|SFHomeless Yahoo! Group|
The SFHomeless Yahoo! Group is a unique, independent, community based support group, moderated by anonymous homeless and formerly homeless volunteers, in San Francisco, California.
We operate various member, public and media oriented web sites where real life experiences are shared to benefit us all.
As of January, 2009 -
1. The Original SFHomeless Yahoo! Group Site:
This site has over 100 regular members and lots of lurkers.
Members include residents, local agencies, journalists, social justice advocates, medical and mental health care professionals, service providers, shelter and housing service providers and clients, ADA Advocates, peer advocates, whistleblowers, reformers and corporate moles.
Over 5,000 messages posted since November of 2007, including safety and weather tips, survival guides, legislative alerts and the real life experiences of the men, women and families experiencing Homelessness, in San Francisco and around the world.
Hundreds of files with best practices, standards of care, complaint forms, Grand Jury Reports, local, state and federal agencies, local food, clothing, medical, pantry and shelter resources and more.
Lots of information, resources, true stories of neglect, abuse, fraud, funding, living and working conditions, photos of meals prepared in shelters, links to 16 Photo Albums and stories about reform, change and kudos.
This site has a lot of inconvenient and often negative truths to report about how our taxes are spent and sometimes wasted by a variety of methods and practices which harm our people, too.
But, this group always strives to recognition of people, city leaders, non-profit staff and others who help our people in time of need with dignity and respect, minus the lies, fraud and waste.
2. SFHomeless Y! Group Blogger:
This is our groups' public blog site. Tons of in depth stories, photos and exposure on this site.
A milestone of more than 3,000 Page Views has been passed by Visitors from all over the world. Even various corporations mentioned on our site have visited, but they don't say much !
We did stories on German Diebold Voting Machines (the ones they prohibit verification and paper trails in 2000, 2004 and other elections, to date) and about some unscrupolous Subway Sandwich Shop (at Sutter and Polk Street, the others were all legal) who were illegally charging State Sales Tax on food items purchased with our USDA Food Stamp Benefit EBT Cards, whom are all 'trained' and processed by the J. P. Morgan EFS, Corporation.
As you can see...
Your Stories Are HOT NEWS and people who care about you and those who want to profit off of your backs are paying attention to your real life experiences and struggles like never before, in our modern history.
3. SFHomeless Y! Group NowPublic Media Site:
One of the original web site designers of the group gave us his NowPublic Media Site which has recently passed some 27,000 Page Views with Visitors coming from all over the world, from all walks of life.
Several of Your Stories published there have received good marks the number of Visitors has doubled in less than a year, so keep up the good work !
We have recently passed legislation (Shelter Standards of Care) as a first step towards recersing nearly 15 yeas of cyclic and systemic patterns of abuse, neglect, corruption and waste which plagued our people in need. They were basically 'rotated' from program to program and shelter to shelter with little or no active and unbiased oversight by our City's contract compliance officers and other various agencies.
Now, we are in a period of massive reform. Throwing out the old ways and in some cases, the old obstacles which has stood in the way of our health and safety for nearly 2 generations here.
With new understandings, better tools and more validated feedback from our community, we are moving in new directions to benefit us all, as one united community against waste, abuse, corruption and neglect of our people and our tax dollars and community donations.
Many tax funded and non-tax funded have begun the painful process of 'cleaning house' of any bad affects which are not in the nest interests of our community.
Some people, city leaders and program providers are moving along to reform faster than others. Some of them, unfortunately either refuse to do right and change or are unable to do so. They have been showing their true natures and are being exposed for all to see.
Others are making remarkable progress towards improving the health, safety and the living and working conditions of our people on the streets; in our parks; and inside our resource centers, agencies and shelters, including our SRO's (single room occupancy hotels) where we have some 30,000 people living in 500 buildings.
We will continue to recognize and honor every person, place and thing that is honest and good that works to improve and save the lives of our people in need.
WE THANK YOU WHO ARE MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES EVERY DAY TO HELP US.
