BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION

Rating: 2.6 stars   20 reviews

Issues: Mental Health, Human Services, Immigration

Location: 11070 San Leandro St. Oakland CA 94603 USA

Mission: Building a Solid Foundation (BSF), founded in 2003, exists to support individuals struggling with homelessness. Acknowledging the destructive effects drug and alcohol addiction can have on the lives of individuals and families, BSF strives to support the recovery effort with a focus on sustainable life changes.
Target demographics: homeless addicted to drugs, alcohol, or both.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 954 men and 263 mothers with children.
Geographic areas served: SF Bay Area
Programs: Building a Solid Foundation provides direct assistance through our 180 Day Drug and Alcohol Program, 365 Day Transitional Housing Program, 12 Step Recovery Program, GED support courses, and our Urgent Shelter Assistance Program for women with children.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I came across Dennis Claxton with this organization while at the Walmart in San Jose today, He was collecting funds for the holidays. The thing that struck me the most was his cheerful attitude. The next thing I noticed was his story. I have never done drugs or alcohol, but I have an alcoholic brother. I've seen the bad things happen. I wanted to commend Mr. Claxton and this foundation. Thank you for being there.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Good Evening,

I was at Save Mart in San Jose and I ran into one of your volunteers today. It was a gorgeous fall day and I had some extra time. I listened to Doug Scheurn telling a young woman how to find shelter for herself and her two small children.

Mr. Scheurn was well spoken and quite open about the rewards and disappointments of his drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Within a few moments, Doug had finished. He simply told me 'God Bless You' and 'Have an amazing day!'.

I went to my car and drove home. I made Doug lunch, grabbed him a cold water from the fridge, dipped into my Christmas money, and returned to Mr. Scheurn.

Without a pause, I gave him a tupperware container of food, and ice cold water, and dropped a $20 in his bucket. Doug gave me the warmest hug, many thanks, and a little hope. Thank you.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I was out shopping today when I came across Thomas Lincoln requesting donations for this organization. I had a moment, so I looked them up on my iPhone. I spoke with Mr. Lincoln and he was obviously both involved and sincere. Times are tight, and quite honestly......so am I. I was so compelled by Mr. Lincolns' story, I dropped a $20 bill in his box.

Keep up the good work!

God Bless You All.

Karen Scholet

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Rating: 2 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The man sent to Wal-Mart on Ballentine in Fremont is loud and rude. If people put money in the Salvation Army bucket, he would yell at that person saying"Hey, what about us!", at the same time if people put money in his container, the Salvation Army bell ringer never replied in kind, by yelling "What about us!" The bell ringer said good morning, good day, hello, thank you, have a good day, take care,etc.-never once asked for money nor demanded any.

He would talk so loud, that children covered their ears.

He would single people out by saying "Pretty lady from India" or "Man from India" and ask for money. Problem by doing that, if the person is Pakistani, they might feel offended as the two countries are not exactly bosom buddies. They could be from Iran, Egypt or even from Mexico. Because a person looks Indian, doesn't mean they are. We had friends from Israel and when we all went to Mexico, the people down there spoke to them in Spanish, just because they "looked" Mexican.

He would preach about how Abel and Cain were the sons of Satan and that Ham was the only true son of Adam and Eve. He had other portions of the bible mixed up too. His preaching wasn't just for a minute or so, but sometimes last for 10-15 minutes or longer. He also preached about the "New Order" and how they were going to do away with money and if you weren't one of them, you would be left with nothing and then he asked "what will you do when the lights go out?" Me? I'm lighting a freaking candle, just like anyone else would do.

Unfortunately, he had a problem with his clothing twice in one day. While going into the store, he pulled his shirt down in back. He should have pulled his underwear up instead! His jeans were down in the back so far, they apparently pulled his underwear down also, resulting in a large portion of his behind being exposed to everyone. Thankfully, no children were around at the time. I believe the parents would have complained to the store management.

