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Politics & Policy

Homelessness nonprofit accused of nepotism, swindling from the city

A man in a checkered suit speaks at a podium with people and a seal behind him.
City Attorney David Chiu accused the Providence Foundation of San Francisco of bilking the city out of at least $105,000 by submitting fake invoices. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

In the latest scandal involving a social services nonprofit allegedly bilking money from city coffers, investigators announced Monday that the Providence Foundation of San Francisco will be barred from applying for or receiving funding after accusations of faking at least $105,000 in invoices. 

The false invoices, according to the City Attorney’s Office, were submitted in 2022 and linked to an exterior paint job and the removal of deadbolts at the Oasis Hotel, a family shelter on Franklin Street that was at one point under threat of closure. But investigators said the work never occurred.

“There’s a difference between having challenges with financial compliance and intentionally defrauding the City and its taxpayers,” said City Attorney David Chiu in a statement on Monday. “This nonprofit took over $100,000 of public money meant to benefit people experiencing homelessness. That cannot be tolerated.”

The city attorney also alleges that the nonprofit, which was established in 1996, engaged in nepotism by hiring members of at least seven different families, including executive positions. The city says it tried to bring the nonprofit into compliance but was unsuccessful.

Two images showing a yellow building with a barred gate, highlighted by red arrows indicating a matching structure.
Photo evidence from the City Attorney's Office shows the alleged fake paint job based on the unchanged exterior at the Oasis Hotel between May 2022 and April 2023. | Source: City Attorney's Office

The nonprofit did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The Providence Foundation operates multiple housing sites through city funding, including a navigation center, an emergency housing voucher program and a support center for formerly homeless and seniors. 

The organization is overseen by Patricia Doyle, who was accused more than a decade ago of financial mismanagement while at another different nonprofit, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

In a 305-page document outlining the allegations, the city attorney said the fake paint and lock job invoices were from a company called Will Do It Construction, owned by an individual named Robert Lacy Jr. Investigators said the nonprofit knowingly hired Lacy despite the fact he did not have the proper licensing to conduct the jobs. 

Two images of door handles and locks on different colored doors, one blue, one white, with visible latches and strike plates.
Images from investigators show the deadbolts at the Oasis Hotel, which remain after a $15,000 job that was supposed to have removed the locks. | Source: City Attorney's Office

The invoices were first sent to Kenisha Roach, Providence’s director of operations, and Doyle, the nonprofit’s executive director, then signed off on the documents to certify their authenticity.

A year after the invoice was submitted, investigators say construction company owner Lacy was hired by the nonprofit as a client engagement manager. In 2024, he was then promoted to assistant site manager at a Providence navigation center.

The City Attorney’s Office says the Providence Foundation’s executive director had two of her children hired—along with a board member’s family member. The city is also accusing the organization of engaging in wage theft, recording confidential client conversations, violating state and federal contracting requirements, making unnecessary reimbursements, failing to reach the agreed-upon occupancy levels at one of its shelters and hiring staff with the required approval.

The city attorney said the nonprofit will be prevented from receiving new funding until a debarment proceeding is complete. The penalties do not automatically terminate current grant agreements with the city, which was around $7.2 million in 2022, according to data shared with the Standard. Investigators said there shouldn’t be an interruption to current services. 

Monday’s announcement comes after a slew of other nonprofits have been swept up in investigations by the city, including J&J Community Resource Center, which was also barred from funding in February after allegedly swindling at least $100,000 in reimbursements for things like booze, cigars and motorcycles.