Posts Tagged work

Work Program

According to the DOL, an employee is in a learning position if she/he receives training similar to that which would be received in a vocational school. The employer cannot receive immediate benefit from the employee’s training and her/his presence cannot displace regular employees. She/he is under the watchful eye of a regular employee or trainer. In addition, the employee and the employer both understand the terms of the arrangement and the employee understands she/he is not entitled to wages for her time in training. Her/his training may lead to a job, but it does not necessarily have to lead to a guaranteed position.

“The Keep” has the homeless do everything, from checking the homeless in, cleaning, cooking, sorting donations, to office work and more for a stipend of $80 or $100 every two weeks. There is no training!  The shelter definitely benefits as they don’t have to hire employees to fill these positions. These work program participants are considered staff and most believe they are employed by “The Keep”, even request employment verification forms to be filled out at times,  only  to learn then that they are and never have been employees.

The work program is an abstract concept on paper to solicit foundation money and to avoid paying wages.

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Human Rights

In 1948 the United States signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states under Article 25:

“(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

Housing as a human right has been reaffirmed in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which the United States also signed in 1966.

Has anyone taken inventory lately?

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Nepotism at work

“The Keep” is presided over by a board of directors that pretty much is oblivious to the plight of the homeless, so much, that the previous director was able to convince most people in the shelter that she owned the shelter and it was hers to with what she wanted. This claim was supported by the fact that her husband was second in command and her daughter third. So, imagine you had a grievance, who would you approach?

Her husband was addicted to painkillers and psych medication and when he ran out of pills he got from several doctors, he would buy from within the shelter. His wife had him on a very short leash and he never had money, so he pawned his jewelry to those who out of fear would sell him their own prescribed medication. In his ill mind paying for the pills was the right thing to do, never mind if someone refused he would give his wife a reason to bar that person, telling her that person had been to another shelter would be enough reason. She did not like it when people sought resources from other agencies in an effort to improve their circumstances.

I remember once his wife had bought him 1 ct diamond studs and within a month he had “lost” them. Of course she knew, would tell everyone in how much pain he was all the time, how sick he was and how grateful everyone should be that he still would come to work and take care of the homeless. After a while when he ran out of ways to pay for his habit, mysteriously a few people were accused of stealing, their belongings searched, jewelry found and of course they had to leave the shelter. But that did not end the cycle, he just targeted different people.

Her daughter would date homeless men from within the shelter and when the “relationship” did not “work-out” the director would run around the shelter and scream and holler how “that guy took advantage of her daughter, got caught stealing, was the devil, and you all better not betray me like that or I make sure you have to leave town”.

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Homeless people are needed

Homeless people are “homeless”, not coatless or sandwichless!  Sure, they do need temporarily help with clothing and food, but beyond that I have not seen one donor coming back “hey, I got a place for you to stay”. Why is that?

Those in need and those wanting to help have entered into a symbiotic relationship. On one side the needy have their short-term need answered by receiving a free coat and a sandwich and on the other the person providing the coat and sandwich feels good about handing out donations.

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Setting examples I

I remember several years ago the then executive director instructing the special assistant to falsify a drug test, which by the way were always targeted (never random, always aimed at a specific person) and used to intimidate and ban people. In this case the director did not approve of a black man wanting to date a white woman and decided to create circumstances that allowed expelling him from the shelter. “God marked us differently so we know and don’t mix, he wants us to stay pure”, was this directors conviction. Mentioning evolution would be answered with “well, no monkey has evolved in front of me yet”.

In another case a man was accused of having rented a storage unit to store things he supposedly stole from the shelter. There was no evidence, no witness to this accusation…  the whole story was conceived and carefully coordinated in the directors office to expel the man and tell him if he complained a report would be filed with the police “and who do you think they will believe? A homeless guy or me?”. This poor man had “dared” on several occasions to point out unfair and unjust treatment of several homeless people and no one questioned the director, ever.

Then there were several people, one man and one woman in particular, who could get away with just about anything. Nothing was done when they came in high on drugs, drunk, they could take whatever they wanted from donations, eat whenever they wanted, come and go as they saw fit – simply because they would inform the director of everything that was said and done within the general  shelter population. On a weekly basis these people would be paid with money allocated for people who worked odd jobs around the shelter – money that was donated in good faith by a person, a business, a church, a foundation.

….. to be continued

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Conflict of interest

The saga continues now that “The Keep” has a new executive director. One of the new sub-directors brought in a federal organization to help the homeless. Turns out, in granting access to the homeless population within “The Keep” a $20,000 scholarship debt was forgiven which the sub-director would have had to pay back. Of course, afterwards a point was made on how much the organization would benefit the homeless population with the services it provides. The only one that benefited was the one who just “lost” a $20,000 debt. Three days after the executive director’s assistant pointed out the conflict of interest and the executive director admitted “he might have known about the debt”, the assistant was fired.

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What to do with $500,000

Claiming your donations are being used to help the homeless is not always the truth. Half a million dollars could pay the rent for how many people for how long? That amount recently was paid to the retiring executive director by the board of directors of “The Keep”. Of course there was a non-disclosure agreement attached to the money, but that was violated the first day the outgoing executive had a hardcopy. The outgoing executive had expected a million dollars and was very upset about getting “only” half, showing the contract to everyone who would listen and with that violating the terms, but the board of directors went ahead and paid anyway. “The Keep”, claiming to care for the homeless will reimburse medical supplement insurance cost for the retiree as well.

However, the homeless people working at the “The Keep” receive a stipend every two weeks under the pretense they are being trained. The truth is that these homeless people are being exploited, there is no training and the positions they hold should be filled with employees. Matter of fact, most of the people running “The Keep” are homeless people paid via stipend, denying them lawful employee rights and protection.

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