Sunday, July 3rd


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Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego a public service presentation of the and it comes San Diego radio stations and Jerry Lee. We talked about the homeless situation here's San Diego County on the show before and unfortunately it's not something that's going away anytime soon. Solutions for change is doing their part to solve family homelessness in San Diego County. They are transforming lives and communities with their unique approach which we will talk about today. Joining us this morning as solutions for change president CEO and co-founder Chris Magnus. Welcome Chris hey Gary good to be here nice to have you back on the show again account of exactly Winston has been about a year by your analysis since you last on the show. I'll for anybody who may have missed the last time you were on capitol background information on solutions for change. Right so my wife and I. Found it solutions for change in 1999 can we we started noticing. BBC and little kids little boys and girls living in the winter shelters that were designed for homeless men. You're like what's going out this problem we are helping out one night and shelter my two boys and my wife. In eighty nine year old almost kirwan image Jessica reaches up and grabs my sleeve and and say hey mister do you live here too. And I'm on like animal marine man I'm not supposed to tear up but I do you know market down one mean. And you know we give each other hug and I promised her that I would do everything I could get around that shelter you're back in one home since then we've learned over. 2000 kids in about 800 families out of the shelter systems out of like littoral. You know destitution mean living in Carter's and tents and motels. Back and homes equipped with the skills knowledge and resources they need to live our commuting and be healthy and employed and so that's why we call ourselves solutions for change because we. We noticed that the problem Gary wasn't just about. In a lot of homeless families but the whole system was designed. To contain the problem in manage symptoms verses getting deeper and helping people resolve the underlying. Issues of poverty the poverty. Saw us while we call ourselves solutions for change. Get to that to the root of the problem then yeah and fix the problem as opposed to putting a band aid on it right exactly I mean. I'm an old Marines like to sell itself. I believe that if you don't find out what's causing. These problems that though actually growing your bigger and I think that you know a lot of people out there in our communities. You know run households there run businesses. Just people we know how important that is and so I in my estimation as you know mom we've we've defaulted. To each system. What he said Indies and it's not intentional like we really are compassionate people we wanna help. People but by giving people the all super shelter better hug you and that's only the first 5% of what you these human beings really need. In to go deeper it's harder and it gets a little mess here because we as human beings kind of a messy. And that's why a lot of non profits just don't do they they start going deeper in the picture it's hard and then he said hey let's go back to you you don't feel union and sheltering and hugging. And solutions to send a for not solve in this thing long term that we're not doing our job so we're gonna we're gonna figure out how do you and so what we've known as trail blazed some very. Different innovations that I know you and I want talk about. Right now now what it will what is them the mission and solutions for change solve family homelessness one thing only one community at a time and by solved. Those that worry is different and and it's like a puzzle right heat when you saw he saw the puzzle you've you've got to bring all the pieces together and if you don't bring them all together. You don't have them that the clearer picture. So this this idea of ingenious. We we don't like that where we think that it's more about solving it and and about. Early bringing together or number of things to solve the underlying causes of it so what are you know under education underemployment. And addiction mental health issues domestic violence family of origin stuff we have a lot of people that have been. I'm really harmed his kids themselves so it's it's a so therapeutic type of engagement. But it's real life stuff I mean it's like what we called solutions for change get a suit up show you know and so we've built a model around that and like you said true please some rule. Different types of programs. What do what does your back. Saw it come on from Detroit. You know the winner of 79 my dad and I are standing on top of the house with a snow blizzard over the roof. And I looked down so I gotta get the heck out your man I was eighteen you know. And so I don't know how my best to figure out to get out there who's the Marine Corps so I Gotti. One way ticket courtesy of the Department of Defense under San Diego and now when new core. And I was gonna be a crew marine I was in for ten years going and going for poignant love the Marine Corps taught me how to. Be a man in and learn learn. How to be responsible. Person. The end and I we got back from the first gulf war in dom. The commanding officer. Said they were being kind of crazy out there on hill street gains in Oceanside and some Marines to go do some community service work. And OSHA to tell your arteries audience and a bouncer for that it. Truth is that we'd I did that was for the Marines of the push up that. In I was a much better shape back now and I'm loss that and a loser of the bat had to go servants soup kitchen line. And I met a guy by the name wolfman. Homeless guy and more prominent guys. In when wolfman told me the story I went back to the base and I just couldn't get that out of my head and he'd essentially described to me what I just said you witches he's trying to survive on the streets and everybody was just. Enabling him in underwriting and subsidizing. His home was at lifestyle. It really bothered me and so I went out to before they pass saw for myself shall. Well meaning people. An army of people actually in churches and nonprofits. Feeding the homeless. Given