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  • Writer's pictureChurch@thePark

HOMELESSNESS MYTHS


We’ve discussed the “in it for the money” myth before.  For this myth we are going to focus on a particular expression of that myth.


A common criticism that many non-profit organizations hear is: “People don’t want to contribute to salaries—they want to contribute to the fulfillment of the [nonprofit’s] mission.” That’s from a non-profit consultant in a recent news article.  Another similar sentiment is: “The money should be going to the people!”


For our own budget, about 66% of our budget goes toward staffing.  (Note: a previous newsletter said 90%.  That was a typo!  66% is the correct number.)  Spending that much on staffing is not an accident and it is not a secret.  In fact, it is very intentional on our part and it is one of the main reasons that we are able to fulfill our mission and why we have been so successful in helping people exit homelessness.  


Our shelter sites are staffed 24/7 because our goal is not just to give people a place to reside.  Our intent is to give people a safe, sanitary, and supportive place to reside while they work on taking steps towards long-term stability.  


We are not always sure what is meant when people say “the money should go to the people.”  Is the goal to give people money?  Or is the goal to help people move from homelessness to stable housing?  In order to support people in their journey towards stable housing, we need well-trained, caring, and hard-working staff who can provide day-to-day support, case management, and other vital services.  We need staff like Jacob (see our previous Instagram post) who are finding creative ways to help our guests develop lifelong skills that will help them in their journey.


Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including the federal government, the State of Oregon, City of Salem, different foundations, businesses, and private donors.  As you can imagine, many of those agencies actually have very strict guidance on how funds can be spent.  For instance from our state contracts 85-90% of the funding is required to go to direct guest support.  Depending on the contract, we sometimes only get reimbursed for 10% of overhead costs, even if we are spending more than that.  Based on our unaudited 2023 financial statement, our total expenses were $8,167,452 and $1,045,736 (12.8%) of our expenses was for administrative costs.


 

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