Monday, December 12, 2011

Day - 82 Homelessness Has a Weakness

I brainstormed about this a week ago. I have only mentioned this thought to one other person (Brian). The more I think about it, the more I like it. I'm going to talk about it much the same way I mentioned  it to Brian.

One night while I was resting in my tent it occurred to me that as big and powerful homelessness is, there is a weakness.

Homelessness is not contagious. Its not a cold. Its not a germ. Its not a virus. It is simply an entity or way of life that sometimes people fall into. Think about it! Personally, I have NEVER heard anyone say "I'm homeless because someone else..." or "I became homeless because I was around someone that was".

You (my reader) can argue that with me. You can say "well, Homelessrob, what about a couple? Or people on drugs?" My response is still the same. I have never heard a couple say "WE became homeless because another couple did".

As for people on drugs goes, there might be a little truth in that. If you are doing drugs with someone that is homeless, you might find yourself homeless. But I wouldn't blame that on the homeless person. Also, there are plenty of people that do drugs that are not homeless. So, I stand firm on this: "homelessness is not contagious"!

So, how do we use this notion to fight homelessness? How do we exploit homelessness by way of its weakness?

The only logical way I can think of is to compare homelessness with things that ARE contagious.

What things are contagious?

That's right - you got it! Hope, friendships, bonds, faith, humility, support, and the most powerful of all emotions: LOVE!

Well, Homelessrob, If we have all that how do we use it? How do we get it to work?

I have a few thoughts about that also.

I have a friend, John. In the last 2 months he has single-handedly helped 12 homeless people off the streets. He is a pretty resourceful man. His method is one that I have seen before and not used often. He uses the "one homeless person at a time method". The rules are simple. He takes one homeless person and works with then until 1 of 2 things happens. 1- the homeless person is found to be someone that really does not want the help and would rather be on the streets. 2- the homeless person is no longer homeless. Also, he works on that one person, no more than 1 at a time. It works.

So, now we have a system that works! What do we do with it? We fill it with things that are contagious!

What do we end up with? An anti-homeless machine that takes homeless people off the streets and also manufactures contagious feelings. This is the worst fear of homelessness. Homelessness will not like this fight. LOL!

So now you say "Homelessrob, that sounds OK, but...!" and start looking for whatever reason you can find for this to not make sense, right!

My friend Brian almost did that. God bless him! The first thing he started looking at was the numbers. So here, let me break this down for you.

Let's say you live here with me in Tampa, FL. It is said there are about 7,000 homeless people here.
WOW, one person at a time is going to take a long time. Not worth it, right?

One thing about my friend John and his "one at a time" system is that I wish he had 2 other people to help him. A team of 3.

Let's do some math. Let's say you have a group of 30 people that want to help the homeless and are willing to not just do their best but maybe go just a little bit past that (self-suffer, this is going to take work). You break this group of 30 into small teams of 3 people each.

Now you have 10 groups of 3 people each.

Divide 7,000 by 10 and each group will have 700 homeless people to help off the streets.

At the same rate that my friend works it would take somewhere about 12 years to get all the homeless people off the streets. 

Believe me its almost just as hard to convince you!

But right now you are not considering "things that are contagious" and how that spreads! You have to look past the numbers for a second and consider the "snowball effect".

You see, when you have a group of 30 people that are doing something that WORKS and SPREADS love you have to understand that people will want to be a part of that. It won't take long before that small group of 30 people turns into 50, then 80, then 100, then 150, then 200, then......and so on and so on.

Let's look at it with some new numbers!

Let's say you start with a group of 500 people. Split that into groups of 3 each.

Now you have about 166 groups

Now that's only 42 homeless people that each group has to take care of.

At the "rate of John" it would take less than 1 year to get all the homeless people here in Tampa off the streets.

Far less than 1 year!

It works!

Now you're thinking "Homelessrob, that all great! It sounds good.....BUT! Where are we going to find 500 people to get that notion going?"

Once again, you forget that this is a contagious system. You will not start with 500 people. You will start with 3. But you will end up with 500 people. I can promise you that there are 500 people here in Tampa who would LOVE to be a part of a system that is literally tossing homeless people off the streets and spreading love.
You don't have to start big. You just have to start.

Let's say I'm right and a group of 3 people set out to put together such a project. In the first year that group of 3 turns into a group of 100. You can see that! You can consider that I'm sure. 

that's 212 homeless people a group.

That group of 100 people can stop homelessness within 3 years here in Tampa.

Now, I know that you're still thinking about the numbers. I know you are still looking at the time frame. I know you are still looking for any "but" that you can find. That's OK. Just know this: I know for a fact that I'm right! I know because I have seen it. I just haven't seen it put together in quite the way I'm explaining to you.

Let's say my friend John had another 2 people helping him! More would follow (if they haven't started already). And let's say before long John finds himself with MANY people following his lead. At the rate that he is going he is not just putting nicks into homelessness, he is putting dents into homelessness. Frankly, that's what we need.

A system that works and at the same time spreads contagious things.

I made all this up in my tent! But to me it makes sense. It makes perfect sense. I have seen a few things that work "sort of" like this over the years. And to me those things have all had a few things in common. First, the system worked better than most. There always seemed to be a higher rate of success than anything else. Second, they had great support. People caught on and pitched in to help. Last, they were one of a kind. They were not groups that were common to see.

One thing I like about this thought is that because its a "one at a time" system no group is biting off more than they can chew at a time. I think that is one thing that held back these groups so much. That's why John is so effective. He isn't trying to stop homelessness. He is just doing his part "one at a time". He never stopped and said "but". He just does it. And because of that 12 homeless people have made it off the streets. That's more than I have seen entire groups do. Shelters don't take ANY homeless people off the streets.


Well, I don't know if any of this is considerable to you. This might be my most far fetched post yet. I'm simply posting it because I haven't seen an idea like this quite in this manner. There is a lot I'm leaving out of course. Like for example, what the role of each group should be. I'll toss that part in for you real quick.

Each group of 3 should have two main focus points. 1) begin to get that homeless person UNCOMFORTABLE with homelessness first (it is only at this point that the work can begin).
2) to begin working on the things that will get a person off the streets (drug addiction, help with finding a job, help with finding state help, help with finding a place to live, help with family issues, help with I.D). Remember not every homeless person needs that much help. John got one homeless person off the streets with a single phone call to a loved one. That was it.

All together, each group should be NO MORE than a "buddy system" that's willing to go the extra mile. Not a group of people that will let a homeless person live on their couch while they "work things out". It's this "buddy system" that will create all the things that are contagious and keep the cause in full growth.

"Homelessness is not contagious! Love is!"

I made that up! But if you find any truth in it then you must consider that everything else I say is also true.

And If its all true then you also have to consider this to be true as well:
"we can beat homelessness, we can fix this problem!"

If you like my blog please visit and like my new Facebook Page:
and see the cool things I'm doing now!

No comments: