October 28, 2009

A Toy Drive for our Children

TrackYourDeeds.com is being Part of the Change by holding a Toy Drive for our children at the Solutions University. We greatly appreciate your efforts to help one organization help another. For our children and families to get to celebrate the Holidays with each other is a gift in itself. For our children to be able to unwrap a present during the Holidays is a moment that will last forever and will brighten their lives in a way that is not comprehensible to those of us who have not been in their shoes.

Bring a new or used toy and Be Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever!

October 26, 2009

Salon Forte is Part of the Change!

On Saturday, October 17, 2009, Salon Forte came in force to cut and style hair for our Solutions kids and parents. Their salon is located at 722 Genevieve St. suite J, Solana Beach, and our families thank them for making the trip. We had some very stylish parents, some getting ready for job searching, and way cool, looking kids.

Denny Vagner, the owner, came and cut hair as well and brought with him some great people from Salon Forte and hair products donated from Colure for our families. Thank you Salon Forte owner Denney Vagner and Debbie DePamphilis for putting this together and for bringing your crew of amazing people; Jordan Barett, Chelsea Durma, Kristi Fernandez, Brooke Calders, and Juliana DePamphilil.

This is another great example of a local company being Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever!


Your Solutions for Change Community Outreach Coordinator

October 21, 2009

Your Chance to Raise Money!

We are glad to announce that we are now able to have people manage their own fundraising programs in order to help us solve family homelessness! Many people have had some great ideas as to how they would like to fundraise for us, for example; running a marathon! In order to set-up your free, personal fundraising page please click on the following link in order to see how you can get started today. We made it secure, easy and simple in order to give you another opportunity to be Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever!

Click HERE to start fundraising!

Thank you for all your amazing efforts and PLEASE contact us if you have any fundraising ideas or questions.

- The Solutions University Team

October 20, 2009

Genentech, Inc. Supports the Solutions University!

Oceanside based company, Genentech, Inc. are Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever. A big thank you goes out to their company as they helped paint four of our Solutions University Campus Apartments last week. They are a prime example of how we all have the ability to lend a hand to solving family homelessness and allowing the Solutions University to continue to provide the solution for families to end their homelessness.... permanently!

They took the time out of their day, during the middle of the week and volunteered in order to Be Part of the Change. It really is an honor and we are so appreciative of companies and organizations such like Genentech, Inc. who are willing to give up valuable hours of their work-day to help our community.

To view more pictures from the day's event, please visit our Facebook Fan Page, by clicking here.

To learn more about Genentech, Inc., please visit them by clicking here.

We cannot thank Genentech enough!


Your Solutions University Team

October 14, 2009

Containment, Compassion and the Church

As many of you have probably heard we are working double-time visiting with faith leaders, engaging folks in the aisles and working to forge purposeful and meaningful partnerships with North County churches around a new communitywide plan to solve family homelessness. We are reaching out to every sector of the community (civic, business, church, education and government) and including everyone who wants to solve family homelessness for kids and communities. The church is uniquely positioned to take a lead role in the efforts around solving family homelessness. It’s been much tougher than I imagined, but we are making headway.

It seems that our society has largely conditioned itself around a “containment” approach, reacting to the urgent surface needs of our homeless neighbors by managing the symptoms of homelessness. Slinging soup bowls, shelter beds, case managers and hugs at an opponent as tricky and difficult as this enemy is, is in my opinion, a sad recipe for massive failure not to mention showing an unintended disservice to the homeless person themselves. Demonstrating mercy requires that we deliver the attitude, the action and the accountability of compassion. Yet how often do we leave out that essential and very necessary third critical piece...the accountability of compassion? Without all three it seems that compassion is nothing more than a transaction for the benefit of the giver. The Good Samaritan did all three; the attitude, the action and the accountability of compassion. And as we can see in the parable, it wasn’t easy for him to do yet he did it anyway because he wanted his involvement to be significant. After he picked the hurt man up on the side of the road, cleaned his wounds and rode him to town he gave two silver pieces to the inn keeper and said that he would return. This would indicate his intention to follow-through.

It’s easy to give someone a bowl of soup or 5 bucks on a freeway off ramp. Giving a bowl of soup is 100x easier than getting shoulder to shoulder with a person, opening a conversation around change, building trust and engaging the person to see that change is necessary, developing a partnership with clear goals and objectives, executing the change, making adjustments along the way and then solving the underlying issues that caused the person to be hungry, cold, lonely and lost to begin with. This is what Solutions for Change stands for. Working with families in crisis on a gut level and solving homelessness in a partnership with them is what we strive to accomplish with each of the 60 homeless families in our Solutions University. And this is why I am passionate about engaging the church because the church can be involved in something much deeper and more significant when it comes to its impact in the community. And they don’t have to start from scratch because we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting already by building and acquiring the homes for 60 homeless families to live, learn and grow within the Solutions University programs.

Solutions for Change is looking to forge strategic community partnerships with churches (and with other sectors…which we will share about in a future blog) who want to move from success to significance when it comes to their involvement in community issues like family homelessness. So far we’ve found some big visionaries in the church sector like New Life Pres in Escondido, Calvary Chapel Oceanside, and Vista Hope Church to join the initiative. Many more are seeing the difference between the containment system and the compassion model and looking to join the North County Community Initiative to Solve Family Homelessness.

