February 26, 2010

Rubios Event Re-Cap...

Earlier this month, we were selected as the beneficiary by Rubios for one of their new location grand openings. Rubios is amazing - for every new location they open, they select a charity in that specific area to highlight and help raise money for.

Since Rubios is headquartered right here in San Diego, their new store in Vista is literally in their backyard! It proved to be a successful opening with over 300 people in attendance. Each attendee was asked to make a donation to our university and in-turn they were able to eat and drink as much as their hearts desired for 2 hours. We greatly appreciate all of you who attended the event and cannot thank Rubios enough for their desire to help our organization and for 100% of the proceeds. Rubios, you are now Part of the Change!

Above is a picture of the fantastic Rubios Team with one of our staff members.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Your Solutions University Staff

February 23, 2010

Thinking Outside the (Cardboard) Box

Straight from our Executive Director of the Solutions University:

Two decades of being on the front lines as an advocate for the homeless and for programs that solve homelessness have taught me a couple of things about the reactions of people when it comes to this issue. In the spirit of trying to keep things simple here in this blog, the following are some basic thoughts regarding this complex problem.

Most people when they think of homelessness fall into one of two camps: Help them, or don’t help them. Let’s see how this simple concept (of help, don’t help) plays out here and in communities across the country.

The people that help are moved to help for different reasons, sometimes religious, sometimes just personal. But the way that most choose to help (because it seems to be such a big problem) is usually around what I call symptom relief. Example: you see a guy panhandling and give a buck, you volunteer at a soup kitchen to feed the hungry, or you give $100 to the local emergency shelter to help provide a warm bed. These are the usual ways to help the homeless, and these are all temporary solutions. The help isn’t meant to solve the person’s homelessness; it’s an act of compassion that relieves the person’s burden for a moment or a day. The giver feels good. The receiver of the compassion feels a little better. But when tomorrow comes, or next month, the person will almost always have the same symptoms, they will be hungry, cold and lonely – they will still be homeless. And there will always be people who want to help to relieve those burdens. New programs spring up to “help” the homeless using the same compassion principles. In response to the needs of the homeless, they acquire and deploy lots of resources.

Now let’s do a little experiment. Let’s say that in 1980 there were 1000 of these homeless people in a city of one million people. Using this approach of symptom relief, two hundred homeless people (20%) get out of homelessness (I think it’s much lower but we will go with 20%). The other 800 are still homeless, but now it’s a new year and there are 1000 more new homeless people. So now there are 1800 homeless in our city. Three hundred and sixty or 20% of those get out and now the remaining 1440 join the new 1000 and now there are 2440 homeless in our city. Flash forward to 2010. A recession or two, skyrocketing housing costs and cost of living increases produce more than 1000 new homeless during many of those past years and at the end of this thirty year experiment there are now thousands upon thousands of homeless people. The impact on human life is pretty bad because many of these folks are churning around in a system that specializes in managing their symptoms instead of solving the underlying causative factors. But here is the other thing that we overlook - by using this approach (I call it the containment approach) the impacts on our community are also really bad.

When you hear me talk about the negative impacts of homelessness on human beings and communities using a failed battle plan, this is what I am talking about. This is the old way, the old battle plan and it has failed us miserably. I have no doubt that my peers out there fighting this battle want to defeat the impacts of homelessness on people as bad as I do. The point that I am making is this: it’s not good enough that we fight for the homeless person; we have to fight with them on one shoulder and with people in our community on the other shoulder around a common mission, a joint venture, a unified vision to defeat this thing. Not for a month, or for six months, but permanently. That level of thinking leads to a much different kind of strategy, to a much different design and to a much different type of battle plan.

We cannot win as long as we continue to acquire, manage and deploy resources around the failed battle plan to contain homelessness. It might feel like we are doing some great and wonderful things, but we will not win.