How do I know all these things? I was the bell ringer for Salvation Army. People asked if he was part of the Salvation Army. I said no. They asked me if he was legitimate. My answer every time was I did not know for sure, but I believe he was; after that, it was up to them to decide. The majority put money in his container, only a couple people didn't.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Being loud does not mean you'll collect more money than you would if you were softer spoken. Loud makes people go out of their way to avoid you. You should never assume a person's nationality. And if people don't put money in your container (for whatever reason of their own) you do not have the right to yell at them demanding they give money to your group too. Being courteous to everyone should be a required action for people seeking donations.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 1 stars  

Except for a cool guy named Eric (Oakland, CA), these guys are a pain in the butt! You can't shop anywhere in CA and try to save money without running into these guys. These guys harass you on the way in and out of the store. They do lie and tell you they're volunteers. They're unprofessional, and clueless as to how to solicit properly.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Train these guys how to solicit properly.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

Building a Solid Foundation is exactly what (whom) they claim to be. I, too, am a Christian. We shall pray for you. We’ll accept our judgment from God alone.
We are a nonprofit organization who has, for the past 10 years, been providing warm beds, hot food, people to talk with, church on Sundays, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Relapse Prevention meetings, and a welcome respite from the streets.
We offer a six month recovery center and a six month transitional living program. All of our fund-raisers are volunteers. Those in the transitional living program are provided with an allotment (for daily expenditures, such as food, toothpaste, socks, etc.) as well as money management in an attempt to successfully transition these men back into society.
Does it make you think? Running 8 recovery houses from San Diego to Oakland. The commercial expenditures alone are staggering. The volunteer staff required to intake over 30 people per week. Then we transport these gentlemen to and from their doctors, their appointments for social security and food stamps, their attorneys, as well as their jobsites.
We’ll be the first to admit that our volunteers could use a little help from time to time. Many of these gentlemen have been hidden away from the rest of society for years. Whatever the reason, they often ‘surface’ in an organization such as ours. We do our best to make them presentable and courteous for our fundraising activities. We don’t always succeed. We do ask your forgiveness and beg for you prayers.
We are a ‘Social Model’ drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. We survive in an industry where less than 3% of the clients remain clean and sober over 2 years. Our success rate is roughly 1.7%.
The average drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in California receives $3,600.00 per month, per client, from State, Federal, and Private Insurance monies. We take no State nor Federal funding. Our clients are literally bottom of the barrel, from the streets, and have no health insurance. Those who ‘can’ afford to pay are only asked for $10.00 per day for room and board during the first 90 days of their recovery. The second 90 days, we ask $15.00 per day. The final 180 days, the transitional living phase, we require $25.00 per day for housing, transportation, electric, plumbing, and waste disposal. We also require our gentlemen to maintain a working list of short, medium, and long range goals. We also provide money management, career counseling, resume building, and schedule interviews for employment.
We also ask that our transitional living personnel assist with our weekly feeding of the homeless (100 full lunches per house) and our weekly visits to the local high schools to provide a positive testimony to our youth.
Finally, some homework. Our books are public. Rodney Nolen has not received a dime from this organization for 2 years. Over the past 10 years, we have taken roughly $300k per year in donations. That is less than $40k per facility per year.
The math isn’t difficult. This is, quite simply, a labor of love.

Thank you for your time and understanding. God Bless You.

Rodney Nolen
President
Building a Solid Foundation

p.s. Chris, we tried to help you, Sir. We truly did. It was you who decided to leave. God Bless.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find appropriate funding, reduce our time 'on the box', and hire a psychologist.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Greetings,

I am Billy Barnes, the volunteer information technology project manager for Building a Solid Foundation.
I did, unfortunately, spell Mr. Nolen’s name incorrectly while entering this review. I apologize. If this was the incorrect forum to address the issues, again, I apologize. Mr. Nolen is a single soldier for Christ. He operates his mission from San Diego to Oakland. He had asked me to enter his sentiments on this site.
Mr. Nolen is involved in the recovery of over 120 men, women, and children. Involved, not ‘monitoring’. I am simply amazed he is still going. I volunteered my services, as do the hundreds of volunteers throughout California, because we believe in his cause.
Rita Williams, on her way out the door to retirement, reported the best she could for her employer. She actually came out to our program house in Oakland, CA, during a relapse prevention class, and was greeted with open arms. Ms. Williams interviewed several of the clients as well as Mr. Nolen. She told us we were the ONLY organization with buildings, or even staff!
We went out and picketed Channel 2 and were granted a retraction. We were also provided an apology from the Producer of Ms. Williams news segment.
Tim, instead of playing armchair quarterback, perhaps you should get in the game. Thank you, guys and gals, for your time. God Bless!

