Harris County taps ‘Give Directly org’ Which was Implicated in Stealing from Poor for New Universal Basic Income Program
Givedirectly is the Non-profit Harris County Democrats has chosen to administer payments for the new Uplift Harris Program also known as Universal Basic Income. The nonprofit which has been tapped is the same group that administered a Cook County program that reportedly offered UBI awards to illegal immigrants. According to a find from Holly Hansen of the Texan.
GiveDirectly had to suspend operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after learning that staff and former employees had stolen $900,000 in a fraud scheme.
GiveDirectly’s system of separated teams was meant to serve as a check against theft: if anyone did attempt theft, it’d be caught immediately by the audit team. But because the conspirators had arranged to work in all of those offices, they were able to get away with the fraud for about five months, before it was caught in January 2023. About $900,000 was lost, and 1,700 families in need were stolen from. GiveDirectly has paused operations in the DRC while they adjust their procedures.
The Uplift Harris program was facilitated through Harris Health director Barbie Robinson. Barbie Robinson, who came from Sonoma has most recently onboarded two vendors who are currently under investigation for allegedly committing fraud by paying nonexistent employees over $800-$900 thousand. It was later found out that Barbie was aware of these issues with said vendors yet failed to disclose these details with Dema and Give Directly in commissioners court last December after Dema was awarded yet another multimillion-dollar contract.
If you are starting to notice a common pattern with the vendors which Barbie Robinson has brought on to work in the county, you most likely are correct in what you are thinking. It is quite concerning the lack of communication that Ms. Robinson brings when it comes to legal matters these vendors she’s onboarding with multimillion dollar contracts.
One may even go far enough to allege that Barbie Robinson was brought to Harris County in order to bankrupt the county’s health department while enriching big pharma.
I’d suggest taking a look into Barbie’s time in Sonoma when she was tasked with overseeing the wildfires. Barbie also was part of a policy lab which was funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Houston Billionaires Laura and John Arnold.
From the California Policy Lab:
Barbie Robinson brings over 27 years of experience in the fields of health care administration, policy, and research, and is currently the Executive Director for Harris County Public Health—the third largest County in the nation—including the City of Houston, Texas.
Throughout her career, Robinson has been recognized for leading collaborative efforts to address health disparities, as well as community health improvement, and health equity.
Before her move to Harris County in May 2021, she served as Director of Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) for five years while concurrently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission in California for over a year.
Robinson’s leadership was instrumental in the formation of Sonoma County’s ACCESS Initiative, a nationally and internationally-awarded care coordination model that helps vulnerable individuals achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. While at DHS, she prioritized the Department’s emergency preparedness efforts, led the County’s COVID-19 emergency response, and oversaw the emergency responses during the County’s wildfires in 2017, 2019 and 2020. She also led the County’s emergency response to address the County’s largest homeless encampment in 2020.