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In our newspaper and newspaper across the county there is a regular feature call POLITIFACT. It usually takes a statement by a politician or official, does a fact check, and rates the truth of the statement. My problem with the Politifact check is that it often rates statements ‘half true’ or ‘mostly true’ or ‘mostly false’. I am from the old school of philosophy where Aristotle said that Truth cannot be Non-Truth and Non-True cannot be True or ‘mostly true’.

There is a flyer about a sale at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift stores that ends with some facts. In my mind these factual statements are True or False. Here is my analysis of these two statement. I think my ratings are clear.

TRUE OR FALSE? Fact Check of Statements Made by St. Vincent de Paul Central Office in Milwaukee. Truth or Fiction, Decide for yourself.

In recent flyer for the St. Vincent de Paul Milwaukee Store Sales states:
“Did you Know…..
In 2015 Vincentians:
1) Made 4, 955 visits to homes, senior care centers and prisons.”
2) Provided $1, 819, 579 in goods and services to those in need.

Since the actual 2015 budget of Central Council of Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul or number of request for home visits to central office has not been made public even to the members of the Milwaukee Society of St. Vincent we can make these statements based on history, past and projected budgets, Rule and Manuel of St. Vincent de Paul.

1. Statement “Made 4, 955, visits to homes, senior care and prisons.”

The main mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to make home visits by volunteers to persons in need. When someone in the need calls the central office for help the central office receptionist uses an outdated computer system to see if the person lives in the designated geographic boundaries of the 55 conferences. Since there are only a few conferences in the most impoverished neighborhoods of North and South Central Milwaukee the answer is quite often “We do not have a parish conference serving your area”. If the person lives in the limited boundaries of a parish conference or if a parish conference is willing to make home visits outside of its area the person in need is told they will receive a call within two months for a home visits. The actual number of People who call for help and number of people served by conference home visits are not available to public and members of SVDP.

The Milwaukee Council of the St. Vincent de Paul in 2015 had no ministry to senior care centers and prisons. In past 166 year history of Milwaukee SVDP there have been special ministries of visits to prisons, senior care center, mental health complex etc. Presently the only SVDP Council ministry is to the two meal programs and

two thrift stores and there is No ministries of visits to senior care centers and prisons. My rating is False.

2) Statement “Provided $1,819, 579 in goods and services to those in need.

Each of the 55 conferences has an individual budget, raising own money and spending it on vouchers on home visits to people in need. About 99% of conference budgets goes for direct services, vouchers, to people in need. Conferences are charged 100% of retail values for vouchers, beds, clothes, household items, redeemed at the SVDP central council stores. They are charged 50% of value for furniture of vouchers redeemed at two Council/Central Office stores. For voucher items, like stoves or refrigerators, purchased at private vendors the conference pay 100% of retail price.

The actual Milwaukee SVDP Council/Central office budget for 2015 has not been made available to public or to SVDP embers. However, the approved 2015 SVDP central Council budget projected an income of $3, 417,525 and an expenses of $3, 714, and 644. The budget projects $113,000 (3%) of income for the needy conference fund to help about eight conference with vouchers to store and outside vendors. The rest 97% of projected income of SVDP Council budget was projected for Compensation, Operational and Occupancy Cost.

Thus only 113. 000 or 3% of 2015 budget of Milwaukee Council SVDP were to home visits. Also the Council budget does not reflect the 3.2 million debt to purchased and renovate Greenfield store, the $250, 000 of overrun, the $488, 000 plus lost for operating cost of Greenfield store in the first 8 months. Also the 2015 budget or the 2016 budget do not reflect the nearly million dollars raise in the Fundraising campaign. “My rating is False.”


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