CREATED BY THE HOMELESS COMMUNITY TO SERVE THE HOMELESS
Our SFHomeless Yahoo! Group serves to provide homeless individuals and families with access to useful information; insider tips on shelter conditions (quality of staff, meals, etc.) to help protect and improve the quality of life of homeless people living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
OUR MEMBERS COME FROM ALL OVER THE COMMUNITY
Homeless people, government and non-profit staff, community organizations, journalists, activists, advocates and whistleblowers are all welcome to join in.
We also maintain a Blog at Blogger.com which can be found at this link. SFHomeless Yahoo! Group Blog at Blogger.com
WHAT YOU CAN DO AFTER JOINING THIS GROUP:
You can submit stories, tips, complaints and suggestions to help homeless people that live on the streets, in the parks and inside homeless shelters.
READ AND SUBMIT OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL INFORMATION, REPORTS, NEWS AND TIPS:
We offer easy access to official and unofficial information about poverty and homelessness
We have all kinds of files and links to Official Government Audits, Reports, community activities and City sponsored work groups like the 'Homeless Shelter Standard of Care Work Group', which is under the watchful eye of The San Francisco Shelter Monitoring Committee; which inspects and monitors the quality of life and conditions, inside our City's homeless shelters and resource centers.
We have also have current and archived news stories, research, investigative reports, tips and advice, on all kinds homeless and housing related issues.
GET ACCESS TO 'END HOMELESSNESS' PLANS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY:
Various five and ten year 'ending homelessness' plans written by all sorts of government agencies, scholars and social advocacy groups, from around the country, are also posted to the group's Files Section.
LIFE ON THE STREETS AND INSIDE THE HOMELESS SHELTERS:
Submit and read real life accounts of what's happening now in the shelter systems. First hand testimony about homeless people struggling to expose abuse, theft, violence and corruption inside shelters in San Francisco and around the country.
Group Members upload real photos of meals served in several shelters and you can see photos depicting health and hygiene conditions of the tax funded shelters. See what the Shelter Providers are doing or not doing with Your Tax Dollars and Donations.
LEARN ABOUT COMMUNITY BASED COMMITTEES AND PEOPLE MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES:
Read about and participate in local San Franciso workgroups and committees that are actively writing legislation to serve as a model for 'Minimum Standards of Care' for our City's Shelter System. These new Standards are being implemented to put and end to cyclical abuse and lack of government oversight over the past decade.
THE HISTORY OF HOMELESSNESS AND HOMELESS SHELTERS IN SAN FRANCISCO GOING BACK TO THE 1906 EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE THAT LEFT SOME 250,000 RESIDENTS HOMELESS IN SAN FRANCISCO
Our Homeless Shelters are getting better, but they have a long, notorious history of abuse. Some of the Management and Staff causing problems 'back in the day' are still employed at our Shelters and Resouce Centers, today, because of a gross lack of hiring standards and lack of enforcement over the years
Historically, various City agencies and shelter policies have fostered an often dangerous and corrupt 'captive shelter environment' in which drug dealing, abuse, violence, favortism, nepotism and corruption have endangered our City's homeless for many years.
SAN FRANCISCO'S 'MERRY-GO-ROUND' SHELTER SYSTEM
Some of the same people (staff, management and client residents) have been living in several shelters that often rotate staff and 'regular' clients, around and around like a Merry-Go-Round, going to and from shelter to shelter, in an attempt to avoid exposure, accountability and prosecution for their abuse of our Shelter System, which is very expensive.
WE DO HAVE SOME GREAT, SAFE SHELTERS, BUT THOSE ARE NOT THE ONES WE SPEND MUCH TIME WORRYING ABOUT.
IT'S THE OTHER SHELTERS THAT ARE NOT VERY SAFE THAT WE ARE MOST CONCERNED WITH.
THE ONES THAT BREAK ALL THE CONTRACT RULES AND CITY AND STATE LAWS ARE A BIG PROBLEM HERE. THEY ACT AS THOUGH THEY ARE PROTECTED AND 'ABOVE THE LAW.
THE REALLY BAD SHELTERS HAVE BEEN ABUSING THEIR STAFF AND RESIDENTS FOR YEARS. NO ACCOUNTABILITY OR 'ENFORCEMENT' OF THEIR MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACTS.
