What We Learned: Mobilizing the 3C's to Solve Homelessness
Ending the crisis of homelessness is both a survival strategy for and an aspiration of Impact Hub Seattle, which serves as Seattle’s “base camp” for social innovation. As part of this ongoing journey, Impact Hub entered our 6th year of operation by convening our community, partners and concerned citizens to sow the seeds of change through human connection.
What made this unique?
Our goal was to bring community organizations, government, business, homeless people, neighborhood associations, media, artists - people from different sectors who aren’t usually in conversation with one another - into conversation, rather than a lecture or panel.
- 130 people RSVP’d and 80 attended over the course of the two events.
- 20% of attendees indicated that they had experienced homelessness personally, or had friends or family who were homeless.
- 11% of attendees indicated that they worked in the tech sector.
- 15% of attendees are current members of the Impact Hub.
How was the event facilitated?
The team of facilitators used The World Cafe method for facilitation for the 3-hour event on Friday evening, and Open Space Technology for the full-day event on Saturday. Both styles are powerful tools to engage people with different perspectives in conversation.
As an initial outcome, we expected people to come away with more understanding of the nuances of this complex challenge and more personal clarity about the steps they wish to take.
94% of participants reported that they would continue to stay engaged with the issue of homelessness.
67% indicated that they were planning to get more engaged in the issue after the event.
“I did not have any expectations of how I would stay engaged in the process. By the completion of the workshop, I found a much greater sense of commitment to the issue.”
94% of participants reported that they had made at least one new connection at the event.
“I learned that all types of people face housing security. People whom you might not have guessed.”
The complexity of the social, economic and ecological challenges we face today calls for broad mobilization to create a better future. This reality is especially true with the issue of homelessness, as our public, private and philanthropic institutions struggle to solve this crisis by themselves.
Margaret Wheatley said “if we sit together and talk about what is important to us, we begin to come alive.” In this spirit, a diverse group of individuals, enterprises and agencies have come together to offer an immersive one-day interactive gathering to connect, explore, and identify possibilities for ending homelessness in our region. The gatherings are structured for mutual learning and connection, laying the groundwork for new insights, new partnerships, and new solutions homelessness to emerge.
With that spirit, this collaboration provides an opportunity for human conversation and creative expression to sow the seeds of change at both the personal level and the systemic level.
“The strength of the community can be measured by the difficulty of subjects being discussed.”
“This really has restored my faith in humanity exponentially. Being homeless and being judged without being known is really trying. Thank you for taking the time out of your day and for all the ways you’ve shown me you care. That really means a lot to me.”
Following the successful pilot event, our goal is to bring the conversation to other neighborhoods in King County. Using a similar hosting pattern, we envision 5-7 additional gatherings, culminating with a closing event at Impact Hub that invites participants from all sessions to reconvene, share, and build on what we’re learning together. We also envision developing a strategy for disseminating what participants learn and stories of what they do.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Rachelle Mee-Chapman (firstname.lastname@example.org).