December 13, 2019
Ex-Program Manager Indicted on $45K Theft from Nonprofit

September 16, 2019 — A former program manager of Heading Home, a Charlestown nonprofit provider of emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent housing for low-income families and individuals where she previously had worked, has been indicted in connection with a scheme to steal $45,000 from the organization, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Thursday.

Donna Scott, age 52, of Vallejo, California, and formerly a longtime resident of Massachusetts, was indicted today by a statewide grand jury on larceny over $250 (1 count). She will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court at a later date, according to the office of the attorney general (AG).

The AG’s office alleges that from March 2015 through November 2016, Scott embezzled more than $45,000 dollars from Heading Home, which is funded primarily by state grants.

At the time, Scott had been working for the agency as a program manager focusing on housing and stabilization issues, according to the AG's office.. The funds Scott allegedly stole were intended to provide transitional and permanent housing and support services to low-income, homeless, and formerly homeless people and their families.

The AG's office said the charges are allegations and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

For the year ending June 30, 2017, Heading Home reported $15.6 million in revenue, of which $14.9 million came from contributions and grants, and $16.0 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

The year before, the organization reported $14.2 million in revenue, of which $12.9 million came from contributions and grants, and $15.3 million in expenses.

Last May, Heading Home was one of 50 Massachusetts nonprofits to share in $15 million in a new grant program from the Cummings Foundation. Heading Home received $400,000, to be disbursed over 10 years, to provide approximately 30 homeless families with transitional housing and intensive coaching on self-sufficiency, economic mobility, and career development as a pathway to permanent housing.

Heading Home was founded in 1974 under the name of Shelter Inc. In 2008, it moved away from an emphasis on emergency responses to a focus on permanent housing as a strategy for ending homelessness, resulting in a name change to Heading Home.

Today, Heading Home has a portfolio of approximately 500 affordable housing, in which about 900 people reside. Across all programs, Heading Home provides direct services to more than 1,400 Greater Bostonians annually.

According to Heading Home, families represent the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population today, accounting for more than 50% of its client base.

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