Billy Barnes
Volunteer
Building a Solid Foundation

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The worst of the worst, in our humble opinion, are the people that return to the streets and die. Some of these people we have had to bury ourselves. We have received phone calls, in the middle of the night, from law enforcement asking us to identify a john doe. The only paperwork or identification on that person was a flier from our organization.
We ‘know’ … we truly ‘understand’ whom we are working with … I, personally, have been drug and alcohol free for 20 years. I have been running this particular program for 10 years. I do extend my apologies to you, young man, for our inappropriate placement of our personnel. I also extend my apologies for that mans’ actions and activities on that day. He was picked up early, sent to detox, and eventually returned to our program. Only to relapse, engage in a fight, and become incarcerated.
I would request, however, that you ask your father how grateful he is for organizations such as ours. There are many judges, parole officers, probation officers, and community center officials who thank us. Almost daily.
We know what we are facing each and every single day going out and keeping these men sober. According to our statistics, 98.3 out of every 100 clients shall relapse. The average age of our client is 48. The average number of previous drug and alcohol treatment facility admissions? 14. Average. The average total time spent in both jail and treatment programs: 16.4 years. Over a third of their existence has been simply lost.
I, humbly, apologize on our clients’ behalf. Yet, I shall not apologize for what I, and my team, do. This is America and I would sincerely appreciate the gesture if our government would have the safety net both in place and funded. I would graciously retire. Thankful. Until then, my God has told me what I must do.

Love, Peace, and God’s Blessings,

Rodney Nolen
President
Building a Solid Foundation

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have 3 full time counselors per recovery house.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

BASF is not what they claim to be. Being a Christian myself, I find it heartbreaking that this organization stands for something good, and yet goes about it the wrong way. Wanting to help those who suffer from substance abuse and homelessness is a compassionate gesture that does deserve recognition and support, however... lying to get the donations is just wrong. These guys claim to be volunteers, but that is not true. These guys are paid 50% of what they earn daily ( of course that is if they make a certain minimum). Free housing? Not exactly, they must pay a daily rent amount to be in this "shelter" which of course they pay out of their 50% that they make. I don't really put the blame on these guys because they are the ones that have to go out 6 days a week, 12 hours a day (inc travel time) and beg for donations so they can stay in this "so called" shelter. I put full responsibility on the owner Rodney Nolen for using these guys and their addictions as a means to profit. I am not here to tell you whether or not to donate. That choice is yours. I just wanted to tell you the truth about this organization. Be honest, BASF, tell those who may donate the truth, live like the Christians you claim to be.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

shut it down

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

None

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

THESE GUYS ARE THE WORST! HERE COMES THE WORST REVIEW YET. WHILE SHOPPING AT WAL-MART (STONECREST-SOUTHERN CA), THIS OLD BLACK GUY WAS YELLING AT THE ELDERLY, LITTLE KIDS AND SHOPPERS IN GENERAL. THE MGR. CAME OUT AND TOLD HIM TO MOVE HIS TABLE AWAY FROM THE STORE. HE REFUSED TO MOVE, SO THE MGR. MOVED IT FOR HIM!!! WHO KNOWS IF THE COPS CAME, I COULDN'T WAIT TO GET OUT OF THERE. THIS IS IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD! IF ANYONE FROM THIS ORGANIZATIONS READS THESE REVIEWS, TELL THESE GUYS TO CLEAN UP THEIR ACT, OR FACE "PERMANENT INJUNCTION." MY DAD'S A JUDGE, AND HE COULD EASILY DO IT! YOU'VE BEEN FORWARNED!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

BAN THEM FOR LIFE!!!!!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I see BSF in the East Bay, and what bothers me most is they never graciously accept the money you give them, so I stopped giving! These guys never smile or say "thank you". Never a "hey man, I appreciate it." Who wants to give to a lackluster solicitor? They have bad manners, and no social etiquette. I guess if you were never taught, and you just don't care, you're clueless! I hope these guys turn their lives around. I have my doubts.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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