almost a bunch of stuff. But what I saw was a massive. System. Symptom management so symptom relief is giving people stuff. And there wasn't getting solved you know also you get some guys that we get out and then that just went back to the base like I nicest the way I says god Karen grab me by the sure collar and I just couldn't say no and I and it kidnap the coroner Arnold discharge and I've been on this divinely navigated mission or rescind its offer. Now 24 years. And first seven of it was with another nonprofit helping homeless men and and then last sixteen pluses. Was solution for change. So that's soup kitchen duty change your life pretty much changed about our direction. Changed my life man I mean who would have thought you know that that lose in the book push at bat what do and then I mean a couple of big moments that and then just a command and Jessica Paloma sleeve that went out there you know. Those were big moments for me that. Change did the course and direction of my life. And that's great to an end you just down help families and it's not individuals. That's right you know when we found solutions we said how can we beat the best in in in the country at solving family homelessness and a we just decide we had a lot of opportunities Manto with a call mission creep you know. Go and other. Some populations help other you know causes or issues. I'm we just said you know we're gonna really stay focused to family homelessness and try to be the best that we can be. At addressing and solving that one issue. They talked about that model that you came up with and if I'm not mistaken solutions for change pioneered the nation's first leadership. Development academy for the homeless and that is here are solutions universities and it that's right yeah what we said loses ever go deep and solve this thing. Then that is not 83 month program like a three month winter shelter that we see in San Diego and other cities are these you know these little. You know little outreach efforts we've got to do 1000 days thoughts about three years. For our engagement here or we're going to you quit this person with the skills knowledge and resources they need to change relies forever. So that was the thought and then we we arms started doing leadership development with our team how to we'd be better servant leaders and we use a servant leadership model com for our team. And we say this stuff I would give a menace or leadership is defined as you know equipping and inspiring those we influence and so. We all decided let's give it to the parents of the families let's try it when them see what happens is many years ago. And I'll be darned but we gave it to them and they just eat this stuff out and it's so we said. What if we can teach the parents to leave themselves they can leave their kids they could be leaders in the community so since then then solutions universities the country's first. Leadership development academy for the homeless we teach them how to be servant leaders and that's assuming some kind of funny. But not only are we solving it long term but we're delivering people back to the community that are real assets for the commute like you know words. Instead of taking in consuming. They're actually giving in contributing back to society tell you what man I mean you know just like human and I'm a I'm a patriot I'm a true blooded American and this country was built on that wasn't built and just given people's stuff and and you have individualized plans right it's not. And not the same for everybody wherever family right that's right matter everybody's different in every you know. And so just like if you're to go to university. Core classes right your quirk of curriculum. But then you know you've do you get your other classes and the other things that you do. And so we we address at the same way so somebody who might be a third generation poverty family whose. Perhaps three generations of welfare dependency we're gonna treat a little bit differently. Then a moment. Who comes from a domestic violence situation let's so very different. So what are some of the things you mentioned a little bit of what you teach there at can we go to little more detail what goes on and then you have separate courses. Yeah that they take what are they learning. So the core of all that work ethic development world workforce training. And again it's it you could attack a problem you know in multiple different ways some places. We'll do a therapeutic model there will do a behavioral model there's a lot of ways you can do it. And what we've learned is is that if we focus on getting people out of the dependency churn in getting him into employment. And that just minimum wage jobs but how do we get them in a job and you know it can fairly decent job and how do we help them keep it. So a lot of what we do. Is around that how do you get up suit up and show up and operate in a workplace. In. A lot of the behavioral issues then get a dressed in that framework solemn. Our secret sauce is workforce development people get up at 5:30 AM. Kids got off to school or daycare in enduring classes you do that for the first few months and we're doing a lot of different types of classes around. What they call in the industry soft skill development so what that means is things like how do you. And I know it's gonna sound you know kind of kind of finalize these folks they have even learned. How to for example. Open up at the bank accounts checking account or you know operative check with nowadays you got your team car but you know how do you manage finances for your household how do you. So we teach them that. Parenting classes they've never known how to parent because they were parents that in many cases. Very effectively sold turning classes. How do you take care of this little self esteem issues so most of our people are women most of our our families are headed by single mom. So we have a lot of self esteem related issues so where were work approaching this from. How do you build confidence in how can you operate in the workforce inning your family. As a servant leader so there's a lot of in there and there's also quite a bit of therapeutic. Model car or reproach you because we're fewer people. Man that have been really hurt you know and bottom line is there's been a lot