San Diego County has the fourth largest homeless population in the United States, with over 9,000 individuals. And, this number is on the rise, increasing five percent from last year. Many individuals are caught in “the churn,” a cycle of homelessness whereby individuals and families encounter homelessness, rely on temporary public assistance, and eventually exhaust that safety net, finding themselves in the same position in which they started. It’s a cycle of futility—and the roots of homelessness are never addressed. So, homelessness remains.
Solutions for Change is a pioneer in the space of combatting the issue of family homelessness. Recognizing that homelessness is more than just not having a home, Solutions for Change offers a tripartite model that works to foster personal transformation, cultivate workforce development, and promote homeownership. Treating every individual as an asset rather than a liability, Solutions invests in participants, empowering individuals to make a permanent change.
- Solutions University – a workforce training and leadership development program that ends dependency and solves homelessness permanently by equipping people with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to move from consumers of the public good to being the public good. This approach has reduced welfare costs by over $50,000,000 and the future cost burden on society by an estimated $120,000,000.
- Solutions Farms – Created the most environmentally friendly farm in the world and one of the largest social enterprise aquaponics farms in the country, Solutions Farms. Chris won an innovation competition for $1,000,000 to scale the farm on a regional basis. The farm acts as a workforce training platform for parents of once homeless families. It grows tons of certified organic food which is then sold to local school districts and consumed by over 50,000 children.
- Solutions in the Community – the affordable housing development arm of the organization. Solutions in the Community is a partnership to improve distressed areas through community revitalization and renewal.
Solutions for Change takes a comprehensive, social enterprise approach that not only helps families find housing, but also builds community. Using the Transformational Housing Model, they equip parents during a 1,000-day college-like experience, Solutions University, with the knowledge, skills, and resources to transform their lives. Participants gain access to interim housing, in addition to counseling, health, and childcare services, skills development, employment, and savings opportunities designed to build a personal safety net. Solutions then helps families find permanent, stable, and affordable housing with continued coaching and support. Undergirding their programs is a strong belief in the power of individuals and families to transform, an emphasis on servant leadership, and the encouragement and accountability needed to succeed.
Founded in 1999 Chris and Tammy Megison, Solutions for Change was founded with the belief that no baby should be sleeping on the floor of an emergency winter shelter. Realizing that homelessness affects countless families in addition to individuals, and that the entire homeless response system does not adequately address the problem, the Megisons decided to pioneer a more holistic way of dealing with homelessness.
Solutions for Change is a 2017 S+ Catalyst. Through participation in the Catalyst Program, Solutions receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach.