What Have We Learned

13 07 2009

By: Arita Liu

Throughout the past three weeks, our team has been actively doing research and meeting with experts to discover issues of and search for solutions for homelessness. What we learned through our exploration process can fall into following four scopes.

Understand homeless situation in Tri-Cities

Homelessness is a complicated social problem. Each city differs in its homeless problems due to geographical, economical and cultural factors. Tri-Cities homelessness is distinguished with the fact that there is no permanent shelter in the area yet church plays an important role in providing temporary shelters and connecting homeless individuals with available services and resources. The reality that a permanent shelter is nowhere closer calls for alternative innovative housing opportunities.

Touched by community involvement

Last Wednesday we were in the food hamper provided by SHARE Family & Community Services Society in Trinity United Church. We had a chance to see how the church worked with community volunteers to organize and deliver the service and how the food hamper is a socializing event for the homeless families and individuals. It is a very special experience to witness the bond of the community in helping the homeless people. Through interviewing two volunteers, one of them used to be homeless and addictive to drugs, we get to hear homeless citizens’ voice on their needs and perspectives, which is valuable in helping us to adjust the solution to meet their needs.

Perceive from multiple perspectives

In the process of searching for an innovative solution to homelessness, we contacted experts from the real estate. They provided financial and economical advise on our solution and raised issues from their perspective for us to consider in developing the model. Hearing opinions from business professionals is inspiring because it makes us realize that people from different fields with different perspectives can share a same vision and collaborate with each other to solve a problem. Cross- sector collaboration and partnership may bring about some really innovative solutions by exchanging ideas and values and mobilizing social resources.

Apply knowledge to practice

It is amazing that we are given an opportunity to actually apply the knowledge we learned from the course Social Innovation to our practice of trying to come up with a novel solution to a social problem. We come to understand better that in order to bring about positive changes to the social problem, we need to think bold, actively contact informants, and persistently pursue opportunities.

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2 responses

26 07 2009
christinehwang

I also agree that I was given such a valuable opportunity to study the real life issues by applying our textbook knowledge to practice. Bring about the posivite changes is indeed a hard and challenging work.

But one thing I have found out during my preparation for this assignment is that there are so many people who actually want to see the positive changes implemented in the dark areas of social dilemma. When I try to reach out to experts, students, and people, I realized that people truly desire to be more committed to a good, worthwhile cause, and they are willing to devote more time and energy once people realized the importance of the social issues.

It is good that we had a chance to study the real, vivid social issues that some people are struggling with everyday. I believe that I will pay more attentions to the six issues our class has presented on in my future lives and careers.

27 07 2009
Hannah Kim

Thanks so much for your insight, Christine. In the process of speaking to a diverse range of contacts (those who work with the homeless for advocate for them; contacts in the banking industry, real estate and property development), my team has also found that there are so many members of the community who want to help alleviate homelessness. The task of implementing our solution becomes much more complicated when factoring in all of the stakeholders who would become part of that solution (e.g. homeless clients, outreach workers, registered charity that can administer the program, investors and donors, etc.). 🙂

Our team remains positive that by resolving the issues and challenges raised regarding our giving circles model, we can get the community stakeholders we need on board to bring the Homeless Sponsorship Model to reality.

Thanks again for your support,
Hannah

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