Minimum Viable Life Fund

Minimum Viable Life Fund

From David Scheer

'Homeless' essentially refers to someone without the the basic things we all take for granted as part of a viable life. This fund is about direct action to support the lives of specific individuals with specific needs.

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Recent Updates

Update #17

5 days ago

Raffle appreciation selections have been drawn!

Thank you all for making this a very successful fundraiser. If your name was drawn to receive one of the Therese Wolfe's paintings as a thank you gift for your recent contribution, we will contact you by email in the next couple of days.

If your name wasn't drawn, we are still all winners here, as we were able to nearly reach our goal of $2000. We have enough new funding to get John settled and licensed in a new van home, and to keep our other work going. We will post photos of the project, and we expect it to be complete by late-July.

Thank you again for your generosity and compassion!

David & Therese

More Info

In software or product development, the term Minimum Viable Product describes a level of functionality where the product actually works for its intended purpose.  It may not be perfect, it may not be done, but it is not so delicate that it can't basically function.

So a Minimum Viable Life is one where really basic things like food, shelter, clothing, freedom of movement, and a basic level of physical health that we all take for granted, are available to people so that a life can be lived rather than just barely survived.

We have been doing very personal, one-on-one work in our neighborhood over the last couple of years with local homeless and semi-homeless residents (neighbors, truly).  We have been very successful at bringing basics to people so that they can start or continue to take advantage of opportunities for improving their lives on their own.

We would like to expand this work, and we hope you can help.

All donations received will be eligible as a tax-deductible donation once our 501c3 status is complete in 2018.  But the work has already begun, and we hope you can help today and take the deduction in 2018.

This fund is set up to work on an ongoing set of specific stories about specific individuals with specific needs.  All funds collected here will be used only for those pre-defined needs, and you can choose which one you would like to support.  Anyone who donates to a story will get regular updates about the success of the story and how it has affected the life of the individual.

Please refer to the UPDATES ('show all') section of the fund site for our current list of ongoing stories.  Each story will be titled with an identifying name that you can refer to when making a donation to ensure that your funds will be directed where you want, and so we can send you personal updates.  Anonymous and un-targeted donations are of course also welcome.

To preserve the dignity and privacy for the subjects of the stories, and to maintain the privacy an integrity of the neighborhoods where we do work, names are changed, and photos will never include faces or geographical context.  We will however always show photos of the work we do with before and after images of the work or the effects of the work.

We also accept stories from you, so please send us information about a good support story and how we can find that individual.  Please respect the dignity and privacy of everyone, which we consider an aspect of a minimum viable life.

Note that we do not have the skills or resources to work with those with mental health issues beyond basic functional or social difficulties.  We do not provide funds for ongoing housing costs or health care beyond getting out of a jam that allows someone living on the edge to get to the next step on their own.  We do however support educational opportunities.  Please contact us for more details.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 days ago

Update #21

Raffle appreciation selections have been drawn!

Thank you all for making this a very successful fundraiser. If your name was drawn to receive one of the Therese Wolfe's paintings as a thank you gift for your recent contribution, we will contact you by email in the next couple of days.

If your name wasn't drawn, we are still all winners here, as we were able to nearly reach our goal of $2000. We have enough new funding to get John settled and licensed in a new van home, and to keep our other work going. We will post photos of the project, and we expect it to be complete by late-July.

Thank you again for your generosity and compassion!

David & Therese

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David Scheer posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #20

We are in the final days of our special raffle of original paintings by Bay Area artist Therese Wolfe to raise funds to keep John (more info below) from losing his home, and to support the work of Minimum Viable Life in general.

Drawing will be held next week on May 15!
Enter now!

Donate any multiple of $25 per raffle ticket through our Fundly site at fundly.com/minimum-viable-life.