of hurt to these folks you know most of our. Are people on have had some type of sexual or physical assaults you know perpetrated on them as kids and so they end up. Growing up they get in these unhealthy relationships. And you know it's it's it's just a really bad things so what we're teaching people is. How do Y have healthy relationships I mean really at the core this thing here yeah you know I know. You know I don't know that you personally. But you really successful life well a big part of that is developing and maintaining healthy relationships you know. If so we can develop and maintain healthy relationships a lot of a lot of things happened so we put a lot of effort into how do we help these folks. Develop and maintain healthy relationships. And and again that that the program itself that the university is is a thousand days right right. What happens after that thousand safety follow up with you graduates we do so we're getting three times better results at 13 the cost in the government model. And we're real excited about that we've been and what that means is as. 74%. Hit the first big milestone that the 500 they marked sold there now full time employee. They've got 2000 dollars in savings account. And then all that whole Volvo host of issues that we talked about whether it be drug abuse or domestic violence and those things have been really addressed healthy relationships. They also have their own permanent housing you know there apartment on not just a transitional housing and what have you. And so then 93% of them make it to the 1000 game mark and then after that we follow up your fear we do number of things we have events. We prompt them to stay connected with us. And world war only losing media about 1% the year after that at the top five year mark on your year you've made. Once you hit that 1008 mark use your good ago you really are I mean you've disorder in 93%. The folks. That hit the you know it's only 4% to 500 a mark 93% of that of them then Miki and then you're cured your diamond you've made it. And into Psycho you know a lot of universities they don't track who rely on some do but you know we try we try to keep people connected I mean at some point. You know if I get a Christmas car from somebody you know and I'm like hey I'm happy right. But but he held late date we get a lot of people that come back the result we have graduation is three times a year we just had won a few weeks ago. And we had over. They're very connected with you know our solutions you receive a really proud of what they've done a huge success rate. Yes big time that's good that is that's great to hear and there was a government ruling recently that that affected you in your funding tell us about that. Yes so this is a big deal here this is on this is happening around the country San Diego's been Taiwan leader cities to to embrace it. The government model that was started about 25 years ago called the continued care was more therapeutic model had classes workforce training. Arm drug free it was a big part of it. In after 25 years of running it the government's decided that models too restrictive so the new model called housing first. Is the government has said it's better just a paid housing for the homeless person. In make it no strings attach meaning that they can use drugs. They cannot work. And it started with a chronic homeless and it worked its way down the family homelessness all solutions. Has drug free housing and we run drug free programs and that's how we've always done it. And we played by the government rules doing this now for over two decades now the government says that in order for us to get money from them. We have to abandon our drug free housing rules we must accept. Homeless moms and dads in our programs. That are active methamphetamine users and heroin users and we've got to make our workforce training programs optional. So we set. We can't do that that's not who we are we're not gonna do it and they said fine give us the money back. So we saw this coming about five years ago we were 36% funded by the government that point coming into this year were only 12%. But now having just given a 100000 dollars back because we're not gonna run drug housing. We're now down to 9% in the eighth let us now that they're coming from the rest of the so mom. You know we're we're not gonna change who we are racquet change how we help homeless families. Unfortunately it's hurt us you know it hurts the community I mean this whole community has helped us build our programs so we're now in a position where. On we know that when we have to give up more of it. And it's a big deal man it's it's a big deal for us it's a big deal for other nonprofits and quite frankly. If you're nonprofit helping the homeless you're probably 50% or more funded by the government that's how most of them operate. And autumn 677%. By changing the rules I know of a lot of homeless. Colleagues of mine they don't like the rules but. We now what can they do mean they're stuck man if they saying no to this money they could lose their nonprofit. So there are almost forced to say yes. Just leave their doors to keep their doors open and and that is you know that we're talking about billions of dollars now your coming in from the government throughout the country and it's it's. It's a big deal ma'am we are actually taking a principled position. And you know some in the in our field don't like us for that and but a lot of our. Community partners Tom the five mayors in North County who have signed on to remodel they are. Very supportive of what we're doing. Mayor Matt hall she rear Jim Desmond Sam a bad those guys are very supportive of what afternoon and there. They're sticking up for us and of course you know supervisor going Dave Roberts. So our local elected you know are really concerned about this and there trying to help us foot. Boy it's a it's more or in a big fight here this is this is really this is a fight here. To continues just help homeless families to wait for help home which is drug free housing and it seems to me that that kind of defeats the purpose to allow. The person who's using. In two. Your program and because you've got all these others that have cleaned up their act and then you're gonna allow. Others who are still using to mingle