December 30, 2009

Your Year End Gift Will Solve Homelessness for [insert #] of Children

“Hey mommy, we found our way home!” That simple statement from Jessica, age 6, sums up why we are asking you to consider giving the gift of a home to a child who has lost theirs. Your $7 will provide a life changing experience for one child for one day in the Solutions University program. Ask yourself -- how many children’s lives do I want to solve homelessness for? Then do the math and please give. You can sponsor the cost of solving homelessness for one kid for one day ($7), one week ($49) or a month ($210). Or you can do it for a length of time that will make a lifelong impact…a game changer…a life changer by sponsoring a child for an entire year for $2,500. Whatever your gift is, you will be giving that child a home not as a temporary fix for a few months, but as an investment into permanent change.

As the name suggests, Solutions for Change is all about solving family homelessness for kids and communities by engaging homeless families in the Solutions University around accessing permanent solutions. By building purposeful and meaningful partnerships around long term permanent solutions with families in crisis on one hand and with discerning community partners like you on the other, together we defeat homelessness. Not for a few winter months, but forever.

We do this by equipping parents and kids with the skills, knowledge and resources using a strategic partnership around a blending of affordable housing, work training, educational opportunities and health related solutions. Solving homelessness versus simply managing the symptoms of it requires a lot of hard work and resources. Your support equips Solutions for Change with the resources needed to battle and defeat the impacts of homelessness.

By supporting Solutions for Change YOU solve family homelessness for kids and communities, one family and one community at a time.

Be Part of the Change – for Today, Tomorrow and forever and join the cause that is solving family homelessness.

Blessing for a a healthy and prosperous 2010,

Chris and Tammy Megison


December 23, 2009

Real Change for Hundreds of North County Homeless Kids at Christmas and Year Round

Around the Solutions University, the weeks leading up to Christmas are some of the most exciting and magical times that people in and around the Solutions for Change organization will ever experience. For just one child and her mother who were just months before homeless and destitute, just hearing mom’s words as she describes what it is like being here makes it hard to fight back the tears. And then as you walk the hallways of the Solutions University and see their smiles and hear the words “Thank You” over and over you get this overwhelming feeling, a jolt of deep gratitude from those you meet. Then you realize that all around you there are over a hundred of those kids in dozens of families who were also homeless. And then it hits you.

I am part of something hugely purposeful and meaningful. My being here and being involved in a cause that is solving family homelessness for kids and communities is different than anything I have ever experienced. This is really special. The people here are really special.

This place is solving family homelessness for these kids and my community and I am part of it.

Pause right now wherever you are and think back to when you were eight years old. What if you lost your home? Where would you go? What would you do? You are eight. The average age of the 190 “homeless people” helped within the Solutions University right now today is eight years old. The program is year round and comprehensive and is designed to defeat homelessness by equipping families with the skills, knowledge and resources required to address and solve the causative factors, not merely contain the symptoms for the winter months.

For each and every person out there who has given something of themselves this holiday season to solve homelessness for a kid at Solutions for Change: their time, a gift, inviting their FaceBook friends with a message that says “wow! check this place out”, their integrity to stand up and be accountable for changing how we deal with this problem, their leadership or their treasures here is a message from the Solutions for Change family:

“We want you to know how special each of you are and how much your kindness has lightened the burden carried by a child who has lost something very a child who has lost their home. You see by supporting the Solutions University, the gift you give this holiday season, this Christmas, is the gift of a home. And because of that, because you believe in us, we pledge to fight everyday for our kids, to work harder than we ever have to get back on our feet and to defeat this thing called homelessness. Thank You for joining us and coming alongside in this big vision to solve family homelessness for kids and communities".

December 22, 2009

Today's letter from Sarah and Toma...

As we get closer to year end it is stories like this that keep our passion ignited.

"Hello. I'm Toma. "Meaningless, empty and cold.'" That’s how Sarah and I describe our lives before Solutions for Change. We were living on the streets, literally. Sarah was pregnant. But as soon as Sarah found Solutions for Change, she started to take control of her life. I followed her lead and, together, we re-established our lives through the Solutions University.

Now Sarah and I are married. We live in our own apartment. Sarah saved a couple of thousands dollars while at the Solutions University. We are parents to a two-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. Sarah describes her life now as "fulfilling, exciting and fun." I say Solutions for Change was a Godsend. So thanks for the promise you have made to us and everyone else who is in need! There are lots of people like Sarah and me who still need your help."

Thank You for all your support!

- The Solutions University Team

December 16, 2009

Today's letter from Kortni and Jesus...

Here is a letter we received from Kortni and Jesus:

To all the Leaders of Change at the Solutions University –

I feel compelled to write a letter showing my appreciation for your understanding and hard work.

Prior to my family entering the Solutions University, I had called over 30 residential programs from San Diego to Bakersfield. My husband had an outstanding probation issue that required him to be in a structured residential program until Dec. Two months went by and we struggled very hard, barely making it day-to-day

Every program we called, either didn’t have room for our family of 6, or couldn’t help us..

On May 26, I had given up. I stopped calling programs and gave our entire situation to God.

That day, a family member gave me a list of resource numbers, all of which I had already called. The last number on the list said “Solutions”.

I called the number expecting the same response, “No two parent families”, or the famous, “No room.”

I was greeted on the phone by a woman named Laurie. I explained to her my situation and to my surprise, her words were “We’re not like the typical so- called shelter, we can help.” I immediately started to cry. She explained to me a little about the program, and asked me some questions. She gave me an appointment, and before I hung up, she told me, “I’ll see you on Wednesday, everything’s going to be okay.”

I showed up on Wednesday, May 3, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. The same woman, Laurie, gave both me and my husband an application. When we got to the criminal and drug history section, we looked at each other with the same look – “Should I be honest?”

