Psst…You okay?

Sometimes I get worried about you. Yes, I am talking to you. I know you are working really hard to make this ending homelessness thing happen. I know sometimes that means you are not sleeping well and working long hours. I am also pretty sure you were the one worried about where things are going politically as it relates to this work (and America as a whole). Plus your friends and family are stressing you out a bit. I got you. Let’s do a little check up from the neck up, shall we? I have some questions to ask you, and all I ask is that you be honest with yourself as you go through them:

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Ending Homelessness is Simple, but It Ain’t Easy

Housing is the only known cure to homelessness. If your entire organization or community is focused on getting people out of homelessness as rapidly as possible and into housing with the supports customized by their choice and needs, then you are doing it right.

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Say Thank You to Your Haters

Once you find your voice and reason in life, it will be what expresses you. It becomes what you stand for, which inevitably also represents what you stand against.

I am a recovering asshole. I have been inhabited by hate. I have hated. I have held others in disdain. I have been nasty. I have bullied. I have intimidated. I have shot down the dreams of others. I have pummelled people with my intellect in the hopes of feeling better about my own insecurities. I have avenged others for perceived wrongs. I know the hater, because I was one – and didn’t even have the personal insight to know it for many years.

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An open letter from a faith-based volunteer to the professionals that help the homeless in the community…

This is a guest blog provided by John Horn. John is a friend and reader of the blog who works in the field of homelessness and is also a man of devout faith. He has penned this response to the Open Letter to Faith Based Organizations blog I wrote a few weeks back. I respect his opinion, input and response, and with his permission, I am posting it as the blog for this week. 

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One Truly Beautiful Thing

Homelessness is human suffering. You cannot spin human suffering. But you can still decide to do one truly beautiful thing. Maybe that is once per day. Maybe once per week. Heck, maybe once a year.

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Leading Change

The 2016 Leadership Academy in Ending Homelessness is in the books. We had another sell-out this year, with participants from three countries. Clear to me: we need to keep investing in leadership if we want to achieve complex social change. And homelessness is definitely an example of complex social change.

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An Open Letter to the Faith-based Group that Wants to Help People that are Homeless

Dear (insert name of church, temple, synagogue, mosque, etc.),

In the name of (insert deity believed in/worshipped), I understand you are called upon to help humankind as a way of living your faith and putting into practice the teachings of your religion. This is most welcome, and we are grateful that you have chosen to help people that are experiencing homelessness. I am an expert in the field of homelessness, so while it is unsolicited by you, I want to take this opportunity to fill you in on ways that would be most helpful, and the stuff you may be thinking of doing that will just get in the way of what experts are trying to achieve.

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Museums of Suffering

The tour. You have been on one or given one. You walk through a homeless shelter or day centre or spend a night on an outreach van or a morning at a soup kitchen. You see the things that go on there. You meet the people – the program participants, residents and clientele; the staff; the volunteers. When these same buildings and programs are anchored in more traditional models rather than being focused on rapid exit from homelessness into housing they become, by definition, homelessness as a museum – objects of historical, scientific, artistic or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.

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Making Change Happen

I do listening sessions with groups of case managers and outreach workers in several of the communities where we do work. It is their chance to share what is working and not working in their practice, and gives us the opportunity to identify strategies or techniques they can try to improve their practice. I absolutely love doing them, and can often see the frustrations experienced turn into optimism.

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Learn. Grow. Implement.

Theory. Practice. Implementation.

These are the three key ingredients to knowing how to make change in operations in your approach to ending homelessness. Very recently, we announced the Learning Clinics in 2017. These are the next big step (risk?) we are taking at OrgCode to enhance the knowledge-base in ending homelessness, and help communities achieve sustained reductions in homelessness.

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