Homelessness is a nationwide problem. But unlike some national problems, homelessness cannot be solved by our central government. The federal government in Washington can certainly help fund homeless initiatives across the country and can certainly provide guidance and resources in the effort to prevent and end homelessness. But the federal government in Washington cannot do the grassroots work that is necessary for solving the problem of homelessness. Homelessness must be engaged and the problem must be solved at the local level.
There are two primary reasons, however, that communities find it difficult to solve the problem of homelessness. First, many community leaders have false beliefs about the homeless or they have an inadequate understanding of the strategies that are working in other communities across America. Second, there is often no coherent strategy in specific communities to engage the homeless problem. Instead of taking a collaborative approach through a unified plan, many communities simply allow nonprofit organizations to provide disconnected services that help serve some of the needs of the homeless while the underlying problem goes unresolved.
Our approach, therefore, is to help communities build collaboration among all stakeholders who have a vested interest in ending homelessness within their communities. And we do this by:
- Training and equipping leaders in this effort
- Analyzing the need in each community, the available resources, and the resources needed to finish the work there
- Educating civic leaders, business leaders, faith leaders, philanthropists, and local citizens about the true nature of homelessness and the homeless
- Finding sources of adequate funding and creating mechanisms for utilizing those funds in responsible, measurable, and transparent ways
- Creating a permanent governing structure to preserve and build upon that gains that are made