c’s or not have placed their Hopes and most importantly, their Responsibilities on the Government. Major Mistake. Our Government needs to focus on running our country, infrastructure and safety, not baby sitting our causes that WE chose to get into in the first place. Our Government remember is run by humans, just like you and I. Our Governments cannot take on everything or every responsibility.
Many nonprofits count on, bank on the governments and all their grants and funding. Mistake, major mistake, because when there are massive budget cuts who gets cut first?
What ends up happening is the end result is a struggling nonprofit that can barely breath and the ones who suffer the most are the ones they are organized to help…those in need.
We The People, need to take on more Responsibility and Accountability.
***SIDE NOTE to Clarify: (This blogs focus is on the day to day normal needs of Homeless Assistance Nonprofits…not in cases of war or natural disasters. In cases of war or natural disasters then of course the governments assistance should take over as i stated above, part of their responsibility consists of our safety and infrastucture.)
No matter if you have created your nonprofit as i did, or if you were hired in to run the nonprofit, the intentions need to be the same. The reasons for getting into it need to be clear. They need to be: To benefit the Beneficiaries…..in other words those you are formed and organized to be assisting.
What has happened is, Government Contracts to nonprofits in the Homeless Assistance World have become lucrative for many, even made some millionaires. Not acceptable. Period.
When nonprofits were created and the tax deduct-ability status became evident, many began rubbing their hands together wondering…hmmmmmm….how can i get in on this action….what can I gain?…..Shame on you.
Many will disagree with me, i understand this and expect it, but i do not care if you disagree with me, i am not looking for popularity. This is about what I have seen and know personally. I have seen to much, as the system is set up to make money for people and it is out of control like everything else. Still it is not acceptable. Money for the executives becomes paramount compared to the actual need. The system is broken and unacceptably out of control.
We as a society have gotten ourselves in such a deep ditch of obscurity when it comes to Homelessness or People In need that it is not funny.
Society has been fooling itself, in fact led by the nose down a foolish path when it comes to Homelessness and or those in need, the organizations formed to assist them and those who donate to them as to why they are in the business or donating to that business in the first place.
Again, i will repeat…we as a society, somehow…for decades have placed too much responsibility on the governments for our Homeless Assistance Nonprofits. Again, why did you get into this business?
To help people……So do it.
Do NOT wait for the government or expect them to support you to do it. You may expect them to do a number of things, but that is a whole different topic, of which is for someone else to write about.
It needs to change…ALL of it. Especially the attitudes.
You, the General Public have been led to believe that it is our governments responsibility to support all of us nonprofits.
Simply put…no it isn’t.
Whether you are formed as a nonprofit or not in this Homeless Assistance World, many of you who assist the down trodden, those in extreme poverty, like us, you are ministries or have a spiritual nature about you.
The Governments Role: The Government set up the ability to become Nonprofits. In that, they set up the abilities for people and businesses to be able to donate to a “nonprofit business/organization” and obtain a tax-deduction and the “nonprofit business/organization” to be able to obtain goods and services for the reasonable benefit of the organization and its beneficiaries tax free etc.
In other words they said ….“Ok here are some tools for you. Now go take care of business!”
Then many homeless assistance nonprofits turn around and say… “Great! Thanks! Now give us some money to do it and whats in it for us!”
The Governments Role is to make sure our Country is safe from inside and outside threats. To build and maintain infrastructure. Simply, to “manage” our Country. The Governments Role is not to counsel the Homeless, not to make sure they are fed in the streets, not to clothe them, not to make sure they have personal transportation, housing and the like. It is the Responsibility of the Nonprofits.
The Homeless Assistance Nonprofit World has skirted and placed it’s responsibilities onto the Government. What has happened? It is simply only one aspect which has made the Government bigger. The government has had to become bigger to handle problems and issues it should not have to become involved in, run or operate. Build “Affordable Housing”??? “Affordable Housing” when the government is forced into building them only translates to: lets throw everyone we can at one time thats doing horrible and struggling together in one place and hope they do ok and then leave them to struggle further and wonder why they are pissing off the community around them and killing each other, dealing drugs, selling themselves, arguing, drinking in excess and more much much more.
It is not the answer. Also, it translates into: Now we have them all in one place, so the local Police can keep a better handle on them. No, this only places more burden on the local Police, because the “nuisance calls” increase. i have seen homeless emergency shelters where the police are there every single day, multiple times a day. Sorry, but THAT is on that particular shelter and its staff. The police should not have to be there every day, if they are You are doing something terribly wrong. ***Hint…you are most likely running it like a prison and your staff are most likely acting like guards in stead of Christ-Like. BTW, “Christ-Like” does not mean passive or weak. It means, smart and kind, but firm.