THEY OPERATE OUTSIDE OF THEIR CONTRACTS AND OUTSIDE OF THE LAWS AND ARE PROTECTED BY SOME OF OUR CITY'S GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER - PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS THE KEY
We have some very high level International Research Documents that speak about NGO's, non-profits and widespread corruption that will give you a clear picture of how lax enforcement, nepotism, favoritism and other political, cultural and social factors all go 'hand in hand' to create entire organizations and operating environments cause great harm to even the best of Cities and Nations.
WE DO HAVE SOME GREAT SHELTERS THAT WE ARE PROUD OF HERE
We have some very fine shelters and we are proud of and feel very safe in the Shelters that do not tolerate abuse, violence and corruption. They tend to have decent hiring practices and work hard to keep their shelters safe and clean.
Central City Hospitality House, Dolores Shelters and a few others try to keep ahead of the community and shelter legislation by 'doing right' by their staff and clients.
Other shelters however, by their own long running policies and bad practices, routinely hire dangerous, violent and drug addicted felons that were just released from prison.
SOME SHELTERS HAVE HIRING PRACTICES THAT BENEFIT THEM FINANCIALLY BUT PREDICTABLY CAUSES REAL RISK & HARM TO SHELTER STAFF AND RESIDENTS
Some Shelters often hire staff (too often friends, relatives, etc) that are not qualified which is unfair to them and unfair and risky to the community and result in great risk, waste and loss of tax payer dollars, donations and resources.
Sometimes, staff and clients are mentally and physically harmed by the sheer lack of 'quality and performance' staffing standards which would be the better way to manage and spend our community tax dollars and a whole lot safer for everyone.
It does not have to be this way, placing good people at risk for financial gain, but this is part of the reality of our Ciry's 'antiquated', status quo shelter system.
WHAT HOMELESS PERSON CAN POSSIBLY FEEL SAFE WITH A RECENT, VIOLENT FELON WATCHING OVER THEM AT NIGHT WHILE THEY SLEEP OR THAT PREPARES THEIR MEALS, IN THE SHELTER KITCHENS.
Without exception, the homeless people we've talked to at great length over the past year are in favor of hiring non-violent felons whom have proven themselves by being clean and socially ready for a couple years, prior to being hired by a shelter or resource center because they make good role models.
However, they are all totally opposed to the hiring of felons, fresh from prison. It's not fair to put recently released felons into positions of authority and power over homeless people who are very vulnerable and suseptible to abuse and cons like loan sharking, drug use, theft and intimidation.
HONESTLY NOW. WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND, RISK LETTING THEIR 70 YEAR OLD GRAND FATHER - SPEND ONE NIGHT IN A HOMELESS SHELTER - BEING LOOKED AFTER BY FELON THAT JUST GOT OUT OF A PRISON, LAST MONTH AFTER DOING 2 TO 5 YEARS ON AN ASSAULT OR DRUG DEALING CHARGE ?
Would you let a drug addicted, vulnerable family member stay in a tax funded shelter bed be 'cared for' and watched over by a man or women that just got out of state prison last month that served a five year prison term for dealing drugs, domestic violence or robbery ? Didn't think so.
Without exception, the homeless people and families we talked to want the best role models possible and do not want anyone with a recent violent or drug related prison record to watch over them, as they sleep at night or to have possible access to their confidential records.
SOME SHELTERS DO NOT HAVE OR DO NOT ENFORCE ANY DECENT HIRING STANDARDS AND DO NOT DO ANY KNOWN RANDOM DRUG TESTING OF THEIR STAFF AND MANAGEMENT.
ON THE CONTRARY, MANY STAFF HAVE LONG, WELL KNOWN HISTORIES OF VIOLENCE, DRUG USE, DRUG SALES, PROSTITUTION.
THEY CAN GET TAX CREDITS FOR HIRING THUGS THAT JUST GOT OUT OF PRISON LAST WEEK!
THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A PREFERENCE FOR LETTING RECENTLY RELEASED FELONS GET INTO SHELTER BEDS AHEAD OF GOOD HOMELESS PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN WAITING ON LISTS FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS !
