Musician gives up home to keep foundation for homeless going - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Musician gives up home to keep foundation for homeless going

Posted: Updated:
Brian O'Neal is a jazz musician who started the DO Foundation to help Detroit's homeless.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Brian O'Neal is a jazz musician who started the DO Foundation to help Detroit's homeless. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"I need to know what it feels like to be hungry, cold, tired, no place to go," Brian O'Neal said nearly two years ago.

He is a talented jazz musician turned advocate for the homeless.  He hit the snowy streets of Detroit with the clothes on his back and seven bucks to experience homelessness firsthand, probably never dreaming he might actually find himself in that situation.

O'Neal continued to compose and perform, but scaled back so he could lead the DO Foundation, his homeless advocacy organization on Woodward Avenue in Detroit where they help so many people get back on their feet like Michelle Deciantis, a client and longtime volunteer.

"There [are] homeless people that live on the streets of the City of Detroit that depend on the DO Foundation," she said.

An all volunteer organization, they don't rely on government grants, don't deal with the red tape, just donations and O'Neal's income.  It hasn't been easy.  DO Foundation was burglarized more than once, wiped out, but still they persevered.

Times are hard.  Donations have dwindled, and O'Neal, who spent so much of his own money just to keep DO Foundation going, was faced with a very difficult decision -- lose the organization or his own home.

"I would feel like a complete failure if DO Foundation were to close their doors.  I wouldn't want to let down the people that we service."

So he gave up his townhouse in Novi and is now living with his family at a motel.  He plans to spend the next 45 days composing and recording his new CD, which will be called "Do Something".

"Hoping and praying ... that CD takes off.  If I get at least once hit song from there, we'll be able to open at least two other DO Foundation offices," O'Neal said.

As for his current situation, living in a motel, O'Neal is trying not to think about it.

"We consider ourselves doers, so the more we do, the better things are for you mentally, emotionally," he said.  "When I come into the office every day and see the clients that walk in frowning and leaving smiling, that's all I need.  That confirms that decision."

To learn more or donate to the DO Foundation, visit www.dofoundation.net.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:01:39 GMT
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
  • Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:35 GMT
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
  • Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:59:07 GMT
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher charged with sexual assault

    Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher charged with sexual assault

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:14 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:14:35 GMT
    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday that former Detroit Tigers pitcher, Evan Reed, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.
    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday that former Detroit Tigers pitcher, Evan Reed, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.
  • FBI execute search warrant in connection to murder of Armada Teen, April Millsap

    FBI execute search warrant in connection to murder of Armada Teen, April Millsap

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:08 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:08:43 GMT
    The FBI is searching a house is near Wales Center and Marquette roads in Wales Township in St. Clair County in connection to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap of Armada.
    The FBI is searching a house is near Wales Center and Marquette roads in Wales Township in St. Clair County in connection to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap of Armada.
  • Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:43:20 GMT
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices