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Profiting off the Homeless

Updated on August 11, 2015

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

When “Faith Based Initiative” government money became available to assist Christian nonprofit organizations in this country, something happened. Man’s imperfect human nature reared its’ ugly head and greed took over.

Free money for the taking is what it amounted to. You would’ve thought it was the California gold rush. Self proclaiming “Christians” dashed to get their share. Sadly, many thought it was just another way to line their pockets.

I know because I managed a Christian men’s homeless shelter for over seven years and saw it happen. It occurred in several other local organizations as well.

This is not to say all such institutions are guilty. Many sincerely follow their God given mandate. I’m a prime example of someone who was salvaged by one.

I was alcoholic, having panic attacks, suicidal…a real mess. Then things got bad. I ended up homeless. Fortunately, a Christian men’s’ home took me in.

This institution had been founded by a couple years earlier that saw a need and filled it. They, however, refused to accept government money preferring to draw support from local churches and community citizens. The facility flourished. Unfortunately, the founders have passed on.

There was a vegetable garden and residents worked temporary jobs (some became permanent). They attended church, had bible studies and enrolled in Christian alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation programs. Simply put, they were becoming mature, responsible citizens again.

Sometime after their establishment a merge was made with another group providing services to women and their children. So now there was a place for men as well as women and their children.

Where do I fit in? Several months after my arrival at the home a position as facility manager was offered to me. I accepted. Years passed and our men’s shelter continued to function as designed. No one got rich…that was not our purpose.

However, things began changing after our executive director retired due to advancing age and another woman took charge. (The director’s office was located at the women’s facility). This change coincidently coincided with the “Faith Based Initiative” conception.

Apparently, the bulk of money to be made lies with women and children programs. See where this is going? The decision to accept government funds was made and anyone who disagreed, were subsequently fired on trumped up accusations or they simply resigned in disgust. They knew what was to follow.

The men’s facility, once a clean, well kept place to live is now filthy. The men’s director has been accused of being homosexual. A prayer chapel has been turned into a weight room. Christian scriptures, which adorned the hallways, were trashed. There are no more church services. Bible studies have been canceled. Vans used in getting residents to jobs broke down and were never repaired. All churches have withdrawn their support. So, what became of funds designed to fix these ills? They just didn’t disappear…or did they?

And what of the women’s shelter? No Christian activities have been observed but otherwise it’s assumed they’re thriving. I use the word assumed because it’s been heard from reliable sources one hundred thousand dollars has been “misplaced”.

They exist as a “Christian” nonprofit now in name only. Regrettably, it’s the homeless that suffer and their numbers increase daily. Many Americans are only one or two paychecks away from joining them. What would happen if those running these homeless programs became homeless themselves?

Our community desperately needs a homeless shelter not motivated by profit. Myself and others who successfully ran the one before the change would love to operate it, but alas, there are no funds. Wait a minute!!! I heard about this government program…”

It’s a sad commentary on society when profit becomes more important than people.


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    • profile image

      Dorian 6 years ago

      Be warned, you can't serve God AND money. All Christian leaders who are fleecing the flock and running a business disguised as a ministry, will pay dearly in the end. When it comes to the love of money, it truly is the ROOT of ALL EVIL!

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Very interesting stuff here. I'm going to think about the content here for a while. I'm in agreement with things stated here and am against "poverty for profits" and do public speaking, myself, on this issue. I see several shelters and agencies in my city making a profit and keeping a constant head count for the funds that result...I'm sure the issue is more complicated but surely SOME places and individuals are making money from the marginalization of real people. I'll read this again later. Good hub.

    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina


    • Right Black profile image

      Right Black 7 years ago from Huntington Beach, California

      JY3502, sad story but this is what happens when big government gets involved, there is always someone to take advantage of the system. What was meant for good, they use for evil. Thanks for the hub.