Several shelters hire all sorts of people that are unqualified, with recent drug, weapons and violent offenses to be hired to watch over the most vulnerable members of our communtity.
Instead of hiring qualified staff (which can handle more stress and more clients and would reduce shelter costs and decrease conflict, violence and risk - real harm reduction) they often hire incompetent staff that are not ready or should never be placed in positions where their conduct or lack of skills may result in harm or loss of life over the most vulnerable, at risk members of our community.
THEY PUT MONETARY GAIN AHEAD OF PEOPLE'S SAFETY AND WELL BEING
They even probably get tax breaks for hiring felons fresh out of prison. We'd like to see felons 'make it' in our community, but not by setting them up for failure or at the expense of the safety of our homeless residents. Our City has jobs that are safer and less stressful for convicts that have just been released.
Recently released felons and our homeless people both need to be in appropriate and safe environments, so that they will not be at great risk of failing to 'get back safely' into our mainstream community.
NO DRUG TESTING FOR THE FORMER DRUG DEALERS THAT WATCH OVER OUR RECOVERING DRUG ADDICTED HOMELESS, ELDERLY, DISABLED AND POOR THAT HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BE IN A SHELTER.
There aren't even any mandatory drug testing policies in place or hiring standards or mandatory staff qualification requirements in our City's tax funded shelters. The level of abuse, theft, violence and preventable injury and death in our City's shelters are unacceptable.
THAT IS NOT HARM REDUCTION. THEY CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD.
HIRING FORMER AND RECENT DRUG ADDICTS AND THIEVES TO WATCH OVER THE HOMELESS IS LIKE TRYING TO PUT OUT A SMALL FIRE BY POURING GASOLINE ON IT. IT SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK. IT HAS NEVER WORKED AND IT WILL NEVER WORK. THEY ARE PLAYING GAMES WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES FOR THE SAKE OF MONETARY GAIN, AT OUR EXPENSE.
Our group intensively researches; and conducts informal interviews and meetings with all kinds of shelter staff and clients.
We do this without any grants, salaries or compensation, in order to document and expose the people, the policies and procedures that endanger and harm good homeless residents and good shelter staff, every day and night. And all of these insane abusive activities are being funded by tax dollars and community donations with little or no real governmental oversight and enforcement.
WE WORK INDEPENDENTLY WITH THE COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT TO SERVE THE HOMELESS, ELDERLY, DISABLED AND POOR RESIDENTS, FIRST AND FOREMOST.
WE DO THIS BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT THEM AND PLACE THEIR SAFETY ABOVE ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND SPECIAL INTEREST COMMUNITY GROUPS.
Our group serves as a way for homeless people and homeless services staff and the community to work together to address quality of life and human rights issues that impact the residents and staff of our taxpayer funded homeless shelters.
JOIN US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR HOMELESS ACTIVITIES LIKE SF HOMELESS CONNECT AND OTHER RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE IN NEED
At our Yahoo Group, you can also learn more about a bi-monthly community event called 'SF Homeless Connect' which is being modeled in about 100+ Cities, around our country and our world.
SF Homeless Connect brings hundreds of volunteers together with thousands of the Bay Area's homeless, to get them in touch with a wide range of housing, food, non-profit and governmental services.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR DAILY STRUGGLES !
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH PEOPLE WHO TRULY CARE ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE AND ISSUES:
You can email anonymous complaints that we will register and submit to various agencies, committees, investigators; journalists and attorneys. Whatever it takes to Make The Change.
You also can share photos, stories, tips, suggestions and discuss issues with other homeless people, related service providers, whistleblowers, agencies and advocacy groups that are concerned about the quality of life, safety and the human rights of homeless people.
JOIN THE SFHOMELESS GROUP @ YAHOO GROUPS TODAY !
To Join this Yahoo Group; to submit your stories and tips or to get more information; click on the links below:
To Visit the SFHOMELESS Yahoo Group Website:
Send Email to Volunteer Moderators of this Group:
'IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The SFHomeless Yahoo! Group is an independent, autonomous group started BY homeless people FOR the benefit of homeless people, in San Francisco, California'.
It is NOT affiliated or run by any particular city agency, shelter provider, advocacy group or any other group or website with a similiar name.