More details of the raffle and images of the original paintings by Therese Wolfe can be seen on our Facebook page at
https://www.facebook.com/MinimumViableLife/
or at the Raffle page:
https://tinyurl.com/yb7dn49w.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #19

A story of living on the edge...and the definition of a Minimum Viable Life:

We had a pretty big scare last week with one of our main clients/friends John, who is also the focus of the current fine-art raffle fundraising effort by Therese Wolfe, ending next week (don't miss it!):

Last week, John's starter went out. Sounds like a minor repair, right, but let me put it in perspective...

John has been living in his van for the last 3 years. It's a relatively sustainable (MVLife) existence, as he's put together ways to park legally day and night without disturbing neighbors, to keep his batteries charged and continue his software development work from the driver's seat, and generally make a go of it without a shingled roof over his head.

The main problem with this existence is that it depends on the viability of his vehicle. This is not only a story of maintenance and licensing, but of how things like tickets and servicing of the vehicle, which are a simple inconveniences to most of us, are a risk of John keeping or losing his home, his office, his storage space.

This is where Minimum Viable Life has positioned ourselves: at that tipping point between a minimum viable life and dropping off the edge like so many homeless have already done, with no shelter, no power, no way of working toward the next step in viability.

In John's case, MVLife ordered a new starter, thanks to your financial support, it was delivered next day and we spent a half hour changing out the starter on the street.

We dodged the bullet this time around, but this vehicle is at the end of its service life (and John is not!), and it needs to be replaced.

Thanks to Therese Wolfe, we have been raising funds for a new vehicle/home for John. We are on the last few days of the raffle of her original art, and I hope you can help take us home on this fundraising effort.

Next post please look for the links to the funding and raffle pages. Thanks!

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David Scheer posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #18

We are pleased to announce that Minimum Viable Life, Inc is now officially recognized as a 501c.3. non-profit!

All contributors will receive a letter confirming the donations at the end of the tax year. Contributors in 2017 and prior to 2/27/2018 will be asked to convert those contributions from a loan to tax-deductible donation for 2018.

Thanks again for your support!

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David Scheer posted a new update:
2 months ago

Update #17

Met an interesting man the other evening with yet another informative story of becoming homeless. Nearly all the stories I've heard so far go against the stereotype of laziness and drugs, and this is another.

This story was how a questionable civil forfeiture (so many are) meant that when this man was done serving his debt to society, he came out with no shop, no tools, no home, and nothing to be able to support himself. I have to ask if this ends up serving society.

As his sleeping gear was recently 'taken' by the DPW, our latest use of funds was to purchase a set of portable sleeping gear (tent, sleeping bag, air mattress), so we can share them when needed. For $65 a set to sleep well and dry and clean, it's a no brainer. So far we've give out two sets, and it's been raining like crazy lately.

Thanks again for your support (that comes right from the street). And remember, any donation multiple of $25 is an automatic entry in a thank-you giveaway for original art donated by our friend Therese Wolfe.

Join at Fundly, or through the main raffle page:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef5f03731/?widget_template=5a9c4fee1b5c47c90d0a5301

...or by visiting our new Facebook Fan site under Giveaways:
https://www.facebook.com/MinimumViableLife/app/228910107186452/

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David Scheer posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #16

Our friend and artist (we have 5 of her paintings in our house and office) has donated 4 fantastic pieces of art to MV Life to help raise funds through an 'appreciation raffle' for new donations. Amazing!!

Donate to join the raffle through the main raffle page:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef5f03731/?widget_template=5a9c4fee1b5c47c90d0a5301

...or by visiting our new Facebook Fan site under Giveaways:
https://www.facebook.com/MinimumViableLife/app/228910107186452/

No donation is necessary to enter, just help us spread the word!

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David Scheer posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #15

Hey all!

Just finished the main paperwork for the 501c3, and we have a great accountant helping to see it through. We're a bit quiet at the moment, but when the official paperwork is done, we'll have a big relaunch to celebrate, and hopefully get your help in spreading our funding asks to a bigger audience!

In the meantime, here's a report on some ongoing efforts and plans:
- John went to his donated optometrist appointment last week, and we ordered new glasses online. They arrived tonight, just in time for complete failure of his old glasses!

