A simple idea to end homelessness
“Can homelessness be eradicated?
The general consensus from journalists, public servants, businesses and governments is ‘yes’ it can.
Through a symbiotic approach of mixing safe and affordable housing, support services, jobs, social inclusion and prevention.
Culminates in a mixture which will eradicate homelessness.
What I want to talk about is a simple idea, which has nothing to do with housing.
It has to do with the person.
The human with experiences and stories both sad and happy.
What would happen if everyone cared about ending homelessness?
Even only for a few days or hours a year…
There are approximately 14 million residents in Australia aged between 20-65 and approximately 120,000 homeless.
Meaning there is someone homeless for every 116 Australians between 20-65 years of age.
As there are 365 days per year, what happens if each resident in this age bracket would need to help someone homeless for just 3 days per year?
Could this work?
So every just under 4 months, you had an assignment to achieve to make someones life slightly better for just one day.
Could you do it?
Maybe it was having a simple zoom or Skype chat about both your lives.
Possibly even professional guidance or advice.
This one person will be getting at least 116 different Australian’s opinions thoughts and more importantly connections per year.
Would you think society would be better off or worse off because of this?
Maybe you meet a new person and never talk to them again, or maybe you make a new friend?
It will put a lot of people outside their comfort zones.
Although this looks like a social inclusion strategy, I see it as a something much greater.
Let me ask you this question.
When you are shopping and someone you haven’t seen for ages says ‘hi’ to you.
Do you feel better or worse after?
Unless you really don’t like that person, you usually feel slightly happier.
The same goes for this idea.
You are making the person feel important.
You are giving them a sense of worth.
You are giving them confidence.
I believe when you make someone an active member of society they will act like that.
They will want to change their ways.
I believe it’s this fundamental shift in mentality that will make the difference.
You can have all the social housing, public housing and rental assistance on earth.
But if someone doesn’t feel worthy of living in it.
Then they won’t.
They will stay as they are.
It’s what’s comfortable and familiar.
When you give someone confidence and self-respect.
You create a new person.
You change the conversation and homelessness in Australia forever.”