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Though homelessness is a complex issue, we are implementing creative and innovative solutions and experiencing positive results. Downtown Streets Team believes that the only way to address this complicated issue is collaboration among social service agencies, government agencies, individual communities, and a private sector with compassionate and innovative leadership.
The best way to inspire hope and to create effective collaboration is to change the perception of the un-housed population and educate communities about the nature of the problem. Conventional thought says that the homeless themselves are the problem. Downtown Streets Team was founded on the basis that homeless people are not the problem, but in fact part of the solution. Community by community, we hope to change the perception of homelessness.
Old, reactionary methods of dealing with the issues surrounding homelessness have had mixed results and have perpetuated misconceptions about the homeless community. Our primary goal is to help end homelessness once and for all with the use of innovative, proactive solutions.
Downtown Streets Team employs a Work-First model in which members of the homeless community have the opportunity to rebuild their lives through our volunteer work-readiness program. DST is a stepping stone for those members of the homeless community who have committed to change their lives for the better and are ready to transition back into mainstream society. In exchange for food/housing vouchers and services, team members sweep streets, line soccer fields, perform janitorial work, run kitchens, clean environmental habitats, and much more. We coordinate the efforts of local government officials, law enforcement, businesses, and volunteers to create job opportunities and hands-on case management for the homeless. Our participants earn everything they get from our organization; we are not a charity.
- Michelle Fox
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