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California native and US Senate Democratic primary run off candidate in Mississippi, Howard Sherman, and his actress wife Sela Ward are supposed to be rich and successful, and sold their California home for between $28 and $40 million dollars [1].

So, why is their non-profit, “Hope Village“, getting around $2 million per year from the State of Mississippi-US Government to house around 44 kids per day? [2] This is 11% of the amount of Title IV-E Foster Care money allocated to Mississippi from the US Federal government for foster care [3]. Assuming a 50/50 match of Federal and State money, “Hope Village” is getting around 5.5% of the Title IV-E money for foster children in Mississippi, but they are housing less than 1% of the children who are in foster care statewide [4]. They are apparently housing them in these depressing 56 year old dorm or barracks-like buildings, which were built ca 1962 as a Masonic Children’s home. What are those green boxes? The bathroom-toilets? They appear to have vents on top.

Maybe they should rename these 1962 buildings, “Depressing Barracks“, “Depressing Dorms“, or “Depressing Institution.” The name “Hope Village” must get kids’ hopes up, only to have them destroyed. They may hope they have AC in the sweltering Mississippi heat, given the low ceilings, flat roof, brick, and construction year.


The above appears to be the foster housing, dating from 1962, based on the Mississippi Preservation picture of the former Masonic children’s home in Meridian, and a sign saying Hope Village, which is across the street from the new Hope Village administrative building. https://misspreservation.com/2013/09/04/chris-rishers-meridian-police-station-under-threat/masonic-childrens-home-hope-village-1962-chris-risher-sr/ It is near an old public housing complex in red brick, and neighbors a cemetery. It borders on high crime areas, in a high crime town [5], but the cemetery seems to keep that immediate area a bit safer. In the image, below, the public housing is to the upper right, and the cemetery is to the lower left. The old buildings which comprise”Hope Village back onto the cemetery.


The approximately $2 million per year, which Howard Sherman and Sela Ward’s “Hope Village” has gotten from Mississippi, to care for around 44 kids, is about 11% of the money allocated by the Federal government to Mississippi as matching Title IV-E Foster Care money ($17.9 to $19 million) [3]. With a 50/50 match, this $2 million would account for around 5.5% of the total spent for foster care in the state through Title IV-E, but “Hope Village” houses less than 1% of statewide foster kids. There were 4,380 kids in foster care in Mississippi in 2014, 4,773 in 2015, 5,486 in 2016 [4]. Part of “Hope Village” is care for 12 kids per night as emergency stays. However, even if we remove those, we still find that they are getting around $1.47 million per year for 32 children [2], (i.e $46,000) per child. This means that they are getting around 8% of the allocated Federal money, under this program, and 4% of the total State of Missisisppi-Federal money combined, to care for less than 1% of Mississippi’s foster children. It is worth noting that the $2 million per year is based on contracts which we found. They may have additional contracts. [Update note: Their web site says, in small print at the bottom, that they receive funding from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, and the United Way agency. Sounds like they are getting a lot more than the $2 million.]

Except, whoops, recently Mississippi intentionally, or unintentionally, failed to apply for the monies allocated by the Federal government. Candidate Howard Sherman implies in a recent article that this is why he decided to run. But, why not run for the state legislature, instead, if it’s their fault, as he has alleged, instead of the US Senate? To make sure the US government keeps sending Mississippi the money, despite the US debt? To obtain pork barrel money for himself and/or the New Yorkers and Californians bank-rolling his campaign? In the article, he complains about a shortage of foster care case workers-case worker pay, when the $2 million per year which “Hope Village” is pulling in from the government could, directly or indirectly, be used to pay for more case workers-increased pay. http://web.archive.org/web/20180615175344/http://www.readlegends.com/single-post/2018/06/01/Saving-Home

Howard Sherman and his wife, actress Sela Ward, sold their house in California for $40 million in 2015 to move to New York [1]. However, other reports say that Jennifer Lopez bought it for $28 million. It has seven bedrooms, which could have been a nice start for a real foster home for kids, if Sela Ward and her husband really care about foster kids. One bedroom for them and six for kids, with two per bedroom would house 12 kids. But, this isn’t Louisa May Alcott’s Jo helping poor orphans in “Little Men“, this is about an actress and her husband who set up a non-profit to get contracts from impoverished Mississippi (with Federal matches) to the tune of approximately $2 million per year. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/us-senate-candidate-howard-sherman-takes-millions-from-cash-strapped-mississippi-child-protection-services-contracts-would-need-renewing-shortly-after-elections/

One disgusting thing about Howard Sherman and Sela Ward is that they apparently want people to believe that they are providing charity to help poor kids, rather being mostly a government contractor. They have also gotten money from the United Way. “Hope Village” is a non-profit, but how much salary are they paying themselves? Why are they so attached to pulling in this government funding, rather than personally helping kids? Donations to the non-profit which they set up, “Hope Village“, would presumably be tax deductible.

Howard Sherman’s competitor in the race, David Baria (and wife Marcia) adopted a son, after theirs died, and gave him a real home, not an institutional one. The Barias’ goodness, helping people after Hurricane Katrina, and adopting a child [6], can move the non-emotional to tears, whereas everything appears strange, fake, and irksome about Howard Sherman.