Now here is where you are going to want to smack me in the kneecaps or say Halleluiah and give me a hug. Remember the people that I referred to in that other camp as not wanting to help the homeless? They, in many cases, are the folks that are shell shocked with the failed battle plan described above. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that most of them hear the word homeless and associate that word with very negative impacts on and in their communities. I learned a long time ago that by being so focused and committed to alleviating the impacts of homelessness on the homeless person, that I might do so at the expense of the community, instead of for the community. I want you to really think about that for a minute. Opening a shelter in the middle of the city may “help” a ton of homeless people, but what if we are doing so at the expense of the community? Yeah, we might be able to mitigate some of those impacts with work crews and “partnerships” but if at the end of the day there are many people in that community that are being negatively impacted, we as the tacticians (as the General’s and Colonels) that are moving resources around on that battle field are failing. We are failing our community.

Hard to think about that scenario? I hope you can look at it honestly because you and I and all of us have a responsibility to stop the containment merry-go-round and start solving this for both the homeless person AND the community. Both can win. Be sick and tired, get fired up, do what our kids sometimes do and say “I’m pissed off”, whatever it takes, just respond to this in a way that says STOP the madness. Please. Get off the merry-go-round. Or better yet, stop spinning it.

There is a third way between the “help” and “don’t help” camps that is rooted in the core values of solving this thing that can engage and move folks (who are sick and tired of the impacts on human beings and community) in both of those camps around a new way to solve homelessness for both the person in crisis and for the community seeking real change.

Reimagine your community with no homeless people in it. Believe that it can happen. Now ask questions on how to get there. Call me 760-497-0041 or email me at chris@solutionsforchange.org and be ready to throw the (cardboard) box out. Thinking outside the box didn't work, so we threw it out.

Truly Yours,

Chris Megison
President and Executive Director
Solutions for Change

Calling All Golfers - April 28th!

Another message from the Executive Director of the Solutions University:

Attention Golfers and Supporters!

We are very excited to announce that North County Solutions for Change has been selected as beneficiary for the 1st Annual HomeReach.com “One Round. One Cause” Golf Tournament to be held at MADERAS, San Diego County’s number ONE rated Golf Course.

We would love to see you out on the course playing the game you love and helping to solve homelessness for kids and communities at the same time. Please sign up today!

DATE: April 28, 2010
LOCATION: Maderas Golf Club
CHECK IN TIME: 11:30am
TEE OFF TIME: 1:00pm
COST: $195.00 per player
OR $720 per foursome.

Includes: Green Fees, Golf Cart, Boxed Lunch, Dinner Buffet, Prizes, Player Gift Bag + Wine Tasting!

You may register online at http://www.themeyrowfoundation.org/oneroundonecause/register.php or to learn more about the terrific work that The MEYROW Foundation does in our community.

The "One Round. One Cause." Golf Tournament is a collaboration between The MEYROW Foundation and HomeReach.com, a San Diego based Real Estate Company. The purpose of this tournament is to play the game we love while bringing awareness to one of the most pressing social issues facing San Diego and our nation today: kids with no homes.

The "One Round. One Cause." Golf Tournament allows you to know that there is a permanent solution to solving this problem. By playing one round of golf in this spectacular event, you are part of the change that is defeating homelessness for kids, one family and one community at a time.

Special thanks to The MEYROW Foundation and HomeReach.com for their support of North County Solutions for Change!

The MEYROW Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to support causes that increase knowledge and gain awareness on a particular social aspect. Their mission is to, “Ignite a passion for the excitement of knowledge in order for our experiences in life to be one of greater fulfillment and appreciation.”

Solutions for Change is a social entrepreneur driven community organization dedicated to activating permanent solutions and solving family homelessness for kids and communities through our award winning best practices Solutions University model.

Yours Truly,

Chris Megison
Executive Director
Solutions for Change

February 17, 2010

The Solutions University has transformed 542 Families in 10 Years

If you have yet to be introduced to the Solutions University, here is your chance to see real stories from graduates and current residents of our revolutionary model that provides families access to permanent solutions to solve their homelessness. By watching this video, you will become Part of the Change!

From everyone at the Solutions University, thank you for taking the time to watch! :)