After the death of Susan Prather in August 2008, the vision and mission statement she put forth for the Fresh Start homeless assistance program have been tarnished under its current executive administration.
As a senior homeless and homeless advocate of 20-plus years, and a volunteer at Fresh Start for less than two months, I was amazed how the homeless -- or as I like to refer to them, "The Invisible Society" -- were not always treated kindly by Bill and Robin Lunghi at Fresh Start, and were often berated. Furthermore, some volunteers who were let go were simply told they were "not a good fit for Fresh Start." I saw these things myself, and I know others who could verify such assertions.
Who would let go of caring and loving people wanting to volunteer and make a difference in a homeless person's life?
This is not a vendetta against the Lunghis, who are leaving Fresh Start (Sept. 30 Times), or a witch hunt as some people may believe; these issues and concerns have been ongoing for years after Prather's death, and before I became a volunteer at Fresh Start. Many people have been aware of said matters, issues and concerns.
Also, Bill Lunghi's claim to be a co-founder of Fresh Start isn't true; he did not become involved with the program until three years after Prather established it.
As the Queen of the Homeless Advocates in Walnut Creek, Susan Prather, we love you and will continue with your vision and your mission to serve the homeless with love in our hearts.
I bid you the best, Bill and Robin Lunghi, in your retirement and hope your future endeavors do not include working with the homeless, "The Invisible Society."
Gil Herrera is a Walnut Creek-based advocate of the homeless.