- After watching and chatting with a homeless neighbor over the last few months who daily struggles to port their belongings around the area in a couple broken-down carts, we've begun design of a new cart that can be used for storing and hauling belongings in style, and though smaller than a shopping cart, it also expands to a sleeping shelter at night. We'll be building the prototype over the next few months. This sort of approach will provide the independence that many can't give up to live in a shelter, and will really help the neighborhood by adding some style and organization to what is a reality of our society.

- I've always liked the Little Free Library boxes, and that organization has recently launched the idea of a Little Free Pantry, where neighbors can share things like canned goods, bathroom supplies, and other goodies with anyone who needs it. We're working with a couple local min-parks and hangout areas to establish LFP,s, and we'll use a little funding from MVLife to keep them stocked with some basics. Here's the link: http://www.littlefreepantry.org/

We'll keep you up to date on the progress of all this work.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #14

Hey all!
It's been a while since the last update, as I've been out of town for a few weeks. I'm back now, and I wanted to share the successes we've had in Cambodia thanks to the brilliant help from our member/beneficiary 'John'. John, as well as being a brilliant programmer and general genius, was instrumental in the calculations that made this off-grid school lighting project totally successful. We'll be going back in July to teach off-grid, sustainable design, and to install lighting and free power to two more school buildings in July. Thanks John!
https://youtu.be/3uOkmO7ZmHY

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David Scheer posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #13

This is really for all of you!

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David Scheer posted a new update:
4 months ago

Update #12

PROGRESS UPDATE:

Apologies for missing the normal 'New Years' progress update, but we've been busy getting the fund in order , figuring out our boundaries and opportunities, submitting the 501c-3 non-profit paperwork, and generally just dovetailing our day to day life with our work with our homeless neighbors.

All in all, it's proven to be more about discovering valuable friends than it has been about handing out charity. Though it's not about quid pro quo in any way, we've gotten more back then we've given out so far.

Overall, this launch has been an overwhelming success and support for what we are doing. Please keep the support coming. as it's definitely easy to have a huge impact on someone's life for a very modest amount of money.

Now we need to reach out beyond my friends network, so please pass on the fund link to anyone in your network.
fundly.com/minimum-viable-life

For the New Year, we had a great dinner with 5 of our homeless neighbors, and some brought friends who have proven to be amazing additions to the work we're doing.

We've so far done the following:
- Saved 2 people from losing their van-homes (and belongings and shelter) by purchasing repair parts and donating installation time for things like brakes, batteries, alternators, tires.
- Provided showers and laundry on 10 occasions for 4 people. As one example 'Beth' (anonymized) hasn't had a warm shower for 6 months (imagine that!), and she's had 3 in the last month thanks to you.
- Donated $140 in cash to 8 fiolks on an ad-hoc basis to in the neighborhood to get food, toothbrushes, gasoline, etc. Cash donations are always risky, so know that these donations went to a just cause.
- Purchased batteries and charge controllers for 'John' so that he can continue his software development work in his van for the next 3 years.
- Provided shelter 'bivvy-sacs' to 3 people so they can get through the rainy season without losing their belongings.

Future work is coming together quickly, and we'll update as things progress. Main expansion efforts are to:
- Establish a 'Little Free Panty' at the local park. http://www.littlefreepantry.org
- Install free keyed storage lockers at the local park, so folks can move freely without carrying all their worldly belongings with them every second of the day.

Much more to share, but that's a decent update for the new year. More to come.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #11

STORY: John4home
FUNDS NEEDED: $2000

Car-living is one form of homelessness. It is controversial, and we don't support this as a move from the street. But some people like John are already doing it and have it dialed in so they are not an annoyance or danger to the public. I don't know all his secrets, but he's got it working quite well.

