Super Bowl Party for the Homeless
NPR has an interesting story on how Detroit is treating its homeless during Super Bowl Weekend. Detroit has a high homeless population, and many are arguing that the city is trying to sweep these people under the rug while company is in town for the Super Bowl. Others say that they want these people to have a nice place to watch the game like everyone else. What do you think?
The idea of a Super Bowl Party for Homeless Detroiters is not in and of itself a bad idea. In fact, I think it presents an amazing opportunity for all involved. It gives homeless individuals an opportunity to fellowship around the big game and a decent meal, it gives volunteers a unique opportunity to commune with richly diverse people during a happy event as opposed to sorrow, it gives sponsors great PR, the list can go on to infinity.
Where problems arise is in the sustainability of services, which is not a problem unique to a Super Bowl Party. The questions are: what will happen next Monday? Will these people still get the same attention for the rest of Black History Month? The rest of 2006? This list also can expand forever.
How can these potential problems be mitigated? The answer is by taking advantage of this time to create personal connections that can lead to homeless people achieving their personal and financial goals. Job placement service representatives, credit rebuilding service representatives, Money Mentors, low-income child care representatives, psychological counselors, etc. should make it their business to volunteer at these events. The mutual benefits are obvious. Party A gets helped while Party B gets business and publicity. It would be shameful if the publicity was the motivation for participation, but I’ll take that over doing nothing.
In order to participate and/or to donate time/money, please contact the Detroit Rescue Missions Ministries.