For the first time in a long time, we were 100% honest. At this point now, I’m really expecting the worst because my honesty on paper doesn’t exactly make us look like upstanding people. We reluctantly turned them back into Laurie and waited.

A few minutes later, we met with a woman named Christine. Her first question was, “Why are you here?” I immediately began crying. I broke down and was completely honest with a total stranger. This went on for about an hour. Christine called a woman named Barbara, and asked if there was room for a family of 6. When she hung up, she said it’s pretty full, but Barbara will call you later and let you know when you can move over there.

Three long hours later, Barbara called and said we can move in that same night. I felt so relieved; all I could do was cry.

My family and I arrived at the intake and access center that night and were greeted by Ann and Laurie, who made us feel right at home.

I’ve been at the intake and access center now for almost a month and a half. I feel safe and comfortable now, a feeling I haven’t had in a while. I don’t always like it here, but Barbara tells me that’s a good thing because if I like it, I may never leave. I think she’s right.

In the small amount of time we’ve been there, I’ve seen a lot of changes in my family, good ones. We work as a team now, something that we haven’t always done. We have 350 days clean and feel better than I’ve ever felt. Thank you for your kindness.

December 14, 2009

Today's letter from Leannna...

"My three children and I started our journey out of homelessness here in Vista a few years ago. Although we still live in Vista today, we are a world apart from how we used to live. Growing up in an abusive family and later in an abusive marriage I learned at a very young age that you absolutely did not talk about family situations and because of this, I became very introverted. When I came into Solutions for Change, they recognized this right away and started to provide me with the tools that I needed to overcome the “don’t tell” syndrome. While working the part of the program called Framework for Recovery, something clicked for me and I realized that recovery from all the loss and pain was an inside job. When I cared enough about myself to open up, to get rid of the negative self-talk, I started taking responsibility for my choices and began holding myself accountable for my own happiness. My whole life changed. I’ve been working for the same Vista business for a couple of years. Solutions University helped me get into an affordable apartment. The difference in my kids lives today still makes me cry sometimes…I love them so much. When we got here they were hungry and scared and now they are safe, happy and healthy. THANK YOU to the Solutions University for giving us a chance."

December 7, 2009

Vista Christmas Parade

This past Saturday, the Solutions University participated in the Vista Christmas Parade. It was a great parade, showcasing the community leaders and patrons of Vista. It was a fun day for our residents and many of the children got the opportunity to ride in the fire truck! A great way to begin the Holiday Season with our beloved community!

Please help us spread the word of our university model, but joining our Facebook Fan page, here. All you have to do is join and share it with your friends and you will be on your way to being part of the change!

Thanks for your continued support.

Solutions University on KUSI Morning News here in San Diego!

If you are unable to view the video below, please click here.

December 6, 2009

Homelessness Solutions Reform in San Diego?

In downtown San Diego, the conversation around solutions to homelessness is picking up steam. Last week there was a forum on "Homelessness Solutions" which I attended. I was excited to be going to such a forum that seemed to have no reservations around using the "R" word. Reform.

One thing was made very clear...the concern around the impacts of homelessness are reaching critical mass. People are tired of the same old, same old. But I must say that the same attitudes and beliefs that crafted the policies and practices which got us into this huge mess are still alive and well. And I see these attitudes prevalent amongst those we count on the most to execute our programs. It's an attitude based on reacting to the unmet needs of the homeless and containing homelessness versus solving it.

There is also finger pointing at how badly people in San Diego treat the homeless. Like this editorial written by a social worker published in the Union Tribune today. She points a finger at the people of San Diego who are treating the homeless badly. But are they really the people who created the problem?

From my front line perspective, the reactions from our community and the "despise" this writer and others speak of are the natural consequences resulting from two decades of using the wrong battle plan. The plan San Diego uses is largely one based on a “containment" plan, whereas the impacts of homelessness are essentially controlled and contained. Homelessness is a solvable condition, yet we continue to treat it as a disease by managing the symptoms of homelessness instead of treating the underlying causes.

There is talk of a reform effort in San Diego...but there can be no real reform until we know what went wrong and why it went wrong.

Reform means that we do not push the rug over the big crack in the foundation thinking we'll just modify practices around failed policies and build new walls around the crack. Reform means not getting on the same ship, setting a new "course" while we have the crews bailing water on the decks below. Reform means abandoning the failed battle plan totally and redesigning using the best social purpose entrepreneurial thinking this community has to offer. Or we can just keep using the same old "political" excuses, the same old general’s controlling the same old containment battle plan. That is how we got here and that is how we will stay locked into mediocrity as many more human beings suffer and die on our streets. Like in any battle, when it comes to the battle to defeat homelessness, using the wrong battle plan only increases the impacts of homelessness on human beings and on our community. Please look at the negative impacts! That is all the evidence you need. It’s worse now than ever before.

We must abandon this old failed battle plan, redesign around a new battle plan. And reimagine San Diego with no homeless on our streets.

It's not the business community’s job, the church's job, or the government’s job to solve homelessness. This is a social problem that deserves the involvement of every sector, both private and public, engaged in a winnable battle plan. Stop messing around. It’s time we deploy our community capital and resources in a way that will defeat homelessness.

December 3, 2009

Editorial Hits Google's Top 10 Nationwide on "Solving Homelessness"

Solving homelessness better than a bandage

Today, the North County Times Newspaper published a shorter version of Tuesday's blog post about solving homelessness. You can access it online here.

As an indication to how little we talk about solving homelessness, GOOGLE lists this in their Top 10 hits nationwide when searching "solving homelessness". My purpose for this editorial is an attempt to elevate the conversation around solving (versus managing the symptoms of) homelessness.