2015 Conference on Ending Family & Youth Homelessness

Diana Figueroa and I attended the 2015 National Conference on Ending Family & Youth Homelessness in San Diego, February 19th and 20th.

She and I are advocates for the homeless in Tucson, Az and are the co-founders and President and Vice President respectively of The Carlos G Figueroa Foundation. We are media advocates for the homeless and those in poverty in Tucson.

One of our projects in partnership with Pan Left Productions is the Homeless Youth Project documentary.

We have reached a point in our lives and in our homeless advocacy that it is time to bring about a change in homelessness in Tucson, Az. We decided that The Carlos G Figueroa Foundation is going to facilitate that change. The change will not be accomplished by just us but instead with the help of many individuals, organizations, agencies and other entities. Hence we attended the conference in order to learn about how to accomplish our goal.

These workshops would have worked for me if I was a person that liked charts, stats and acronyms. Unfortunately for me I do not deal in any of that because I am a person that likes to get things done without boring and endless meetings. I like to jump in move stuff around and arrange things so that stuff gets done.

But don’t get me wrong this conference was not a total waste because I met people who are getting stuff done, people who are bringing about a change in their own cities. I have learned much not from the workshops but from the change makers that attended. I have acquired contact information from a multitude of individuals and organizations that attended the conference and that is worth all the effort that we and many others have expended in getting us there.

The people who I spoke to amazed me with the creativity they used in getting around the system. They have given much advice on how to get things done.

Diana has agreed that the real knowledge that we will gain will be from the attendees. Since she attended different workshops from the ones I attended she also came to the same conclusions that I did but she did so separately without my input.

I met people from Central City coffee in Portland Oregon and I thought it most interesting in that they are a non-profit that has a for profit business roasting and selling coffee. The most interesting point about their business is they hire homeless people. They first secure safe and affordable housing for the people they house.Then they employ them. Some homeless people they contract with are not yet ready for employment are gradually taken in small steps toward employment. They employ people in their Central City Employment Access Center and they have employed thousands of people.

This is the type of innovative and creative ideas that Diana Figueroa and I need to change the condition of homelessness in Tucson.

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