I hate seeing homeless people. It makes me sad (and so grateful at the same time). And lately, I feel like I’m seeing them more and more.
So let’s solve the homeless problem (at least in NYC)!
One day, I hope to be in a position where I can make significant change with time and money. But for now, I have some ideas. So here is mine and it’s based on this great quote:
“God can only help those who want to be helped.”
1. We’ll have a group of volunteers that actually engages with the homeless. They won’t just give them food. That doesn’t solve the problem. “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”
They will talk to them (if possible) and learn more about them. Most importantly, they’d learn if these people want to make a change and want to clean up their act and want help.
2. Once they decide they want help, they will be moved into a home; a gorgeous one with really nice amenities. I want to show them the possibilities this world has to offer. They will ONLY be allowed to stay in this home if they agree to detox. We must help them fight their addictions.
3. Once they complete their detox program and are completely sober – whether it takes several weeks or several months – (My main concern is that they are drug and alcohol free) they will begin a simple 1 week refresher class on life.
Most homeless people weren’t always homeless. So these people (once they are clean) will be able to learn and relearn how the real world works.
4. Since they are now drug and alcohol free (which is the biggest part of the problem) and a psychologist* has given them the thumbs up – they will be entered into our work program after completing our 1 week refresher class.
5. Our work program is simple. From 8 AM -6 PM (under close supervision to make sure they don’t fall back into bad habits) they will sit on the corner they used to sit on. This will give them a taste of how bad their life really was. And now that they’re sober, they’ll be able to appreciate how bad it really was.
6. Here’s where the big idea comes into play. Instead of holding a sign like the one above, the sign would have a company logo. Say for example, MyBodyTutor.com.
It would be a nice shiny sign with some indication on it that they are part of the ADG program (We’ll call it the Adam Drew Gilbert program for now).
7. Everyone loves an underdog and everyone loves to help people out. Especially, someone that is trying to get his/her act together. People appreciate that greatly.
8. Homeless people aren’t dumb either. They somehow always manage to be in the highest trafficked areas. This is perfect for businesses who want advertising/branding in high traffic places. It can be local or national companies.
9. Companies that advertise (and support the ADG program) would be seen in a great light. The world would know that they donate to charity and non-profits. Certainly a win for them!
10. It also has to make sense for the business dollar wise. And this would make a lot of sense. Each company that supports the ADG program would be the exclusive sponsor for a week at a time. That means that every rehabilitated person (hopefully as many as possible) would be holding the same sign all throughout the city. This would maximize exposure, frequency, repetition and ultimately, impressions for the company.
For example, you’d see MyBodyTutor.com all over the city for an entire week. In return, MyBodyTutor would have to pay a fortune; however, it’s well worth it because people are certainly going to remember seeing MyBodyTutor.
12. The rehabilitated people can even hand out flyers for the company and people would most likely be interested especially because of point 7 above – everyone loves to help someone who is try to get his/her act together and everyone loves to support companies that are doing good things.
13. After several months of earning money they’d be meet with a recruiter* and social worker* who’d help them find a job and place to live so they can become adults who contribute to society again.
Sure sounds like a win-win-win to me, eh?
Notes: The bulk of the money to run (besides donations) the ADG program and the facilities would come from the large fees we’d generate from each company per week. I believe on this alone we’d be able to sustain our operation, easily. It would be a very exclusive thing so companies would want to take advantage of this incredible ‘goodwill’ advertising opportunity.
The rehabilitated people would earn minimum wage. If they earn too much money there’d be no incentive to get out of the program. And hopefully by this time, they won’t want anything to do with their old self.
Also, as all humans talk – so will the homeless. There will be a lot of positive word of mouth.
Clearly, this isn’t flawless but I think it’s a good start and I think it has a lot of potential.
*Would be a volunteer who also gets the benefit of being associated with a great cause
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