NYC Homeless Organization Accused of Being For-Profit Non-Profit

By Joel Zand on November 24, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With the economy in shambles, you would think that a 24-year-old organization claiming to help New York City's homeless would be doing charitable work.

Guess again.

The United Homeless Organization ('UHO') was accused by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of being a for profit non-profit.

Coumo alleged that Stephen Riley, its founder and president, and UHO director Myra Walker, duped sidewalk donors into thinking their crew of homeless street-corner fundraisers were legit. Instead, the suit charges, the UHO's Riley and Walker lined their pockets with 'fees' they charged the homeless to beg passersby for contributions. Any money beyond the 'fixed daily fee' that the UHO execs charged the homeless ultimately lined the beggars' own pockets.

The suit alleges that Riley and Walker used donations dropped by New Yorkers into those infamous UHO jugs were actually used for personal expenses.

The UHO was accused of "fail[ing] to maintain any records of the hundreds of thousands of dollars of funds pocket by UHO workers at the tables," failing to keep records of how funds were collected and disbursed, and that the UHO didn't have any form of corporate governance or financial oversight.

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