Asheville Homeless Network is forgetting that people are more important than paperwork
Opinion from Jerry Nelson's Journey America blog:
About nine years ago Asheville Homeless Network (AHN) was established as a glorious experiment.
Could a non-profit program be set up by homeless – and formerly homeless – people to meet the needs of the currently homeless? The answer was a resounding YES – until now.
It began as a noble gesture. A program to help the homeless – run by and for the homeless. Clothing was provided. Shoes made available. Bus tickets purchased. And 1001 other things that the homeless need to get through their day. ...
There was a time that people were more important than paperwork. Not willing to go the route of other social service agencies that rely on shuffling papers, crossing every “T” and dotting every “I”, AHN quietly went about doing good over the years for thousands of people. ...
My, how times have changed.
With annual elections just held a couple of months ago, the personality and structure of AHN has undergone a sea change in substance.
Where once there was an open, grassroots environment that allowed people to explore new avenues for helping the homeless, AHN now wants to make sure all the paperwork is correct and in place for Raleigh. The free-form that enabled Chris Sullivan to start the phenomenally successful business – Home Free Bagels – that puts the homeless to work has ended. Such is the small minded and wrong headed thinking going on in AHN that Chris herself has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars.
AHN is now being run primarily by people who have never been homeless. ... They’ve done everything except experience the trauma of life on the streets for themselves. ...