You can help change the face of poverty today going forward.
My name is Khai Doan. I am a software engineer living in San Jose, California. Over the past few years, I have seen similar images around my neighborhood and where I work. Similar images are being seen throughout California, Seattle, Washington, and major cities in America. This is not only happening in a third world country. This is America, and these are American citizens. Life is not supposed to be this hard. The situation is getting worse. Humanity is failing and chaos may be coming (if it is not already here)!
I have watched approximately 60 videos on homelessness, understand the causes and potential solutions. The most recommended solution from the politicians and the nonprofits’ side is building more affordable housing, but this solution is expensive, have a lot of push-backs from the citizens, and take a long time. I know why we failed, but I don’t know if we can continue to permit failure.
I and two colleagues of mine have formed a nonprofit, HomelessToFarmers, which is 501c3 tax-exempt, recognized by the IRS, to combat this situation and make the world a better place for our children, and for your family as well, but we need your help!
At this moment, we are exploring two solutions (one at small scale, and one at the federal level).
At the small scale, HomelessToFarmers will explore the idea of creating businesses to address this problem, and we want to start with farming. We are raising funds to buy a 200 acres farm. With this farm, we can help approximately 200 people out of homelessness per year. The cost of buying this farm and equipment, and other costs add up to about $21,000,000. The good thing is, after the first year when we have to buy the farm and trucks, the second year onward, we will have about $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 in profit. We will be doing organic farming. Because HomelessToFarmers is a nonprofit, this profit will be reinvested, and we will be able to double our capacity every 4 or 5 years. If proven successful, this gives us time to explore other types of businesses, and may serve as a model to encourage other people to do the same. This $21,000,000 is only one third of the cost of constructing a building of 200 affordable housing units.
The challenge that I have with this is that government agencies, and private foundations prefer to give money to nonprofits that have been around and have some track records. To increase our chance of getting grants, we’ve created a crowdfunding campaign to raise approximately $200,000. This would show that I put in significant effort, have community support, and establish a track record (traction) to make it easier to obtain grants.
The solution at the federal level involves working with Congress to restructure the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department. HUD was created as part of president Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty 1965 to address America's housing needs. When president Ronald Reagan cut funding for HUD in half in 1982, that triggered homelessness in America almost overnight. Because of this, and various other reasons including the economy, homelessness has worsened to a point that the UN inspector called it a humanitarian crisis in plain sight in certain cities in America. Is America getting richer or poorer?
The idea is to restructure the HUD so that it is not subjected to the federal budget cuts. In 1930, president Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as part of the "New Deal" to help America recover from the depression. Despite its shares being owned by the federal government, TVA operates exactly like a private corporation, and receives no taxpayer funding, and therefore is not subjected to federal budget cuts. We need to tell Congress to restructure HUD to be like TVA so that it is not subjected to federal budget cuts. Congress should probably make a one time initial funding for this new HUD, and this should not require a tax increase. We intend to work with other advocacy groups on this. We do not know what the total cost for this effort would be but we guess it to be around $300,000. This would include salary for me, few experts to work out the details, and few activists to make sure that this idea does not fall on deaf ears. The goal is to get this legislation adopted into law before June 2021.
The cause of homelessness is due to the failure of our prison system, the gangs, the mobs, the education system, economic system, racial discrimination, economic disparity / displacement, and NIMBYism. Cities are struggling with homelessness (affordable housing) due to NIMBYism, and fixing homelessness might require more than restructuring HUD, although it would be a good starting point. The real cause of poverty / homelessness is the lack of compassion, understanding, and plenty of ignorance, hatred and fear in our society.
I am glad that companies are introducing inclusion training into their training programs as the result of recent riots. But I think that we need to bring compassion / inclusion training into high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools, so that when a person enters the workforce, he / she has a good character and understanding to be a good compassionate citizen. There are ways to add compassion / inclusion training into the education system without creating a brand new class, but it will require training the teachers. This will help eliminate gangs, crimes, racial issues.
Not all homeless people start out using drugs. A large number of homeless people are normal people like you and me. They, for some reason (bad health crisis, bad accident, or losing their job during an economic downturn) find themselves on the street, and unable to get back onto their feet. Have you ever seen a homeless person and thought that person can be me? In today’s economy, many Americans are struggling, living from paycheck to paycheck, and people over 40 have a hard time finding a job after a lay-off. Do you have sufficient money saved up in your bank account? What would happen if you cannot find a job after six months or a year?
