The topic of homelessness presents itself through images of poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, war, and crime. It is not a pretty picture and no one has solved the problem. These are the issues most apparent to the onlooker. . . leaving the impression that the homeless population is comprised of lazy, unself-regulated individuals who deserve to be living on the streets.
However the face of homelessness in America becomes more diverse each day . It includes educated individuals, families, runaway teens, abandoned parents, victims of domestic violence or divorce, and people who simply do not have enough income to live. Contributing factors to homelessness include lack of affordable housing, lack of livable wages, lack of health care, policies and politics that fail to support humanity.
The intent of this webquest is to give students an accurate picture of the problem of homelessness in America, to encourage inquiry and dialogue, and to foster compassion and advocacy by assuming a decision-making role within a community.
You are the administrator for one of the primary non-profit agencies in the county. You have been asked to lead a team to create a collaborative strategy to deal with the problem of vagrancy and homelessness.
You will need to:
- Define homelessness and research to identify the contributing factors that contribute to homelessness. Explore how the legal definitions of homelessness change public perspective of homelessness influences public policy and program support. Interview 5 people. Ask them to define homelessness and name 5 reasons people are homeless. Create a brief presentation to show your findings.
- Assume the a role of homeless advocate (ie. Salvation Army, Catholic Charities) and write a persuasive paper that portrays the challenges of the poor and needy. Reflect on the programs and services provided by the federal government and public and non-profit agencies. Make a case for continuing support.
- Host a town hall meeting. Debate the impact of homelessness in your community from the perspective of members of your community. Role- play the following members of your community: mayor, community planner, real estate developer, police, hospital and clinic administrators, school superintendent, church pastor, small business owner, and citizen. Write 10 questions to illicit perspectives on homelessness in the community and how to manage it.
- Collaborate with your team to create a strategy that represents the community in a plan to manage the problem of homelessness.
- As a team, create and present a Power Point presentation informing "the community" of your recommendations to reduce homelessness and to manage the impact of homelessness in the community.