Informed Neighbors + Toolkit = Homes for All
After reviewing the Housing Ready Community’s Toolkit, you are ready to take action to end homelessness in Santa Clara County.
Use this simple guide to get involved and make sure we fully implement the Community Plan to End Homelessness and build the new affordable and supportive housing that we need most.
Our community faces a homelessness crisis that is made worse by a housing crisis. In the past, we have not built enough affordable homes. These two crises negatively impact the quality of life for all of us.
Review the complete toolkit website and factsheets to learn more about the causes and severity of these crises.
Review the toolkit to learn more about the Community Plan and the progress we have made already.
Understand Our Responsibility
Homelessness impacts quality of life for all of us, not only for people living outside. To end homelessness in our community, we all need to work together. It is not enough for only some organizations, neighborhoods or cities to participate in the solution.
Saying hello and acknowledging the people living outside in your neighborhood can be incredibly powerful and help restore dignity for them and for our entire community. Instead of passing by, stop for a minute and get to know someone new.
Some of us worry about what will happen in our neighborhood if new supportive housing is built. Sometimes, these fears come from a lack of information or inaccurate information we have received. Reading and sharing the information found on the toolkit website and factsheets is one way to answer important questions and ease fears.
Share the toolkit and talk to your neighbors in individual conversations, at family dinners and neighborhood meetings, and at religious or other community events.
Talk to Elected Officials
Many of the decisions about funding and construction of affordable and supportive housing are made by members of your city council, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, California state representatives and city staff members in housing and planning departments.
Share the toolkit, send email messages and speak at city council and other public meetings to encourage your representatives to do all they can to help build the supportive housing we need to end homelessness. Your voice matters.
Every month, dozens of community events about homelessness and housing take place in our community. A great way to get involved, make new friends, learn more and have an impact is to attend these events.
Your friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor might not know about the plan we are working on together to end homelessness. To spread the word and get others involved, participate online and share information from the toolkit on social media using these hashtags:
The best way to discuss homelessness and housing is around the table with the people closest to you.
Why not invite friends and neighbors over for dinner, coffee or snacks? You can talk about the information on the Housing Ready Community’s Toolkit website and invite others to get involved. Think of it as a “dinner party with handouts”. Really, it’s as simple as that.
Here are a few tips to help you plan:
- Make a list of 6 to 10 people to invite.
- To reach more people, consider asking your guests to bring someone you do not already know.
- Invite people with phone calls, email messages, and a Facebook event.
- Download and print two or three infographics and factsheets from the toolkit for each guest. Make extra copies just in case.
- Make a list of questions and interesting facts about supportive housing and homelessness to use in case conversation slows down.
- Serve a home-cooked meal, order in or make it a potluck.
- To make it easier, consider co-hosting with someone else.
- Create basic guidelines so everyone is comfortable participating in the conversation. Make sure everybody gets a chance to share and ask questions.
- Have somebody take notes during the conversation so that everyone can have a record of what was discussed.
- At the end of the conversation, discuss next steps, including one or two specific actions you will take individually and as a group.
- Take a group photo and share it on social media. Encourage your guests to post about the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
- Use hashtags so others can find out about it and be inspired: #EndHomelessness #HousingReady #Time4Yes #SupportiveHousing
- Send a follow-up email to encourage the group to subscribe to the toolkit website mailing list.
- Encourage 1 or 2 people from the group to host a dinner of their own.
- Invite the group to join you when you attend community meetings and events.
Accurate information is essential to increase understanding of those experiencing homelessness in our community. You can play a powerful role in raising awareness and correcting misconceptions about homelessness and supportive housing in Santa Clara County.
If you want to be even more involved, consider volunteering with a local nonprofit working to end homelessness.
Download the toolkit Action Guide for a printer-friendly PDF version of the information on this page.