Letter to the Editor

More about HEADstrong

To the Editor:

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” –James W. Frick

If you read the scant ruling provided by the Borough Council on the HEADstrong accommodation, you would be left with the impression that the only thing the accommodation allows is the use of 200 S. Chester as a facility to house “no more than seven (7) patients and seven (7) caregivers.”

Indeed, if this is true, then many of the concerns voiced by the neighbors in opposition to the accommodation would be satisfied. In fact, HEADstrong has additionally been asked by the borough to ensure the safety of the occupants of the house and provide handicapped accessible access to the house and bathrooms.

One of the biggest concerns voiced by the neighbors is that this new facility on their street will effectively be run AS A BUSINESS pushing the area from a road that is at the boundary of the Institutional/Residential transition zone to one that is interspersed with Institutional properties.

To make matters worse, Harvard Avenue has already been shown to be beyond capacity for vehicular traffic at certain times of the day so adding another business to the road is hardly likely to improve the traffic situation.

So it was with great interest that I observed the delivery of a roll-off dumpster to the site as the first indication of HEADstrong’s intentions for the property. Shortly after this delivery, HEADstrong indicated on their Facebook page that they are demolishing the basement of the property.

While it is possible that they are also performing work on other sections of the house, it is striking to note that the work that they most want the public to be aware of has nothing to do with either the health and safety of the patients or the accessibility requirements dictated under the terms of the accommodation agreement.

A well-run organization with the interests of cancer patients foremost in mind would prioritize the health and safety of the cancer patients and would do their best to ensure that the immediate neighbors are advocates of their organization or at least are not going to actively oppose their presence.

Instead what we see is an organization that is performing major renovations on the least habitable portion of the house and has succeeded in alienating every immediate neighbor and most people who live within three houses of their new facility. So I have to ask the question: Just what are the real intentions of the HEADstrong organization for their new facility?

Joe Kujawski
Swarthmore

One thought on “Letter to the Editor

  1. “If you want to get rich, really rich, start a non-profit.” Although I can’t find someone to whom I can attribute this quote, truer words have never been (un)spoken. If you want to know the true intentions of organizations like HEADstrong Foundation, take a look at their financial statements. Better yet, look at their fillings with the IRS, which are harder to … um, embellish. AKA, Follow The Money…

    Luckily, for the curious (cynical?) citizen, these tax returns are public documents. And you need not be a financial wizard to see when something just doesn’t seem right. For example, in 2014 the salaries for 6 employees (three of whom are immediate family members) totaled just under $450,000 (plus a near $30,000 travel budget?!), while the grants made to research, and presumably families in need, totaled just under $150,000. Suffice to say, the basement renovation doesn’t surprise me in the least. It already seems clear where their priorities lie.

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