The Salvation Army Owns $4 Billion In Real Estate?

Okay, so it’s sort of nice that the Salvation Army, a non-profit that practices discrimination against queers, gives its employees lavish multimillion dollar homes to live in because it pays them absolute crap wages. But reading about how folks like Henry Graciani, who runs one of Sal’s alcoholic treatment clinics, and his wife, also a Sal’s staffer, take home just $25,000 a year in salary but live in a “$1.3-million Santa Monica home” makes us wonder: The Salvation Army owns $1.3 million homes?

Its real estate portfolio, valued at $4 billion in 2008, represents one-third of its assets. As the Los Angeles Times notes, providing expansive homes to its officers while keeping their wages low lets Sal’s send the message it isn’t overly compensating the brass at a non-profit. It also let’s Sal’s remind its employees they are merely humble servants doing God’s work, and don’t you love how the marble counter tops look next to the stainless steel sub-zero fridge?

We can’t fault any operation, non-profit or otherwise, for savvy fiscal practices, and holding on to a real estate portfolio that it actually uses surely qualifies as a responsible use of funds, right?

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  • terrwill

    Everytime I see one of those buckets supported by that hate filled vile organization, I want to piss in it…………

  • Jaroslaw

    I’m not making excuses for them, but an absolute nothing house in a rough LA neighborhood is 3 or 400 thou. So 1.3 mill in Santa Monica has got to be just average…..

  • rf

    Maybe someone should walk all those homeless on Santa Monica beach over to that house and set up camp.

  • Timothy

    the median home price in Santa Monica is $848,000

  • Scot

    Not to mention that sal army is a church, so I’m betting those homes are tax exempt!

  • Paul

    Someone doing something good for people who need it. How can you find fault. How does the world look from your glass palace? Get off your Ass and start the gay Salvation Army if this bothers you.

  • Seth

    My sister is an officer in the Sal Army and tho she only makes about 35000 a year, the Sal Army pays for her house, her bills, child care, her vehicle, and a lot of her food as well.
    That makes 35 grand seem very attractive…

  • The Artist

    @Paul: I would have to agree. This is the kind of conversation I’ve always mentioned about some of the comments on this site. People are ALWAYS bitchin and moanin, when they should just take a look at themselves and make a change. PEACELUVNBWILD!

  • matt

    Does that $4 billion only include residential real estate? Or does it include all of the land and buildings associated with their thrift stores, warehouses, distribution facilities, etc.?

  • Jon

    Somethings not right here. You couldn’t afford the taxes on a 1.3 mill. house on a salary of $25,000. Makes me wonder about the validity of the rest of the story

  • Anonymous

    You forgot the cult owns the house and thus it’s tax-free. The “officer” is essentially house-sitting. Because all the property is tax-free we taxpayers -gay or straight – are being forced to donate to them while any business pays its property tax. Given a typically 2 percent property tax multiplier that is like taxpayers are “donating” $80 million!

  • Dallas David

    If they were to pay for the chairitable projects with $$$ from their church collection plates, that would be one thing. But they’re claiming to be nice people because they look after drunks using OUR TAX DOLLARS.
    That is just not honest. But, they’ve been doing that for so long, I don’t think they realize it.

    And then they have the gall to claim to be better than gay people, and kick out any GLBT people from their organization when they find them.

    Well, screw ’em. And the horse they rode in town on.

  • Margaret

    Here’s my two cents about the Salvation Army. I have a little more insight on how they work, due to a relative going through three months of their 6-month drug & alcohol program.

    The people who go through their program are virtually all indigent, and receiving emergency SSI grants, which pay out for four months (or did at the time of his residency in 1999). The residents must sign over those funds to SA, which sounds reasonable, until you dig a little deeper.

    Their house rules are stringent and difficult to stick to for many, by design, and when someone is rolled out for an infraction, SA keeps the remainder of their monthly check, and they leave with only the clothes on their back- the rest of their possessions go back into the SA bins. But between the 3rd and 4th month of the program, rollouts start coming more and more frequently, and for reasons both trivial and arbitrary. If someone is caught smoking tobacco while on an approved walk off-campus, rolled out immediately. (at the time, tobacco was permitted during the first 3 months but then you had to give it up cold turkey- I am convinced that rule was put in there because it’s so difficult to quit smoking successfully and provides them with a built in excuse to bounce a resident while keeping his money) Or not converting to Christianity if you were of another faith. After the fourth month, no more government money, so it behooves them to give you the boot before they have to spend any money on you. In any given month, there were only about four graduates out of a couple hundred residents.

    Nobody is accepted into the program unless they are capable of putting in 40 hours a week of heavy physical labor. They are not interested in people for office work; you will be required to lug around full dumpsters and bales of clothing. Most of the food they serve residents is donated; they proudly announce that they spent $1.62 daily on food per resident and were looking for ways to cut back further.

    The stores are a huge money maker. The Canoga Park store made over $6 million in profit that year. Of course: all the merchandise is donated and most of the labor is free. The regional SA officers of each location may make a pittance, but they live in luxurious houses for free for the terms of their assignment, have all their expenses covered, have workers at their beck and call.

    The SA makes money on every resident. They are hypocrites of the first order, and their organization is a huge scam.

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