Homeless Task Force hears Solutions for Change

O■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
n Jan 23, the Homeless Task Force heard a presentation given by Paul Webster, director of strategic advancement, at Solutions for Change. The nonprofit transformational center in Vista, California, is a 1,000-day program that transforms the lives of homeless families. Webster is a member of the Homeless Task Force created by the Hemet City Council.
I had the opportunity in the spring of 2016 to tour Solutions for Change. The 1,000-day program, known as Solutions University, successfully teaches families conflict resolution, job skills and money management. More importantly, Solutions involves the children in the process, giving them the skills to succeed, working to cease the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Solutions for Change was founded in 1999 by Chris and Tammy Megison after running an emergency shelter and quickly realizing that a more substantial approach was needed. The organization has had a profound impact.
“Solutions for Change has served as a catalyst to effectively serve the homeless through true compassion. Street homelessness has decreased as the entire community recognizes that hand-outs increase the amount of street homelessness,” said Webster. “At the same time, the community has a positive and effective means of serving those who desire to transform their lives out of homelessness. As Solutions for Change has grown, Vista has benefitted by way of increased property values, lower crime, and greater community engagement as Solution’s residents reinvest in the local community. The community has benefitted as volunteers and local faith organizations create a tangible means of providing a safety net and source of support and encouragement for the homeless.”
Over the years, Solutions for Change has moved more than 800 families and 2,000 children out of homelessness. In addition to education and housing, Solutions for Change now has an aquaponics farm, giving them the ability to generate income and provide job training for their participants. The farm is one of the largest aquaponics facilities in the West and raises organic produce. Solutions for Change is a model that has proven to be successful.
Sometimes success means losing federal funding, but that’s OK with them.
When the “housing first” model prevailed and HUD decided that programs must accept active drug users and non-working parents in order to receive government funding, Solutions for Change decided they would not engage in that approach. As a result of sticking with what works and driven by their commitment to successfully transform lives, Solutions for Change is losing $600,000 of federal funding. If you would like to find out more about this incredible transformational program, please visit www.solutionsforchange.org.

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