Homelessness Nonprofit Responsibility: It is our responsibility as nonprofit public charities to get the funding we need to operate and help those in need. It is YOUR, and OUR responsibility as the General Public to Donate to deserving nonprofits.
Lessening Burden on Local Authorities/Police: STA believes the City has a job to manage the City and provide infrastucture within the City IE: the governments). We believe the Police departments job is to do the job they were intended and trained to do which is to Protect and Serve the Citizens within the law. Therefore, one of ours and should be yours as a nonprofit helping those in need and in turmoil, suffering from depression, drama, drugs and alcohol abuse and more…should be to not be one of the sources of nuisance calls to your local police. You are in the business of helping those in need….do it.
With all this said…
Would Jesus have turned all His responsibilities over to another entity?
No, it is all of ours, all 100% of us. We need more monetary participation from You the General Public. In other words yes, the General Public must give more money to the nonprofits in order for that nonprofit to continue to do their jobs. I may have just lost you there but Please stay with me here…don’t hang up yet. :-))!
BUT, before you do donate to any organization….Stop, Think…..
For example…(and these are just a few teenie tiny examples):
1) Is the nonprofit one that provides meals to the poor or the homeless? If so, then what are the management and executives eating for lunch and dinner when on duty? Is it sausage gravy and biscuits like they are feeding those in need? Or do they eat off-site at a nice restaurant?
2) If you are a millionaire donor, is the executives office as nice as yours? It shouldn’t be. It does not need to be run down but it shouldn’t be cherry wood and gold. Does the executive drive a luxury BMW or Mercedes type vehicle like yours? They shouldn’t be.
3) What are the executives salaries? Is anyone over $100,000?
4) What are their priorities? If it appears to be fancy cars, high wages and luxurious offices right off the bat….I’m sorry…they are in the business for simply the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, i would like a nice vehicle too and a comfortable office. And i would love to make a wage at what i do here at Straight Ahead Outreach. HOWEVER, the wage does not need to be excessive, my car does not need to cost $75,000 and my office simply needs to be comfortable and function well, again not in excess.
Priorities…the Beneficiaries need to be the Priorities, not me, not you.
The Homeless Assistance World…It is not rocket science.
Yet it IS hard work. It takes a major investment of time, energy and money on everyone’s part. Everyone.
It is about Helping Others, Helping people. It is about Helping people either stay on their feet or get back on their feet.
It is about preventing Homelessness.
It is about being there to pick up the pieces.
It is about People Helping People. Every single one of us helping another.
IT IS NOT about………Well, It is not about the 99%.
It is not about the 1%.
It is about the 100% !
Each and every single one of us, Globally.
Homelessness Assistance Organizations: Whether you are formed as a nonprofit or not in this Homeless Assistance World, many of you like us are ministries or have a spiritual nature about you.
Even if you are not an official “nonprofit”, but you strive to help those in need, most times many of you have that spiritual nature. It really does not matter if you are a nonprofit or not. If your “calling” is to Help, even if you are simply an individual then this blog is about You too.
With that said, I, we, you, everyone, must…..better yet, have a responsibility to Jesus and His Father to re-consider why we are in this business of helping others. Is it for personal gain or is it to really, truly help others in Jesus’ name? For HIS and His Father God and their purpose and not our own???
IF, you say, like I, we/STA do, that you are doing what you do because of Jesus for example…..well, there is a great deal of Responsibility which comes with that. Responsibility to Jesus Christ and His Father…Our God.
Relying on the Governments of the world or placing our Responsibilities as Christian organizations and or individuals on the Governments of the World is simply skirting our responsibilities. Passing the buck so to speak.
Let me simplify it…Did Jesus do that?
Granted, Jesus had many powers. You and i do also if we put our Faith in Him. Jesus had the power because he had Faith in His Father in Heaven.
That is not being naive…..
(Bear with me here).
If you cannot grasp the concept of having that power, and i can relate to that…then maybe we can all simply grasp the concept that as followers of Jesus Christ and missionaries of Him….then at the very least we can Mirror Jesus and what we know He would do.
So now i ask you again…..Did Jesus skirt His responsibilities?
Can we, should we Mirror what and how Jesus goes about doing things?