According to a lawsuit, Sherman and two partners got $79 million in cash and Targus stock upon the sale of Roundhouse. Sherman and his Roundhouse partners were forced to return $4 million to Targus after mediation because Targus said they were misled over the value of the company. His part, if it was a third, would be around $25 million. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/us-senate-candidate-howard-shermans-company-ordered-to-pay-4-1-million-in-damages-sued-by-targus-for-misrepresentation-of-financial-condition-of-his-company-when-sold-to-them. Sherman claims to have other business interests, though names have proven difficult to find, and what they really do thus far impossible.

His wife made an estimated $125,000 per episode for “Graves“. Robert De Niro, who fund-raised for Sherman’s Senate campaign, is getting $775,000 per episode for his work [7]. A couple of episodes by both of them would give them the $2 million to fund “Hope Village“, rather than taking government money, and could be a tax write off. Even the money Sherman is loaning the campaign himself, along with donations, would make a nice down payment for helping kids (and case workers).

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/robert-de-niro-shares-russian-business-partners-with-trump-agalarovs-de-niro-tampering-in-mississippi-elections-to-make-democrats-lose-us-senate-seat/

Howard Sherman and Sela Ward could easily set up a nice rural homestead for the foster kids for comparatively cheap in Mississippi and personally care for them, but instead have opted for what used to be a Masonic children’s home built ca 1962 in Meridian. And, the area may not be very safe.

Even though Howard Sherman-Sela Ward seemingly want everyone to think they are like Jo March and her husband in “Little Men” this appears far from the truth. However, “Little Men” may hold useful ideas for what foster care could look like. In particular, they encouraged the children to learn to run businesses. And, no, they didn’t get small business government loans or grants, which is apparently Sherman’s idea of doing business.

About “Little Men”:
The book recounts six months in the life of the students at Plumfield, a school run by German Professor Friedrich and Mrs. Josephine Bhaer (née March). The idea of the school is first suggested at the very end of Little Women, Part Two when adult Jo inherited the estate from her late Aunt March.

The story begins with the arrival of Nat Blake, a shy young orphan who used to earn a living playing the violin. We are introduced to the majority of the characters through his eyes. There are ten boys at the school already; Nat, and later his friend Dan, join them, and soon after Nan arrives as companion for Daisy, the only girl. Jo’s sons Rob and Teddy are younger than the others and are not counted among the pupils, nor are the two girls, Daisy and Nan.

The school is not run on conventional lines. All the children have their own gardens and their own pets, and are encouraged to experiment with running businesses. Pillow fights are permitted on Saturdays, subject to a time limit. Children are treated as individuals, with a strong emphasis on gently molding their characters….” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Men

This is the administrative center of “Hope Village“, across the street. It looks more like one would expect something called “Hope Village” to look. The only hope in this institution is the nearby Vo-tech school and High School. It probably makes for adequate dorms for the Vo-tech school and probably should be operated by them, or the state.

The above is part of research efforts to find out who Howard Sherman is, and why he is runninng, since the media is not doing it. If he or his wife cared at all for the USA, or Mississippi, then he would have stepped aside when he saw that a great candidate, David Baria, was running, if he was unaware. He is a California Republican, and we suspect chosen by Governor Bryant, or others, to be a losing Democratic candidate and/or assure a Republican wins either way. This smells like Roger Stonesque dirty tricks to knock a winning Democratic candidate, David Baria, out of the competition. It is rather remarkable that no one in Meridian seemed to know who Howard Sherman was, in the run-up to the primary, according to some reports.

Notes
[1] “Actress Sela Ward and her VC husband are selling their Bel Air mansion for $40 million“, by Madeline Stone Sep. 17, 2015, 2:02 PM
Actress Sela Ward and her husband, venture capitalist Howard Sherman, are packing up their belongings and heading to New York…http://www.businessinsider.com/sela-ward-selling-40-million-bel-air-home-2015-9

It has seven bedrooms. Seven bedrooms minus one is six bedrooms.

[2] Links to original documents here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/us-senate-candidate-howard-sherman-takes-millions-from-cash-strapped-mississippi-child-protection-services-contracts-would-need-renewing-shortly-after-elections/
Here they state that they have room for 44. The higher numbers are turnover, especially the emergency housing it seems: http://web.archive.org/web/20171008235310/http://www.hopevillagems.org/about-hope-village/hope-village-faq/

[3] Based on “State Table – Title IV-E Foster Care FY 2015 Formula Grants” and “State Table – Chafee Foster Care Independence Program“, and excluding adoption assistance. The higher number includes the Chafee amount. It is unclear if Chafee is relevant. If it is helping guardians it wouldn’t be: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/olab/sec3i_fc_2015cj.pdf
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/1356.60

[4] https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/6243-children-in-foster-care

[5] https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ms/meridian/crime

[6] http://www.barialaw.com/2012/09/press-release/barias-strive-to-make-things-right/
http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2010/jan/04/sen-david-baria/

[7] Robert De Niro is getting $775,000 per episode for his work, whereas Sela War is getting an estimated $125,000 per episode for Graves-EPIX https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2017/08/22/salary-survey-2017-a-look-at-who-makes-what-in-tv/23158057/