amongst them right that doesn't work doesn't work and you know the biggest ones that are are really concerned about this is our 130 families themselves they they came believe they're like. Hey I got cleaner got sold around rebuilding a life. And I don't want my kids. To be part of that anymore it's all. You know there are very concerned man and as does there's a lot of our supporters are mean our supporters quite frank clear. A very vocal about this and so we need help man I mean we'd Reno like we're lose in the government money and like we several. You know he was somebody on our teams say hey you know we had 2000 people give us 24 dollars a month. For next year we'd actually make up for all that loss. And so that's we started at 24 campaign is part of our mission solve it initiative. Which we launched a few months ago and mission solve it as we got invited into three different North County communities. After. Many years of operating up their of these other communities have invited soon I think I read vouchers 24 dollar. Campaign has just 24 dollars for child 72 dollars for an entire fan that's what it cost that's right. Itself Reno point four dollars a day seventy dollars a day for families or saying uses this for 44 bucks today. And we're asking for we're asking for just point four dollars a month officially were just give 24 bucks a month and 2000 people were to do that we'd be able to continue to serve. Our families in this drug free housing the wave that we built our programs and and this is it's a big deal your word. You know we're we're still grassroots now we are. You know we started visiting back grassroots are for the whole time and we're just helping a lot more families today and hear your located in in the North County right. Whereabouts are main campuses investor who were in five cities and we're building and three additional cities we've been invited into. Do you serve the entire county we serving tar norte county so let's say essentially one million populous region. So if you. If you look at you know from Del Mar power away and then and then you know fall proposal. So it's about a million. Populous regions though podcast and were right now I wish I could tell you that nobody was knocking our door but we've got about 250 families trying to you know programs right now it's. The news or injury what are the the eligibility requirements to to get into your program yes so we just asked for three things. We askew if you're using drugs or you have problem with alcohol which quite a few people do. Would you be willing to stop that and if you can't stop we we have linkage agreement with on recovery center of world war you'll you can go to kids get the treatment for a month and come back we ask you do that secondly is. Which get up in the morning. And meet with the case manager allow her hand to help you address the core issues and thirdly is will you work. So if you can say yes and those three things you're you're good to go really. People say I'll you know all week so hard detractors say. That we. We're cherry pickers you know but if you've gone to one of graduation are you watching either videos that we have gone website. I don't know about you were you watched the people that our health and wanna cherry pick in man were were helping people that are really. Really in dire straights men and then have really been hurt. Army have a lot of issues men that are serious issue so but if you say yes those three things you know Matilda that's meta means say yes to that and won't give you will lay out. You reach in your pocket to make payment you caught a handful went. And we like you qualify if you can say yes those were things as well we've got. Donors and people in our community care so much about these in these men and golf scholarship and in so that's what we're doing. And again Europe it the whole goal and and mission of of solutions for change is to solve. The homelessness. The homeless situation all homeless problem that we have here in San Diego County. Statistics 600000. People in the US are homeless. While 41% of families with children what what's the situation here in San Diego County rightfully. You know it. You can count of a single homeless guy or gal literal history a lot easier than you can fail families. You can't you can't it's hard hard count so we know that got numbers really low. We estimate that solution for change. That's about there's about three times that number so we think there's about 6000 family members of about a thousand Finley's. After years typically three per family and took almost always a mom single mother. With two kids yet but 80% of the families with health or single mothers with with two more kids so. So that's the you know that's what we think is but the official count is roughly 67000 homeless overall and about 2000. Little 2000. Almost mainly members. So. Roughly 650 families yourself and that's your San Diego after Christensen. And NDM. Families that are homeless is on the rise. Yeah man I mean it is. What we've got here is if you address symptoms. The problem. Doesn't get solved the core problem is solved so the problem grows if you look at homelessness every what why do we keep thinking all this money. But yet homelessness increases right and that's why I've just summarize it very you know I know it's a 30000 foot summary but. But when you don't when you don't address the core problem. Then of course the problem's gonna grow up to you got new homeless people coming in the old ones are solving you know they're they're not resolving their issues so the problem gross. He military now let people know this men were thrown and as a country all in about 200 billion dollars a year in this issue. Homelessness has become a massive industry essentially. In solutions for change what we says we don't part of him this year so really are outside of it. And somebody's who recently said no you are man Europe's social sector market disrupt her a slight case say that again that is. You know it's kind of a mouthful. But we are we have never been afraid to beasts something different. And and so we are disrupting this market in a little way. And that's frankly why other communities are asking us to to come in and you know other communities around the country are we want our model and we've