In Chris’s Words: How Solutions for Change is Revolutionizing the Fight Against Poverty by Sticking to Its Beliefs
A new era of Solutions for Change has officially begun. We have recommitted to our promise to create a world where families don’t have to face homelessness, and we have made new, bold promises that solidify our intentions to end The Churn of poverty for all.
As Solutions for Change enters a stage of revolutionary action, we promise to create Overcomers and restore community in any way we can. Our people and programs are empowered to fight The Churn at a higher level than ever before—Solutions Academy is expanding to better support our students, Solutions Enterprise is reaching more community members and our team is empowering advocates to share our methods for escaping poverty.
Over the next several months, Solutions for Change will keep evolving to create as many Overcomers as possible and restore more communities. No matter how much Solutions for Change grows, however, we are guided by our constant, unshakable core beliefs.
Our programs demonstrate that accountability and empowerment are the true keys to solving poverty and homelessness. We believe that when the least of us become the best of us, #WeAreOneUs.
Our founder and CEO, Chris Megison, is the creator and keeper of these most foundational beliefs. Chris recently appeared on the Advancing Oceanside podcast to discuss Solutions for Change in depth, promote his vision for our future and explain how we are driving forward by always staying true to our core beliefs.
“In 2015, California passed a law that required one way, and only one way, to help the homeless. The only way the law allowed us to help the homeless was through a low-barrier, harm reduction model—essentially housing first. By law, California organizations have to provide government-funded housing to those struggling with homelessness, and we can’t require any accountability, sobriety or self-improvement. This entire model goes against Solutions for Change’s extremely effective methods.
“At the time this law passed, Solutions for Change was receiving a $600,000 annual grant from the federal and state governments. But we disagreed with this law and told our lawmakers that we were not going to do housing first. We always have and always will put accountability and empowerment first. However, the government said we had to comply with housing first in order to keep our grant. For more, watch here.
“Our board unanimously agreed to no longer accept our grant. That was a tough time. We laid off folks for the first time ever. But we kept the integrity of our organization. We stuck to what we knew was right. And the incredible thing is that we came roaring back in less than two years. It just goes to show how valuable the Solutions for Change programs are, and the big demand for our work.
“Because we refused our grant, we started getting noticed by the press and other organizations. Someone ran a news story on us, and Clarence Carter, the director of the Office of Community Services, saw it and reached out to us. Carter then chose Solutions for Change and four similar organizations to demonstrate our methods for solving homelessness and prove that there are better options than housing first. We named our demonstration #WeAreOneUs.
“The idea we want to communicate with #WeAreOneUs is that when the least of us become the best of us, we’re one us. This initiative would not have been possible unless we stood our ground and got noticed for sticking to our values. Now, #WeAreOneUs is a powerful display of what our people are capable of. #WeAreOneUs has empowered so many of our Overcomers to start serving for the sake of others and make their communities better. These Overcomers started out in poverty and homelessness—they were the least of us. But now they have happier lives and are out there making tons of other peoples’ lives better too. They are the best of us.
“We’re helping people completely transform their lives, while instilling the positive power of servant leadership in them. So when someone graduates from Solutions, they have everything they need to live a good life AND they turn around and start helping others. What we’re making is essentially a ripple effect of creating Overcomers who go on to restore their communities. And it’s all possible because we stayed rooted in accountability and empowerment rather than just housing.”
It is an honor to see our Overcomers out making their communities better, and we are so excited to grow this program even more under Chris’s direction. #WeAreOneUs is a pledge, an anthem and a belief that will carry us well into the future. Stay with us as we expand and evolve our tireless fight to overcome The Churn. Together, #WeAreOneUs.