There are so many dedicated professionals working on the homeless issue around the world that we can sometimes forget to stop and appreciate the hard work and innovation. Below are 5 interesting programs, developments or ideas that have been implemented around the world.
- Hyper Aggressive Housing First in Finland: Finland as a country made housing first a national policy. Since 2008, the federal, state and local governments have worked together using the model. Some of the more interesting features of this change include investing in building more affordable housing and changing shelters into housing units. Finland has almost eliminated homelessness in its country while other European countries have seen homelessness increase.
- Star Development- Skid Row: Star Apartments: Los Angeles, California: This is actually a building to support formerly homeless persons. The building uses modular pre-fabricated units that are then Star Apartments provides permanent supportive housing to 100 formerly homeless individuals. The building includes a health center, community kitchen, art rooms and other spaces that are there to assist residents. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) also has offices at this location.
- Hidden City Tours- Barcelona, Spain: I visited this tour group in 2015 and learned about their innovative social enterprise. The owner hires formerly homeless and trains them to be city tour guides. The tours are both normal city tours and city tours that focus on issues around being homeless. I saw where my guide used to go to find free food or where many people live 20-25 to a room. The job and income has allowed most of the guides to find a place to live and raised their skill sets in an industry that is valuable in Spain.
- Street Bean Coffee-Seattle, Washington: This cafe opened up a few years ago in Seattle and hire homeless youth. “A dedicated group of people came together and thought that a coffee shop had the most opportunity for success, with a broad appeal to a diverse group of young people, a real consumer need, and the opportunity for young people to learn a variety of job skills.” Click here for website-If you are ever in Seattle, look this place up and grab a cup of coffee or more.
- Access Bladerunner- Vancouver, Canada: This is an interesting program to help aboriginal youth who are either at risk or already homeless in Canada. “ACCESS BladeRunners is an innovative Vancouver-based program that supports homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 15 and 30 through a comprehensive training and support program that focuses on creating pathways to jobs in the construction industry. The core goal of the program is to provide young people with the support and resources they need to overcome the difficulties and barriers in their lives that prevent them from obtaining, and maintaining, meaningful long-term employment.” Click Here for more
While there are hundreds of great programs, developments and innovations in homeless prevention and re-housing, I think it is worthwhile to call out a few and bring some well deserved credit. What other programs can you name that are highly innovative and making an impact in their community?