Solutions in the Community: When a Community’s Toughest Problems Meet Its Toughest People
When the pandemic brought California to a screeching halt, restaurants and bars were devastated. No one could dine in and many restaurants were not prepared to operate entirely through carry-out. Profits dwindled, threatening to close the locally owned establishments that bring culture and character to communities.
One of those struggling restaurants was Brewed Vista, a cozy café where locals could relax with some coffee, craft beer or wine. They opened their storefront in downtown Vista, California, in March 2020, and the pandemic almost immediately shut them down.
Without time to get their business off the ground, Brewed Vista’s owners went into crisis mode. Their best chance for survival came when California started to allow outdoor dining. Unfortunately, Brewed Vista didn’t have anywhere to put customers outside.
In order to seat enough customers to sustain themselves, the Brewed Vista team knew they needed a large outdoor space. But without the resources to build a deck, Brewed Vista was running out of options.
Solutions for Change’s commitment to its communities runs deep. We lift our neighbors out of homelessness and instill in all our clients and employees a drive to give back.
Solutions’ founders learned from years of watching people struggle to escape The Churn that the best way to help people overcome homelessness is to empower them as servant leaders. By developing servant leadership, Overcomers pursue continuous improvement in their lives and their surroundings. As they support their communities, their communities become even better equipped to support them in return, creating a mutually beneficial relationship that can only grow. Overcomers find purpose in serving their communities—helping others as they have been helped—and that mindset has the power to change lives.
Our commitment to servant leadership culminates into Solutions in the Community—a service program where Overcomers tackle local issues through innovation, perseverance, and good neighbor intentions. It’s led and organized by Solutions graduates, and fulfilled by Solutions clients. Usually, Solutions in the Community purchases, rehabilitates and operates affordable housing to improve the quality of life in low-income areas. During the pandemic, it expanded its efforts to solve local issues impacting business, regional partners, and community members.
In summer 2020, Solutions learned of a local café trying to get off the ground amidst the pandemic. They desperately needed outdoor dining space but were unable to build a deck by themselves. Solutions in the Community immediately connected with Brewed Vista.
A full community effort ensued. Solutions and Brewed Vista got in touch with city council to get permits for a deck spanning across a downtown sidewalk. The Solutions in the Community team and Brewed Vista drew up plans for the deck, seating and shade then worked with the city to plan the build. Through cooperation, a building approval process that often takes weeks was accomplished in just three days.
Solutions residents and outside volunteers then began constructing a 48-foot deck with guardrails and room for dozens of customers. The entire deck was built and installed in a matter of days—giving Brewed Vista a nearly instant boost in visitors.
Brewed Vista is still open and proudly serving the community, thanks to the hard work of Overcomers. By supporting our neighbors, Solutions in the Community fulfills the Solutions promise to holistically improve our community. It takes a thriving, interconnected village to overcome The Churn, and Solutions in the Community is our way to help.
The most powerful part of Solutions in the Community is the universal understanding that we are not serving simply for the sake of serving. We serve to solve. Our projects come from our community’s toughest problems—housing deficiencies, homelessness, the loss of small businesses to the pandemic—and our Overcomers build solutions while building their own confidence and pride.