a better san francisco
In 2015, I took a crack at Solving Homelessness. In 2015, I took a crack at Solving Homelessness. Really! I was so fed-up with the poor job San Francisco was doing that I thought the only way it would ever get better is if passionate outsiders stepped in and offered unorthodox solutions. And of course, I always love a good challenge – especially if it can help those in need.
What followed was a whirlwind education into solving one of the most misunderstood issues in the world today. And I’m pretty sure my team did an excellent job of finding the right answers. To this day, I believe there is a solution to homelessness and that solution is clearly outlined on A Better San Francisco’s blog for all to see. Our research indicates that the main thing holding us back from progress are the people currently in power who are scared of changing the current system for fear that things may get worse (or get better, since this would mean no more funding for homeless non-profits). You can read up on various solutions from:
1)Town Halls to End Homelessness – A 500+ person event I organized in San Francisco, where I showcased some of the most innovative homeless solutions from around the country and galvanized the community to push for change. The biggest new solution presented was homeless-governed community centers like Camp Unity Eastside in Seattle.
2) Downtown Streets Team San Francisco - In 2017, I brought the DownTown Streets Team to San Francisco, a regional workforce empowerment solution that hires homeless people to clean the streets. I’ve been working with DST since finding them in 2015 and they are widely referred to internally as one of the best new providers in the city.
3) Affordable Housing Cruise Ships —A new solution that retrofits old cruise ships into luxury affordable housing.
4) Shelter Tech —A new solution that puts WiFi into homeless shelters and low-income housing, as well as gives out free smartphones to residents to help them cross the digital divide. I started this initiative with my friend, Darcel Jackson, who was able to use technology to improve his dire circumstances. As a result, he is no longer homeless. Sometimes people just need to have access to the right tools to enable progress.
5) Transition Centers — A new solution I put forward that centralizes most of the city's homeless solutions into one location, along with temporary housing, life-coaching, and workforce empowerment programs.
6) Regional Retirement Centers — A new multi-city solution that pushes for municipalities to work across city lines to create housing solutions as a region, and not as walled-off areas from each other.
7) Viral Blog Posts — The Homes for the Homeless Blog I started on Medium has more than 30,000 views and has been re-published by a half-dozen publications. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have my solutions covered by a dozen or so more blogs and garner over100,000 views collectively. Most notably, "Solving Homelessness" – which was published in 2015 – and "Homelessness Solved" – published in 2018.
A Better San Francisco taught me about PR, politics, homelessness, and community organizing. I wish I could say it was a fun ride, but there was nothing exciting about trying to change a city that is mired in bureaucracy. More than anything else, I’d say it’s been a learning experience which has prepared me for building all kinds of new solutions in the future.