The story you are about to read is true. Only the names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.
My friend, “Marie Claire” needs a lawyer. Here is the issue: Up until very recently, God’s Salvation Shelter, Inc. was a nonprofit organization that helped homeless people in the Los Robos area (a lot like The Shepherd’s Office does in Georgetown).
Over time, their leadership at God’s Salvation Shelter had fallen to a point to where they found it impossible to even fill the required five positions on their board of directors. Practically no board meetings were being held. Their volunteer help for sheltering had dropped to a point that now they are no longer sheltering the homeless at all.
Even though Marie Claire was a member of the board of God’s Salvation Shelter Inc. she recently became aware of decisions that were being made (outside of board meetings) over the last few months. During the last two scheduled board meetings (July 18 and August 2), God’s Salvation Shelter’s board president spoke about a plan to merge God’s Salvation Shelter Inc. with Transitional Housing, Inc. also a local nonprofit. To Marie Claire, it was obvious from what the president was saying that the plans had already been put in place to give God’s Salvation Shelter’s bank accounts and building to Transitional Housing , Inc. It is Marie Claire’s understanding that Transitional Housing, Inc. then plans to sell the God’s Salvation Shelter’s building and use the proceeds for transitional housing (not for homeless sheltering). Marie Claire explained to the board that she was not in favor of their plan and was not going to vote in favor of it. Immediately, the board president made a motion to remove Marie Claire from the board before the vote on the merger was taken. The motion passed, Marie Claire was voted off the board and the merger was passed by the three remaining board members.
So here is the problem. Back in 2016, Marie Claire gave her entire life savings (nearly $500,000) to God’s Salvation Shelter, Inc. in order for them to purchase a building to shelter the homeless. She has a legal donation agreement with God’s Salvation Shelter, Inc. It stipulates exactly how the building was to be used to support the homeless and addicted. Marie Claire and God’s Salvation Shelter agreed to and signed the document before Marie Claire gave them her life savings.
It now appears she has been “conned”. God’s Salvation Shelter purchased a building (previously the Chimetown Church) with Marie Claire’s donation money but they have left it abandoned, in disrepair and unoccupied for the entire five years. The church roof is in bad condition and is leaking. Even though God’s Salvation Shelter was issued an insurance settlement check (nearly $14,000) to fix the roof and a Christian contractor wants to do the job because it is a church, God’s Salvation Shelter’s board has neglected to have the roof repaired!
The donation agreement stipulates that if “God’s Salvation Shelter Inc. decides to disband, the building is to be transferred to another nonprofit organization, preferably a homeless shelter”. None of the stipulations that were in the donation agreement have occurred. No rehabilitative and support programs have been established in the building. The donation agreement has not been honored in any way and to date, there is nothing being done there to help the homeless.
The building, once a thriving church that closed 7 years ago, is a historical landmark. For a century and a half, it supported a group of African Americans whose ancestors settled in Chimetown shortly after the Civil War. It is Marie Claire’s wish that the building be used for the good of the Chimetown community.
No matter how this turns out, we at The Shepherd’s Office are so glad God brought Marie Claire to us! She is quite a remarkable woman. Marie Claire is a 70’s plus year old, decorated Combat Nurse War Veteran. She lives very conservatively. She drives an old 1999 car, lives in a little 640 sq/ft cottage and eats mostly packaged dinners. A devout Christian, Marie Claire is tremendously active in her church. She and those like her have made the USA a great nation. She is the salt of the earth. We are in awe of her accomplishments.
In The Shepherd’s Office, Marie Claire has found an active and established nonprofit organization that can immediately begin Christian programming and supportive activities for the homeless, the hungry, the lonely and spiritually orphaned at the Chimetown church. Marie Claire wants God’s Salvation Shelter Inc. to live up to their donation agreement and give the church to The Shepherd’s Office, praise God! We at The Shepherd’s Office are up to the task of getting this church reopened. With God’s help, your prayers and the help of our ever growing, tremendous volunteer base, we will accomplish what has seemed impossible!
To us, it seems that what has happened to Marie Claire is illegal. God’s Salvation Shelter took a huge donation from a kind, helping, minimally pensioned, older person whose only intention is to help others in dire need. They have not fulfilled their end of the agreement. They must allow Marie Claire the exclusive right to decide what happens to the church building. This looks like it could be a land grab. It can easily be construed as elder abuse and quite frankly, it is a disgrace.
Marie Claire needs an attorney that is willing to take on God’s Salvation Shelter, Inc. and make this right. Please help us find that attorney!