Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Homeless Cycle

This summer, we, Jon Springfield and Sarah Connette, plan to bike 3,400 miles across the country over 10 weeks on the Homeless Cycle. We plan to both fundraise for Moore Place in Charlotte, NC and to study strategies and initiatives to end homelessness. This journey is concurrent with the launch of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a nation-wide initiative to identify and house the most vulnerable of the homeless population. We hope our research and advocacy can contribute to the growing national movement calling for homelessness reform.

Moore Place is Charlotte’s first Housing First supportive housing project for chronic, disabled homeless men and women, and is based on successful models across the country (including DESC in Seattle where our journey will conclude.) Moore Place will house Charlotte’s chronically homeless with 85 apartments, on-site case management, and 24-hour security. Construction is slated to begin in August 2010, with 10% of the funds remaining to be raised. The success of this groundbreaking project – which has leveraged all its funds from private donors – will encourage government funding of such projects in the future, allowing Charlotte to move forward in securing housing for its homeless population.
We plan to fundraise prior to departure through sponsorships from family, friends, members of the college community, and local businesses. We have set a target of $5,000, which will allow the Homeless Cycle project to dedicate one apartment in Moore Place in honor of the journey. We've received grants from Davidson College Bonner Community Fund covering expenses of the trip so 100% of your donation goes to Moore Place.

Having volunteered with the National Coalition for the Homeless and worked with local non-profits, we hope to gain a greater understanding of homelessness and urban justice movements throughout the nation and to share this with Davidson College and the greater Charlotte community. The Homeless Cycle is a research initiative to explore the basic issues underlying the reality of homelessness:

· housing models that most effectively provide for the chronically homeless
· the status of 10 Year Plans to end homelessness
· the extent to which political support and policy affects homeless initiatives
· the difference between rural and urban homelessness
· ways in which the non-profit sector can more effectively realize its goals
· hearing firsthand the stories of people who are homeless

Our research will be compiled in a documentary comprised of interviews with social justice organizations, people who are homeless, and local government officials. We are focusing on the urban areas of Charlotte, Washington D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Seattle. We will also spend time in rural Ohio and examine the initiatives that target the rural homeless population. The Homeless Cycle includes service - at every urban center, we will spend several afternoons volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, which will prove integral to our research and information gathering.

We intend to share some of the programs that have been successful in other urban areas with Urban Ministry Center and city officials in Charlotte, serving as advocates for more effective and just urban policy and initiatives.

Please contact Jon and Sarah at jospringfield@davidson.edu and saconnette@davidson.edu with questions, suggestions, or if you are interested in being a part of our journey. Thank you!