Seattle Times Fund For The Needy

The NWSUNDAY section of Dec 4, 2011 had a full page about how Senior Services will help disabled or elderly remain in their own homes by doing minor repair for them. The article was well written by Carol Ostrom. It all sounds wonderful and up until about two years ago what is written was basically true. I am elderly, live in an old house alone and I used that service. They did minor electrical work, minor plumbing and minor repair. I paid for all material but only had to pay $10.00 an hour for wages. We need help with repairs and can’t pay the price that plumbers and electricians charge.

For the past two years they do NOT return phone calls. The phone says leave a message. No one will ever call back. No one will answer an e mail. No one will answer snail mail. Letters do not come back saying no such address. E mails seem to go to someone because no message says they are undeliverable. I immediately e mailed Times reporter, Carol Ostrom and told her that she should check out whether this place even exists anymore and if it does and service for anyone. She thanked me and said she would check it out. This brings up the point of how much you can believe about where your money will go if you donate. The Times say all money goes to the charities so I am not faulting the Seattle Times, but if they are not checking out the places they are highlighting to tug at your heart strings and encourage you to give then it should not be collecting donations. A while back there was an article about Senior Services not being able to account for a large amount of money. Something is very wrong here. But no one wants to find out what is wrong.

I don’t think anyone should donate to the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy if they wont even check to see if a place they are collecting money for exists. How do we know if the other things they write glossy reports about exist? Don’t send money, find your own place to spend your money, a needy family or pay lay a ways, or pay someone’s rent for a month or whatever makes you feel good but don’t fall for what you read in the papers, it’s not always true.

On TV they are telling about how some people have been going in K Mart and paying off the lay-a-way accounts where people are struggling to make a Christmas for their children. That sounds like a much more sure way to help someone who really needs it. But so many places that sound good use up most of what you donate to rent a building, pay themselves and a bunch of relatives wages and sometimes almost nothing goes to where you thought your money was going. If Senior Services exist, how does a person reach them? Obviously the Seattle Times Reporter is not interested in finding out if what she wrote is true or not. Maybe someone who reads this can find out.

UPDATE (12/21/11):

This is to update the article about Senior Services and the Times fund for the needy. Since I contacted the Times the “communication dam” broke wide open. No one seems to know why they never answered my emails, phone calls and seemed to be out of business. I am really sorry I had to go that route to get their attention and actually thought they did not exist anymore.

Since then I received the following from the manager at Senior Services:

Again, I am so sorry for your troubles and would like to help rectify the situation in any way possible.  I want you to know we will come fix your immediate minor home repairs at no cost even if your certification has expired.  I can only imagine your frustration and I want to be sure your needs have been met.  Please let me know directly what minor repairs you need and I will do whatever I can to be sure they are fixed asap at no cost to you.  After these repairs are made, we will go through the regular certification process to determine your eligibility for the next three years.  If you have suggestions or would prefer to have one contact for your requests for the future, I am happy to make those accommodations. 

I then was contacted by two people who work at senior services to tell me I have a file there and am certified to use their service until October 2012. They contacted me to schedule a date to do my minor repairs. They would have came yesterday but I scheduled for January 12, 2010. I am sure they will do the job and always in the past the people and the workmanship were tops. I paid for material and only $10.00 and hour. It’s a great service for seniors but not if they don’t answer emails or phones. I think that has changed now. They say they changed their website but no one has a clue as to why the last year they were impossible to contact.

Having lived in Seattle (Georgetown) for over 80 years, Lilly has a passion for the area. A true Seattleite, Lilly has the history & experience to discuss any topic. Being retired, she enjoys visiting with her many grand children, gardening, and writing.

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