Donations by the community to a homeless shelter in Pompano Beach are supposed to be sold to raise money for services to South Florida's homeless population. Instead, says a former resident of Broward Outreach Center, the most valuable items are being purloined by the center's staff.
In one instance, says the tipster, an entire truckload of furniture was rerouted from its usual destination, the Miami Rescue Mission's warehouse, to a staff member's North Miami home.
"The stuff ends up in the homes of Broward Outreach staff members," says the man, who asked to remain anonymous, for fear speaking out would cost him support from the center in the future.
The man says that one staff member, a former gang member who was reformed thanks to the center, pulls up a Chevy sedan "and he tells [fellow staffers] to fill it up."
Two women who work at the center pluck out the best shoes and dresses, says the tipster, who says the directors of the center don't know what happens when the staff catalogs donations.
But center director James Whitworth knows now. "That's certainly not what we're about," he said this morning when I told him about what the former resident reported. "Our intent and our donors' intent is to help the homeless."
I asked Whitworth about security measures in the center. He described how the donations are carefully cataloged and then kept in a locked room until they're shipped to Miami to be sold. But staff has access to that locked room.
Whitworth told the Juice that he would begin an investigation immediately. That entails a review of the tape from closed-circuit cameras that monitor the room where donations are processed. We'll check back with Whitworth in a few weeks to see what he found.