But vehicles also require a minimum of expenses to keep them viable,, and John's vehicle is on its last legs. In other stories, we have brought his vehicle up to minimum safety and functionality standards, but it won't run much longer. Without his vehicle, as John put it, "I would die." Even if we wouldn't let that happen, his viable life would completely change without his shelter, his office, his source of heat and electricity, and storage for all of his belongings.
This story is to purchase a used minivan and outfit it with a minimal sleeping and storage framework, as well as a safe place for his battery supplies and a working desk. Hopefully by extending this currently-viable situation another year or so, John can make the next step up on his own, rather than falling down any farther.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #10

STORY: General0basics
FUNDS NEEDED: $50/2 weeks ongoing

We often buy meals for local homeless or invite them into our house for a good meal, shower and laundry. Being fed and clean are minimal needs for doing anything else, like finding work, staying healthy, being able to interact with the world, not to mention staying alive.

This story is an ongoing revolving fund to buy food and provide a few meals, showers , razors, and laundry 2x to 4x a month for local homeless and semi-homeless.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #8

PROGRESS UPDATE:

It's been a great launch, and thanks for all the support so far. Here's what we're doing with the first $430:

We bought a pair of new batteries for 'John' today, and he'll be set for the next 3 years with these babies, each of which will last him a day of work on his Mac for 8 hours plus enjoying some cool eBooks in the evenings. $140 each for two 75 Ah batteries that will charge for free from my solar panels each night. So consider your donation to be 'transmogrified' (as John, and Calvin & Hobbes, like to say) into some cutting-edge code for 8 hours a day, and some enjoyable relaxation in the van-home each night for the next 3 years. What a deal!

We also have secured free eye exams from my optometrist (sorry, no permission to share his good name, but that's a $200 donation) right after the New Year, and we have enough funds in the kitty to get needed glasses for 'John' and two other folks in the area who love to read every day, but obviously do it with effort. $50 for a pair of nice glasses each, and who knows what opportunities that will make possible! If it brings some pleasure and keeps the mind moving, that's good enough for me.

Thanks again, and I pass that on as well directly from those we are helping. They are overwhelmed, even though they certainly deserve these essentials..

David

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #7

STORY: John3sight
FUNDS NEEDED: $150

John is a software engineer. Though highly skilled, due to age and appearance, he is not able to get a regular job. Instead, he takes a few contract jobs, teaches others in his community, including me, and has some long term projects that he works on 8+ hours a day.

But his eyes have changed since he could last afford glasses, not to mention his glasses are well beyond their last legs as you can see. Glasses are essential for his work and for maintaining his drivers license.

We have gotten a commitment from my Optometrist to donate the eye exam and prescription for free (sorry, no permission to share his good name)! This story is to pay for the purchase new glasses for distance and close up work.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #6

STORY: General0eyecare
FUNDS NEEDED: $150 ongoing

Being able to see and read and navigate are of course essential to doing anything else in life, especially without the support structure of a family and home. There are a number of homeless in the area that I see struggling to read books and newspapers without glasses.

This story is to provide an eye exam and a pair of glasses for someone. We will keep this story open on an ongoing basis to have funds to provide the ability to see well as the needs arise with homeless people we meet.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #3

STORY: John2power
FUNDS NEEDED: $280

Besides for shelter, John uses his vehicle as an office and to power his computer that he uses for basic income. Two things are essential for this to work: functioning vehicle electrical system, and backup batteries.

This story is partially complete with the replacement of his cracked alternator, but his current batteries are on their last legs. We need another $120 for modern LiIon battery pack that will provide a viable power source for at least a couple years of charging cycles. We have also secured a location for recharging the batteries, and part of this fund will go for paying for that minimal amount of electricity, sourced from home solar panels.

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David Scheer posted a new update:
5 months ago

Update #2

STORY: John1shelter
John uses his vehicle as shelter, home, storage, and working office for software consulting services. With little income, he can't afford basic maintenance. Though he drives very little, some things cannot be neglected.

This story is partially complete and successful, and John is now safe on the road, but we are still collecting funds to pay for the $250 of materials and to complete the rear brake rehab.

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