Homelessness Solutions: Connecting Givers in our Communities with the Homeless (Part 2 – Questions to Address)

14 06 2009

questions

Here are some initial questions I thought of for this idea, (see Part 1 below) but there are many more which need to be considered and answered. Please feel free to share what questions you think need to be addressed, and your thoughts.

Q.) How do identify the homeless people and how can we get profiles of them on the website?

With the current outreach workers in the Tri Cities, we can identify who these low needs people are because they are known by the outreach workers. With their consent, we can put their profile and story on a website, where people would have the chance to read about them and choose to sponsor their needs.

Q.) What added benefits do the donors get with this system?

Rather than donating simply to the general cause of alleviating poverty, which many churches in the Tri Cities do, donors get the opportunity to know the person they are helping and therefore put a face to homelessness. By working with the outreach workers to track their progress towards getting housing on the website, a sense of connection between the community and the homeless can be built, misconceptions about homelessness can be dispelled and there is increased motivation for the homeless person to help lift themselves out of homelessness. Furthermore, there would be opportunities for the donors to meet with the homeless people in person if both parties choose, therefore building relationships and helping to re-integrate the homeless into society.

Q.) Who are the potential donors?

I would consider appealing to the five churches who are involved with the Tri Cities Cold Wet Weather Mat Program. These churches have large groups of volunteers who have worked with the homeless and have a desire to help them. After this, we can consider appealing to local businesses and the community in general. There is a wide interest in homelessness in the Tri Cities, as can be seen with the record numbers drawn to the city council meetings when the rezoning of the churches was required for the Cold Wet Weather Mat Program.

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The Great Turning: Be The Change Conference

25 05 2009

final_banner - be the change conference

Yesterday I met some amazing people when I attended a full day conference called “The Great Turning: An Unconference to Be the Change.” The conference used a powerful tool called circle talks, where groups of 10 or less have intimate and open discussions with each other. Each circle focused on a different social issue, including sustainable food systems, community gardens, poverty in Canada and in the world, and public policy decisions such as carbon tax vs. cap and trade systems. As a business student, I have attended many conferences before and worked on several projects with students, and what I really liked about this conference was the opportunity to meet engaged citizens from all kinds of backgrounds. Among the people I met were: a mother who is fighting for the living wage (a wage that allows adequate income for everyone who is working full time) trying to create a better world for her daughter to live in, a college professor who does research and now wants to find a way to use her skills to help NGOs, a small business woman who wants to create an action circle in her neighborhood in order to build community in our busy lives, and an entrepreneur who wants to change the world by changing the way we look at food.

I loved how this event brought together people from all walks of life in our community – although we were each inspired by different things, and with different perspectives and ideas, we were all united by our common passion to engage ourselves in social issues. I learned so much from engaging in rich dialogue where it wasn’t simply about having different opinions and ending with “Okay you have your viewpoint, I have mine, and who knows what is right.” Rather, it was open dialogue with a search for truth and for solutions. It was refreshingly different, and I’m very glad to have participated in such an event.