Wednesday I had a conference call to talk about raising money for the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and in my typically diplomatic way I said that our website sucks, and offered to build a blog to replace it. So here it is.
I hope people use it. WRAP has this vision of building an alternative way of doing homeless advocacy and organizing that isn't about victim-blaming and ignoring inequality, and all six groups in the coalition have been around the block a few times and have mostly left their dogmas behind. We could learn a lot from each other.
We can also see what the pattern is, and it's the obsession with chronic homelessness by advocates and increasingly harsh laws being pushed by downtown interests. This isn't something you hear a lot about. That's because all the air has been sucked out of the room by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and now they get to define everything about homeless advocacy.
A few months ago a friend was visiting who has hated the NAEH for far longer and much more virulently than I. She's been working on me for years. She won.
We were talking about the Ten Year Plan thing when I wondered aloud how well their siamese twin thing with the US Interagency Council on Homelessness had paid. I Guidestarred their 990's and the 2003 and 2004 tax returns tell an intriguing story. In 2003, NAEH income was about $1.7M. This was typical of previous years. In 2004, the budget jumps to almost $7M.
It's not often that organizations achieve that sort of extraordinary growth. I've heard that most of it was attributable to a $5M Fannie Mae grant, but haven't checked to see if it's true. It sounds about right.
But I was talking about the blog wasn't I? Anyway, there's some amazing organizations in WRAP doing some great work, and there really has to be a way of doing homeless advocacy that doesn't sell out the poor to boost the property values of the rich. I don't think that's what any of us are here for.