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Ending Post

The semester is coming to a close, and its time to reflect a little bit. One of the things we were tasked with doing was to teach a particular part of the class, to a group outside of class. For this, Brandy and I talked about misconceptions of homeless people, and we presented to a group of our friends. We definitely could have done some things better, but overall, we taught some people some things and started a discussion. We specifically talked about the misconceptions around the idea of the homeless being crazy, lazy, and violent. We tried to shift the thinking of our peers from a individual way of thought to a systems view, showing how income inequality and lack of affordable housing create the cycle of homelessness. Even though it was only two people, it was a little nerve-raking trying to educate people on an idea that we only have truly known about for a semester.  The setting was also not ideal, and there could have been more preparation from that aspect.

There is still a lot left I want to learn about homelessness, but this class has definitely given me a good background to go on from.  I have shifted from viewing homelessness as a individual issue to an issue with how our society is set up. I have learned about the true causes of homelessness, pertaining to income inequality and lack of affordable housing. I have shifted what I think of as a partial solution. Most importantly, I have shifted how I view homelessness as a whole. The course materials and readings have been really great to engage with. I look forward to taking this knowledge outside of class, and sparking conversation with the people around me, trying to make as much of a change as I can.

Teaching project

John and I decided to do a  presentation on major or minor causes of homelessness. John discussed the portion speaking on problems from the 1950’s through 1990’s. Some topics he spoke on were crack epidemic, mental institutions closing, jobs and marriage, and destruction of skid row. Each of these events greatly effected homelessness and still does till this day, even though some of these reasons happened years ago. John gave amazing detail on these topics and their direct effect to homelessness.  I spoke on issues from 1990’s until now. I talked about income inequality, lack of affordable housing, recessions, and laws. Laws played a huge role in continuing this form of oppression, but it was now backed up by the system in ways different from before. Allowing people to use restrooms in restaurants and allowing them to sleep in public places without being harassed constantly by cops.  Gullain’s  law is a good example of how the government chose to handle the homeless population. Police began to become strict on minor laws and enforcing them more. Laws against loitering, public indecency, and sleeping in public spaces. More tickets began to be given for these starting a cycle of crime for these individuals. Tickets would be given and they wouldn’t come to court, so then another ticket would be given, but since they didn’t have an address for it to be sent to they never got the chance to get it. Causing a bench warrant, these people being picked up and taken to jail for days or months. I believe running them through the system this way may be less efficient and more money than housing them.

The goal of the presentation was to address homelessness since this topic isn’t talked about much and the truth behind this issue isn’t told correctly. We had 10 open minded people come in and hear about the issue wit open hearts. That allows them to take the knowledge they have gained and tell others about it. Learning the causes helps bring up how to fix the issues and put action. I would love to change people’s actions and behaviors towards the homeless, so they can help contribute to solutions of this problem.

Doing the powerpoint and discussion together worked very well, giving everyone something to go off of. Allowing the space to be open to questions and it helped spark a conversation rather quickly. Many questions were asking not just about the causes but also other topics, like solutions, who is the population of homeless, inequality, and equity. We spoke about the population of homeless in Redlands, particularly race. 

I don’t feel like there was any real failures, it went so well. But I do wish I spoken more on solutions so people can find ways to help and make change. We spoke a little on the topic but only on tent camps and how much these would benefit the economy since, they could start gardens and businesses from within to support themselves. 

 

Teaching Project 12

For my teaching project I presented to the baseball team and coaches in the classroom located in the locker room.  My topic was homelessness, using the “causes of homelessness” slide from class as a basis to discuss the realities of homelessness. I wanted to see what stereotypes they have heard about homeless people, and what they think is being done to help combat the issue.  Keying them in on what is really going on, what they think can be done, and what they can do themselves to help.  Giving them insights from my internship at Redlands Family Services, to show them just how organizations work and what goes on within them.  I wanted to give them a clear cut view of what homeless people go through and show my audience what the homeless are actually looking for and trying to get.  Which is affordable housing; the reason why all the homeless and less unfortunate have been going to (RFS) to become clients.  Yes that’s right you have to be a client to receive any help from (RFS).  It’s things like this that I want to expose because organizations supposedly are doing all these things to help but don’t say what is required of you to get help and how many people are turned down still looking for help.  With people putting so many stereotypes and “sin talking” the homeless, trying to find any and every way to rid of the homeless in their area.  Instead of being open minded, courteous, and sympathetic to a huge epidemic that effects everyday people like you and me.  Students, college graduates, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, family, and friends that aren’t all druggies, or mentally ill, just can’t afford the cost of living.  Due to society putting so much pressure on people to keep up in all facets of life, and inflation causing prices to skyrocket.  The reality of the situation has been hidden underneath false truths, and false realities, which I am trying to rid of.  I feel like that’s what this whole class has been about; discovering the truth and finding a way to teach and show others what actually needs to be done to fix this homelessness problem.  That’s what I was doing here with the team, breaking those stereotypes, letting them know how homelessness started, has continued, and what our government and cities are doing.  That way they know the truth and can take it upon themselves to to help others and expose others to the truth, so we can continue to help/fix the problem.  In presenting I tried to emphasize that their is a lot we don’t know and a lot we can do.  I hope that they understood the severity of the situation as I explained to them.  It’s crazy to think how many people are misinformed or know next to nothing about the homeless situation.  Something which I learned from my encounter with my teammates, along with the fact that they have all been mislead and heard stereotypes that put a negative connotation on homeless people.  So there’s a lot of work to be done, to enlighten people on homelessness