Are you sure that you won’t be homeless after a bad divorce, a bad accident, a bad health episode, or a lay-off? Many homeless people turn to drugs to forget the painful unfortunate reality. Worse of all, the shortage of affordable housing is severe such that there are homeless families with young children living on the street or bouncing between shelters.
A bit about myself, the main person behind HomelessToFarmers:
I was born in October 1974 into a South Vietnamese family. My mom and dad were from the north but they ran south for political reasons. In 1975, when the North Vietnamese government took over the South, they put my dad into prison for four years. When I saw my dad for the first time (when he was released from prison in 1979), he was a walking stick. After that, the Vietnamese government continued to oppress us. They tried to take our house. They would not let us go to school unless we bribe them. We planned to escape Vietnam by boat but that failed. They put my dad in jail again for a few months until an acquaintance got him released. Life in Vietnam was very dim. I had no hope for a better life when I was living in Vietnam. But in 1990, my family was allowed to migrate to America, because some people pushed the American government to pay the Vietnamese government a certain amount for each political family to leave Vietnam. In America, I received assistance and grants to go to school. I now no longer depend on these social benefit programs. At some point in time, I realized that I owe my life to society and I want to give back to society as much as I can, and solving this homelessness / poverty issue is my way of giving back.
We, humans, all have many flaws, such as jealousy, greed, and ignorance, but we also have kindness and compassion. In a time like this (the virus, the riots), where is our kindness and collaboration? When human kindness dies, we die.
If we ignore homelessness, the problem won’t go away. No one plans on being homeless when they grow up, and no one wants to live in a neighborhood impacted by homelessness (noise, needles, mentally unstable people, disturbed scenes, crimes).
HomelessToFarmers is a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit recognized by the IRS. We are registered to accept charitable donations in California. We are aware of other crowdfunding campaigns where people abuse your financial contribution for personal gain, and end up in jail. I do not want to end up in jail. I want this project to succeed in a legal manner. That is why I started this nonprofit. I want this to be scrutinized by the IRS. I hope that the IRS can keep us ethical.
We need to raise between $200,000 and $300,000. This is a large amount, but we believe that if we can recruit enough people to fundraise on our behalf in smaller amounts such as $2,000, we can hit this goal and be able to make this world safer for ourselves and our children.
Will you fundraise for us on our behalf? You do not have to cold call people. Just talk to your CEO, your boss, coworkers, friends, family members to see if they live or work in an area with a lot of homeless, how they are impacted homeless, whether they feel safe, worried, concerned for their safety, depressed when there are a lot of homeless people in their neighborhood, and what they think can be done, or need to be done to make the situation better. Tell them that you are trying to raise X dollars for a nonprofit that is trying to change this situation, and ask if they are willing to help. An in person, face to face, conversation, or a one on one personal chat works best. If they are willing to contribute, then send them an email with a link to our donation form. Who knows! They may admire you for your effort. There are other fundraising ideas out there, but in this time of COVID, please be cautious and stay safe. To get started, follow this link ( https://pages.donately.com/homelesstofarmers-867a/create-fundraiser?campaign_id=cmp_af73c60f6444 ).
No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.
3493 Princess Margaret Ct, San Jose, CA 95132, US
HomelessToFarmers is on a mission to eliminate homelessness, poverty, and advance society.
HomelessToFarmers is a nonprofit in California. We are very small, new, and thus unproven. We know that homelessness is an age-old problem. We know that shelters, and advocacy groups exist, but have limitations. In California, the homeless population has increased over the last few years. According to Einstein, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
We do not mean to insult shelters, or advocacy groups. They work but have limitations, and we need to add a different kind of solutions to the mix. HomelessToFarmers takes the approach of creating businesses, and thus opportunities. Actually, this idea is not new. This had been tried by a few successful nonprofits, such as Delancey Street and Homeboy Industries. HomelessToFarmers intends to study the success of these nonprofits and figure out how to scale them.
We have engineering background, and part of our daily job, we innovate and solve problems, and sometimes that means examining everything, leaving no stone unexamined until we find a solution that works. We want to apply our innovation, and problem solving skills to solve human problems.