Whether it is with a homeless family at Solutions for Change or the neighbor down the street, true acts of mercy are about going all the way, way beyond that bowl of soup or a drive by volunteer opportunity. It's not about compassion transactions but about relationships around solving tough community problems. It begins with seeing the difference between the containment system and the compassion model. Once we recognize the difference, then implementing the solutions are simple. When that happens, watch and see how our North County community defeats family homelessness with amazing ease.

Community Members are Part of the Change

We are so thankful for all the different community organizations who continue to Be Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever. Without all of you, we would not be able to continue to provide the impact we need in order to solve family homelessness. We were honored to have two great events this past weekend.

On Saturday, October 10th Girl Scouts held a fundraiser at the Wallmart in Vista. On Sunday, October 11, Teens in Action built seven bikes for our kids here at the Solutions University. We would like to give a big THANK YOU to these two organizations as it means everything to us when organizations want to be part of the change.

If you have an organization or you are an individual and you would like to help fundraise for Solutions for Change, PLEASE contact us as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to ensure the success of your participation.

October 10, 2009

Mercy for the Homeless in San Diego

There has been a big debate in San Diego lately around where to put the emergency winter shelter this year. I know exactly what the shelter operators and the community is going through down there because for years we faced the same type of challenges and debates here in Vista/North County. Here is my take on it...

The old way of dealing with homelessness through emergency shelters, soup kitchens and other human service programs has FAILED. These methods only contain and manage the symptoms of homelessness while creating more impacts in our communities which act like a giant enabling churning system. Sure some homeless get out, but most just churn around in an every expanding and costly system. Then we scratch our heads and wonder why neighborhoods come unglued and we can’t get a winter shelter placed. Take it from an old Marine who’s been on the front lines of this social battle for 18 years here in San Diego County...you need a new battle plan. HINT: Real mercy includes the attitude, the action and the accountability of compassion. Without all three -- a shelter bed and a bowl of soup is merely a "compassion transaction". It all starts with a shift in our thinking....a whole different attitude. Stop compassion transactions and start treating the impacts of homelessness on human beings and communities like the worthy opponent it is.

Chris Megison

October 8, 2009

We Provide the Tools...."One Family's Story"

Why do we continue to say that we have a permanent solution to solving family homelessness? Why have we created the Solutions University Model?

In order to allow families to solve their homelessness they need the tools that will enable them to get into stable housing and correct where they may have gone wrong. This is not done by solely providing families with a bed to sleep on or a bowl of soup to eat. One has to solve the problems that are occurring after the person walks out of the soup kitchen or the temporary homeless shelter for the evening...

Here is proof that the Solutions University provides these families with the necessary tools to solve their homelessness; enabling futures to be changed for a lifetime!

“Solutions for Change has impacted my life in a lot of different ways. It has helped my son and I learn to set goals in all areas of our lives, so that we can better our future in many ways. I have learned how to save money, pay bills, and how to get a job that will support my family and I in a better way. I thank Solutions for Change for all their love and support for my family and I.”

- Solutions University Graduate

October 2, 2009

Facts on Family Homelessness

In this week's "Facts on Family Homelessness" we highlight the facts on the "Lack of Affordable Housing" thanks to familyhomelessness.org.

As you will notice, these statistics are astronomical. The Solutions University model is committed to directly aiding families in having the opportunity to move into affordable housing once they are ready to do so. This is the challenge we face on a day-to-day basis; the more off campus housing we can afford to purchase, the greater our chances are of permanently solving family homelessness. Our campus has the ability to only house a certain number of residents and therefore it becomes critical to be able to move them to off campus housing. As the residents move from on campus, to off campus housing they are allowing themselves enough time to be able to enter the normal renting market in a stable and secure manner. As we accomplish this, we accomplish solving family homelessness!

Lack of Affordable Housing:

In a detailed analysis of the US rental market, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition concluded that our country is experiencing a significant and prolonged shortage of affordable housing.

- 1.7 million housing units are needed to fill the gap in affordable housing for extremely low-income households.

Housing costs outpace wages.

- A full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom unit priced at the Fair Market Rent anywhere in the United States. Nationally, a full-time worker must earn $17.32 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.

One in seven US households – 37.3 million – has severe housing cost burdens. Most of these households (78%) are in the bottom quarter of the income distribution (earning $23,000 or less annually).

Federal support for low-income housing has fallen 49% from 1980-2003.

- The average wait for public housing is twenty months. The average wait for a Section 8 Voucher is thirty-five months.

October 1, 2009

One Family's Story...

Our "One Family's Story" continues with a current resident who is almost about to graduate from the Solutions University.

Solutions for Change is the biggest part of my family’s future, and a stepping stone laid down for my family by God as a hand up. We are in preparation to graduate and move into our new home in the next six months. This is a huge difference considering six months ago I was jobless, with little money and soon to be evicted. This partnership has rocked my whole world and way of thinking, living and walking through life. The uniqueness of this program cannot even be compared. It’s more than change, it’s a new life. You do the work, and you get a new turnkey life. It’s not easy but it’s so worth it. I can accomplish my dreams now.”

There are many ways that you are able to be part of the change and allow more families to go through this amazing life changing university model. Please visit our web site by clicking here. Take some time to get to us know us a little more in depth; our mission, our values and the volunteer opportunities we have to offer. You will see that Solutions for Change is not just a Name, but a Promise!

Be Part of the Change - for today, tomorrow and forever!

Happy October folks!