All we have to do is what Jesus and His Father God in Heaven would want us to do. They would want us to act on behalf of them like they have taught us to do.
They would handle it. They would want us to handle it too. With their help.
We cannot forget about them and or their involvement in our organizations or even why we help others in the first place for even a minute.
Ohhhhh nooooo….do you think you help others because you are such a wonderful person? Ohhhhh….I am sorry…..
No….No you do not….
It is because Jesus asked His Father, Our Creator God, to allow you to work with Him(Jesus) to help others.
With them, WE ALL can handle it too. Just do it. Simply try it. Go ahead, try it today, right now in fact. Take the step.
Go, right now, take it upon yourself to go help someone, doing what ever you can to help them.
Don’t wait for the local or federal government to do it. Do not wait for them to put some money into some program or nonprofit. Just Do it.
You can help someone yourself directly or help a nonprofit who relies on You, the General Public for help in helping others. It is up to you.
But, Do Something.
When we place so much on the governments we back them into an ugly corner where they shouldn’t have to be in the first place.
What happens when you back an animal into a corner? You get attacked and bitten. What happens when you corner or threaten one who is believed to be a violent criminal? You get lashed out at, attacked very possibly. What happens when you attack or threaten a loved one be they a family member sibling, spouse or friend? They withdraw or run from you.
Governments cannot take on everything or all responsibilities. Look at what that has created. We as people, as the General Public, back the governments into a corner. We place too much on them and then wonder why everything is falling apart and then blame the governments even more.
IT is time for ALL of us, all 100% of us to accept Our Responsibilities and Our Accountability as people…to take care of our people, each other, our personal environments and those who are in them with us. Let the government do what they were originally designed to do.
Let each of us, as followers of Jesus Christ and His Father God do what WE are designed to do, be you Jewish or Gentile and that is to accept our Responsibilities as given to us by our GOD in Heaven and relieve the governments of great burden. That alone will better our Communities, our Countries, better our World and it will happen quicker then you can even imagine.
Let us follow Jesus and His Father’s lead. Let us Mirror them, imitate them and take responsibility for our ”Calling”.
It is what indeed, Jesus Christ and His Father in Heaven Jehovah God/Yahweh would do. Meaning….DO…not simply watch or pass the buck or point blame to the governments or local police.
Let us all, all 100% of us, be us nonprofit organizations or individuals…let us take the burden off of them (governments & police) and see how our world, our countries, our cities, villages, counties and neighborhoods will change.
So what do we do about all the monies being funneled into nonprofits via government grants, contracts and or programs….and yes your tax dollars.
Get Involved More…Participate More….Give Monetarily More….Yep More…
Because we will be replacing those funneled in government funds which many times go to the wrong need….meaning not the beneficiary, not the person or persons in need.
Benefits of not placing the responsibility on the government and giving more directly as the General Public:
1) You will know what is being done
2) You will be in control of your monies and where it goes
3) More will get done in a timely manner at the right organization. This depends too on your perception of “more.” More does not always mean “100,000 people fed this year.” Consider what were they fed.
4) You will remove the “money politics” out of it.
5) You will be providing more direct help
6) Less nonprofits will go out of business or struggle due to being cut off of federal funding due to budget cuts.
7) Equipment needed to actually help those in need more will be obtained.
8) In the end, possibly, quite possibly, You will have helped to make a profound difference in your country and the world by participating more, sacrificing more, giving more.
9) But do not forget as you delve into this…what are the particular nonprofit or groups priorities. If their priorities are for self gain and riches…Do not donate, do not give, do not participate in their organization or group.
10) More freedom for the nonprofit to help those in need like family rather then like military or prison like settings with cold cement block surroundings.
***Updated 4-6-2013 at 11:00pm***
Sorry i forgot one and maybe the most important one: **You will have an improved and streamlined government who is better able to focus on You.
Priorities…the Beneficiaries need to be the Priorities, not me, not you.
The Solution = YOU and I, ALL 100% of us:
Bottom line here is….it is not up to the governments to babysit, take care of, hold our hands and support the nonprofits who help the homeless, underprivileged, depressed and downtrodden…..it is up to us. It is unfair and a huge mistake to place that responsibility on the governments when it is you and I that created each of our nonprofits or agreed to operate one of them.
We agreed because we felt it was our “calling.”
Is it? Or isn’t it?
I sincerely appreciate you very much for taking the time to read my lengthy blog today. I understand there is a great deal more to talk about ob this topic and a great deal more many people may wonder about. I will attempt to do that in a future presentation here on our website.