Each One Teach One

For my Each One Teach One project, I chose to create an information pamphlet on homelessness. In the pamphlet, I attempted to give a brief overview of those concepts from the Hunger and Homelessness In America class which I found most important and believed would be most worthwhile for the public to understand. My inspiration for the project was those pamphlets and information packets which I have seen distributed during talks at conferences, or found on nonprofit websites, including those which focus on homelessness, which present key information for the recipients. At the start of the semester, I was struck by how little I knew about homelessness, not just with regards to the greater themes, but also concepts as simple as how homelessness is defined by those who work in the field. I believe that in order for people to have a fruitful conversation about homelessness, they need to have a basic understanding of what they are speaking about, and I wanted to prepare something which could be used to improve such conversations.

The project  forced me to evaluate what was most important to me that I tell others.  When first beginning to draft the project, I revisited all of the different topics discussed in Hunger and Homelessness to decide what ideas I wanted to incorporate. Initially, I wanted to include everything, but I quickly realized that doing so would not be an effective means of providing an overview to the concepts of homelessness, especially if I wanted to create something that the average citizen would be interested in perusing. Rethinking the structure of my report forced me to tease out the ideas that I would most want to inform an audience of, while setting aside those ideas that, while still important, were not relevant to creating a basic overview.

By articulating for others what I have learned, I developed a better understanding myself, particularly at seeing how all the pieces we discussed fit together. After working on this project, I think I might have a much better chance of offering a cohesive answer if questioned about what I learned. While in some ways I wish I had chosen a project which allowed me to more easily measure its success as a teaching tool, I still believe my endeavor was a worthwhile one. EachOneTeachOnePamphlet

Each-One-Teach-One Summary

Anthony and I worked as a group on our teaching project. We wanted to present to our group of friends the misconceptions of homelessness, and further disprove them with examples from readings (Books A and B), lectures (Jim’s presentation on the myths of homelessness), and films we have seen in class (Taylor’s Campaign). Our goal for the presentation was to deconstruct basic societal misconceptions about homelessness. We laid out three central themes for our project to disassemble: the homeless need to be fixed first before they can be trusted with housing; they need to find jobs to get out of poverty; and lastly, homeless people are dangerous. After teaching how these misconceptions were just a construct made from neo-liberal morals, we were hoping our audience would be able to hold a good conversation after the presentation to debrief what was presented to them. We conducted our presentation to a group of friends in the library after class during the week, and had a lengthy debrief afterwards to help each other understand the material laid out even more. Overall, I feel our presentation went extremely well in terms of reaching out to our audience, and helping them understand homelessness as a systematic issue rather than individual issues. I feel we made points that got across to them well enough to help discussion afterwards, and lead to great conversation even when we left the library and started our walk back home. If I could change anything about this project, I would probably ask our audience to continue elaborating more on the points they brought up with common societal misconceptions before our presentation about homelessness after our presentation, to understand if our presentation changed any of these views for them. I would have also liked to have added more myths to dispel for this presentation. I feel it could have generated more conversation when we were done giving our presentation. Overall, I feel Anthony and I did a great job talking about the myths surrounding homelessness.

Looking at the numbers

In many issues other then homelessness it is hard to know when facts are facts, especially when it comes to numbers. This is something that has played a prominent role in our class this semester. We discuss numbers and statistics quiet often and it truly makes me think. Think about the power behind finding out how many homeless ACTUALLY exist, or how many homeless ACTUALLY get off the streets each year, or how many homeless ACTUALLY hold down jobs and have normal lives, besides not being able to pay rent. These numbers could do so much to solidify the information we practically have.

With that being said I think that there still is power behind the numbers that exist. Looking at one website linked at the bottom the number of homeless individuals by state are in the thousands. Even though this data may vary and fluctuate or overall be a miscount the numbers are far too high to ignore the severity of the situation. I think where the numbers become problematic especially is when it boils down to cities. If a count occurs and a city only has 20 “homeless” people they have identified they may not feel very motivated to make a change. It will be interesting over the years to see what change develops in order to get more accurate readings and data on the homeless population as a whole.