actually. I guess on the show I can share with you that. Riverside County has not asked us to come in and they are very serious about it. Right now there currently considering. Giving us a very large. Award for us to come in. He and suffer model there are so that's great I'll be our real excited about serving them and helping them and we'll see what happens we should know here pretty soon. And and we have just a few more minutes left but I didn't want to just touch on in and we'll have to do briefly but solutions farms this is a part of the university right. It is actually so solutions for change has. Three initiatives solutions university solutions farms in solutions in the community and solutions farms rockaholics forms so it's a stating the art are upon X its innovation that recently won a very large innovation grant from the he San Diego lines San Diego. A life health Care Foundation. In so announced the largest of punish foreign in all of California. In our moms and dads get up every morning early they go work the farm that grows certified organic food the best food you can put your mouth. In the school districts are about it and so now we sell the food and other districts are on break right now. For me spin back up will be selling all that food that we grow about a 103000. Pounds a year. Through the schools and the kids will be eating from the fast food they could possibly put new models so this is. You know the baby greens spring mix column in really great stuff so. And then that revenue goes back into what the solutions universities so that offsets the cost of them going through the university such a true social enterprise. Roadside about is that the core. On the social entrepreneur. I love so far prize because then you have to become his reliance on government obvious irony in there on the private sector so very exciting. Initiative there. And then solutions in the community which is a real state to go we go and find depressed properties. Rehab home and internals and homes were graduates solos and three initiatives of solutions for change solutions university solutions forms. And solutions in the Q when you bundled those together. You get nom he really dynamic. Innovative solution for for community and work side and that's why admission solve it right now with our effort here. We're gonna try to go from helping a 130 families and data 240. Or the next few years so we're hoping that we can help orphaned and and part of that is going into it you mentioned other communities here you're looking at Escondido. Oceanside and in Carlsbad that's right and and your your building homes there that's right each rose to resume invited us in worse things solutions university in the cities so. Oceanside Carlsbad hump very exciting will be able to help a lot more families. With those expansion any any plans to expand further down south into other parts of San Diego County. We would love to to be invited down here into it in to San Diego there's a leadership pure knows about us. In so we know we we can only come with can only hope that. That that would occur we gonna we'd love to see San Diego adopt a model it's it's a personal accountability model. A bomb and it's a model that solves that long term so. You know we we we would hope that there be some interest there and if there weren't that people you know we or wanna go where were invited so that's why we're going up to recycle as they've studied us they came down three times over like two and a half your time frame. And they said look we've looked at all the different stuff megas and this is the model we sell they want to solutions universally loved the Favre can only lottery thing about we what we do. And yell right now currently are only 9% funded by the government set that we don't want the government money. We just don't want the government tell us how we should help families when we've got two plus decades of of solving this thing and end in positive results right so why fix it why fix it program for a mess right. Your website but it puts Europe's website address yes solutions for change dot org. He'd go there you can also there's solutions farms dot org is separate. Website on the pharma solutions for changed I don't worry you can learn all about us. I'm you can. You can click on the link for the 24 bucks a month if you want and we hope that. You know you take a look at us you know come up in see what we're doing I think he'd be varies very pleasantly surprised and how how different we see. And deal with the problem homelessness here in Sunni accounts and your social media to. Yes we arm and join our FaceBook page your life goes on there we've. Always updating it ought to get stuff there that you can learn about this for sure there's lot of ways to get involved too there's tons of different ways of me. We we want you to come alongside of us help us change lives forever at the end of the day. Generational transformation is what you'll be part of so when you come in and you help us. Rebuild lives you will generate really transform. The lives of kids who were who were in deep poverty your chain you'll change lives forever guarantee that you'll come in be part of what we're doing. You're gonna change you're gonna change the lives of these kids for ever and they won't be. The guy. For the gal that you have to step over in fifteen years on the way in the pickle park because they're living on sidewalks on were so worried intervening now in. It's a big it's big man so how we approach to be part of it it's a tall order. But a little beard you know you're doing a great job and it thank you so Chris again at ray senior. Great having on the show again and that keep you in which doing the solutions for changing definitely changing. Lies making a difference in in so many lives in San Diego County it's appreciated thank you here appreciate you have me here. That includes another addition of living veteran San Diego the opinions expressed on living veteran San Diego did not necessarily reflect the opinions and views. Of the staff and management of the and it comes San Diego radio stations. Episodes of living veterans San Diego are available on the station's web site. Join me next week when my guest will be from the Helen Woodward animal center until then invariably. Have a great week.