Op-Ed: Is This The Business of Scamming Veterans Or Is It Charity?Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 5.59.44 PM
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Outrage is the first thing I felt when I conversed with a fellow veteran about the hell his daughter and her husband, a US Army soldier went through when dealing with the charity, “Making A Difference Foundation” and its “Homes for Veterans” program. So me being inquisitive, I started researching this and found quite a few reports from veterans who used this charity and had nothing but heartache and angst over what they received and how they were treated.
“Making A Difference Foundation” is a Seattle/Tacoma based charity founded in 2003 by Ms. Ahndrea L. Blue with what I’m sure was with all the good intentions one could have when starting a charity of this magnitude. With that stated, my first stop was the Better Business Bureau page on this charity and the first thing that catches my eye is the red box with the exclamation point – “Did not disclose” and that one complaint that it had on record was closed. Why would this charity choose not to disclose whether or not it met the standards of the Better Business Bureau if only one complaint was on file and that complaint was resolved?
Later in my search, I found two KING 5 News investigative pieces on “Making A Difference Foundation.” In the first piece, the veteran, Ms. Kathie King not only is interviewed about her ordeal, but also provides pictures and documents about the home she was placed in by this charity and it made my stomach turn; I can understand a home needing to be remodeled, but to ignore an infestation of rats? Later in this same investigative piece are two veterans who moved into the very same house Ms. King moved into a year before. KING 5 News’ second investigative piece was an update on “Making A Difference Foundation” and its “Homes For Veterans” program being scrutinized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington State Attorney General. “Since KING 5’s story aired in March, more veterans have come forward to describe their experiences in the foundation’s Homes for Veterans program” and I’m sure more will follow.
But back to the Better Business Bureau page on “Making A Difference Foundation” and an item of note from KING 5 News’ first investigative piece on this charity, Ms. Ahndrea Blue stated “that the foundation has evicted six veterans since the program began in early 2012 and has dismissed several others, but they are the exceptions among the 41 veterans who’ve taken part in the Homes for Veterans program.” Putting the six veterans evicted aside, where are the 41 veterans who’ve taken part in this program and their recommendations to use this charity? Seems to me that I’d want this success to be noted either by the Better Business Bureau or at least used as a reference if this was my charity. Omitting this leaves me to wonder, are these 41 veterans truly satisfied with this charity and Ms. Blue? She alludes that these 41 veterans were “satisfied” and expects the rest of us to draw the inference that because these 41 veterans took part in this program, they’re considered “satisfied” recipients.
As more veterans come forward to publicly air their dealings with “Make A Difference Foundation” and its “Homes For Veterans,” we can be sure that more investigative pieces and now lawsuits will start to pile up for this charity who appears to be in the business of scamming veterans.