 

https://www.usich.gov/tools-for-action/map/#fn[]=1400&fn[]=2900&fn[]=6000&fn[]=9900&fn[]=13500

Each-one Teach-one

This week I completed my each-one teach-one. I chose to show the film, “Homeless, The Motel Kids of Orange County.” Along with this, I put together a mini-lesson to add in more information for the group. I added in information such as a brief explanation on why we have homelessness which leads to childhood homelessness. I chose to focus on childhood homelessness because it is the driving factor on why I chose to register for this class. I am studying to become a teacher and I want to be able to understand my students as best as possible and hopefully will be better equipped to handle situations surrounding my students being homeless. In my mini-lesson, I included what effects homelessness may have on school children and what is being done by districts to help combat the effects of homelessness and even what some schools are doing to get individuals off of the streets.

During my presentation, I was struck by some of the mentalities that are common within individuals. There were comments made during the film that belittled the individuals in the film. Such as comments as “well you can tell she’s on something.” These comments threw me off in the slightest because I have been studying in an environment where these comments are not commonplace but the manner in which they were stated made me feel as though I would not be able to get my point across. Thankfully, in the end, my point seemed to come to flourishing when the individuals stated that the only way homelessness could be fixed is by fixing the housing crisis.

Finland’s Solution

Finland is having success in lowering the number of un-housed individuals in their country, and their using a housing first model to do so. Alppikatu 25 is at the center for Finland’s new policy to end homelessness. It runs off of the aspirations and concrete measures of the National Program to End Long-term homelessness (PAAVO). On of PAAVO’s cornerstones is the strategy of replacing temporary housing with permanent housing, with rental contracts. In the city of Helsinki, the change can definitely been seen. In 2008, there were almost 600 beds in shelters and hostels in Helsinki. Now, there is only one permanent service center for emergency accommodation with 52 beds. There have been some important insights from what Finland has done. First off, it may sound simple, but it is crucial to have housing before you try and implement housing first. Also, it is important to offer different housing alternatives, in different types of communities and things of that nature. Finland has been one of the few countries where homelessness has decreased. They have worked effectively at targeting the most vulnerable and long-term homeless people.

Solutions to homelessness

Some solutions for homeless have been spoken about in class, discussing the housing first and tent camps. Just giving a solution to finding a home not the other problems.  The government will need to change from the inside as well. The problems of  income inequality makes its hard to get and keep a house in this market. If the wealth was distributed more evenly to the lower, and middle class it could make a huge difference, instead of having all the money go to the top 10%, even taking just a little percentage from them can help as well.

Some temporary solutions are programs that just give away food. They help is  much appreciated but doesn’t really help the problem of homelessness. It is piece to a bigger puzzle.  Another being emergency shelter living, usually used for very cold or hot weather. These shelters should be offered year around. Just temporary giving them a place then taking it must really suck for the individuals, but is very much appreciated.

Our communities should be able to intermingle more, instead of just ignoring a human being, I wish people were more willing to give their time to talk to others. Some look on this population with assumptions,but never seem to see if they assumptions are true.

Homeless Teaching Activity

Throughout this course, we have sought to answer five central questions:

Question #1: What is life like for the hungry,

the homeless, and the near-homeless?

Question #2: How many homeless and near-homeless are there?

Question #3: What are the major and minor

causes of homelessness and hunger?

Question #4: What are individuals, small organizations,

and governments doing to help?  What can they do to help?

Question #5: What does it take to solve this problem?

We were asked to bring the information that we had learned in this course, framed by these questions, and share it with members of our communities. Another student and I worked together to create a presentation for other students and community members that we knew. We worked to choose a topic that would be applicable to the audience and wouldn’t require any previous knowledge except casual encounters with the homeless. For this reason, we sought to explain the major and minor causes of homelessness. A topic that would likely dispel lots of preconceptions about homelessness and would give them the tools they need to address homelessness more in the future.

To address the causes, we started with a history beginning in 1950. Then we transitioned to modern-day causes. We were intentional in explaining how a series of seemingly unrelated causes formed the homeless crisis that see (or often don’t see) today. This conversation focused on the interconnected effects of income-inequality, lack of affordable housing, economic recessions, and anti-homeless legislation generate homelessness and how personal, social, and societal factors create the “tattered safety net”.

The presentation was followed by a discussion which was incredible! Audience members brought up topics ranging from basic assumptions of why we haven’t solved the crisis to cogent arguments against purely systemic approaches to the homeless crisis. I learned a lot in these discussions and my view of the role of artists in movements evolved. I was impressed at the group’s ability to respectfully disagree with other members and their ability to persuade other members.

As the discussion continued, it was clearly the most valuable part of the activity. Participants even brought up the Broken Window Theory in New York and its effects on the treatment of the homeless and impoverished communities. We only ended the discussion after I and some audience members needed to leave for meetings scheduled afterwards. I would be interested to see how this event would go if done again with a larger audience and a more refined presentation.