The ALSO Foundation has hit back at tough criticism that it should be wound down.
Last week the Star Observer reported that ALSO is in danger of collapse unless members approve $500,000 emergency funding financed by the trust arm of the organisation — ALSO Care — to keep it afloat until the middle of next year.
Crusader Hillis told the Star Observer the organisation welcomed criticism, but refuted claims that it had abandoned its original purpose to look after gay seniors and called for the community to help support the organisation.
“I take on board we should be taking every criticism from wherever it comes from … but we are going to be in a position where we do need to ask, ‘Do you want ALSO to continue?’ ” he said.
A special general meeting is scheduled for April 20 where members will vote on allowing the funding to take place.
“There’s no other guaranteed survival of either ALSO Care or the ALSO Foundation unless government and community get behind us … and I have to keep stressing it’s not just about aged care,” Hillis said.
“Everybody seems to think they knew exactly where ALSO Care started, but they don’t understand much of the history at all.”
Hillis said ALSO Care has five objectives, not just to look after aged care, but also people living with, or at risk of, HIV, looking after the homeless, and providing general care to the less fortunate in the community.
“When you put things into the bigger picture and what our reasons for being are, everyone looks at the aged care and the nursing home as being the end of the story and that is as far from the truth as is possible.
“If people did realise there are five objectives, rather than one, it would make a very big difference to how they really believe the future of ALSO should be as well.”
Since news of ALSO’s serious financial troubles, criticism has surfaced that, with a limited income stream, ALSO should have been targeting its core objectives rather than taking on a broad sweep of issues.
ALSO has already earmarked the $500,000 funding to go towards employing a full-time ALSO Care worker in the area of aged care and disability services and a part-time volunteer coordinator.
“Most of the stuff in our strategic plan is relatively easy to achieve with very limited resources and, yes, it’s true we’re going to have to shift our focus a little bit more towards voluntary stuff, but I would actually argue that has been the case for years, and that’s the way we do it,” Hillis said.
ALSO member Geoff Richards — who spoke out about the foundation’s spending during the last annual general meeting — will this week send a letter to all members urging them to vote against allowing the foundation to take the $500,000.
“I don’t think there is any way the ALSO Foundation can survive. They will just take the half million, spend it and inside 12 months everything will be gone and both organisations will collapse then,” Richards said.
“The present strategy in my view will put nails in the coffin of both organisation.
“You think of it in a family. If you were the only wealthy sibling in a family and you’d been lending to a profligate brother or sister for years and they come back and say, ‘Hey, we need more, we want to keep on spending just like we’re doing, but, bad luck, it will put you into bankruptcy, give me the money’. You just wouldn’t do it.”