Talking about . . . homelessness
Homelessness in America is a problem that reminds us daily of our failure to be our best. How do we explain to children the presence of hungry, cold, neglected and often mentally ill men women and children on our streets in the midst of plenty? If we gather neighbors, business owners, health care workers, police, government officials, homeless people and their families in conversation might we build trust and begin to explore opportunities to do better? Conversations are admittedly only a starting point, but isn’t it time to start?
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Now that you are all together, here we go!
This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.
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One. Why are we here?
What interested you or drew you to this topic?
Two. Your core values
- what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
- what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
- what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
Three. What are your biggest concerns about homelessness?
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
- what has been your personal response to homeless people whom you’ve seen? Who do you think makes up the homeless population?
- what do you think is contributing to homelessness right now?
- what do you expect from your city, county, state or federal government with regard to homelessness?
- what are your hopes regarding homelessness in the future?
- in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
- what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Five. Accomplishment and moving forward
- name one important thing that was accomplished here;
- is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
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