If Homeless Self-Help Employment Program, Inc. (HoSHEP) does not fundraise, it's because we have seen it happen so many times, that an association which began with a strong commitment to social action, witnesses its focus drift from helping others to helping self. In the beginning, they devote 100% of their time to solving people's problems, repairing wrongs, curing social ills, and helping others. As time passes and money flows in, they end up devoting only 10 to 25% of their time to the reason why they began social action in the first place. And worse, they discover that money has accustomed them to a lifestyle they cannot sustain unless they have funds. As a result, funds, funding, and funding sources become the central tenet, not advocacy or helping others. The frenzy to make money, more and more money, is what deprives others, especially the weak, of the bare minimum necessary for their survival. It's one thing to see this attitude prevail in the corporate world; when it becomes endemic in the advocacy circles, then there is ground for pessimism.
Capital cannot be the solution to the problems it creates, and greed cannot solve the ills greed brings forth.
HoSHEP advocates for the homeless, but perhaps most importantly, HoSHEP advocates for a turnaround in social action thinking.
HoSHEP's message as far as this attitude is concerned is: "Do the work and do not worry about funding. If what you do is useful to others, a Jennifer Dohrn, or many Jennifer Dohrn will call you one day and urge you to initiate contact with ADCO, or any other funding source willing to honor a late husband who was one of its directors by making a donation to her favorite charity. "I have chosen you," she'll shout cheerfully. All the help HoSHEP has received in its five years of existence came that way, not in writing grant proposals.
When W. Haywood Burns asked us how he could help HoSHEP, we told him: "Give us some of your time, man." He was surprised, for he thought we would ask for money. When after Haywood's death Jennifer Dohrn asked us the same question, we gave her the same answer.
If you really listen to homeless people, you hear the only (real) complaint they have: "You never saw my face." If you really want to donate something to HoSHEP, give us some of your time, so that you may look at a homeless person to see his face. This is what you will see: The exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt to Israel can be equated to a state of wandering and homelessness. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face shone... (Exodus 29); and when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone... (Exodus 30). Yes, there is a mystery in the face of a homeless person, a mystery that sees only those who really look to really see.
Nouk Bassomb, Director
James Terrell, Outreach
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
There is a requirement that members of the executive branch and the directors must have had a homeless experience, that is, they must be or must have been homeless. The heavy weights sit on the Advisory Board.
BOARD OF ADVISERS
Roshi Bernie Glassman