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.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “Super Bowl Party for the Homeless”

  1. Yolanda says :

    Interesting idea. However, I do agree with Costa when he stated that many of the homeless have, I’ll say, “serious addictions” as opposed to his quote “real problems that they are battling with”. I’m sure every homeless person, feels as though their problem is very much real. Whether they’re addicted to drugs & alcohol or not. But hopefully those individuals specifically battling with addiction & mental illness will be pointed in the right direction to get rehabilitated and medical attention. Sounds like a positive event that should provide a multitude of assistance many homeless persons/families to begin a process to get back on their feet. All in all I think it’s a great idea. That fact that there will be access to food, shelter, & assistance for 3 days and not 1 is definitely a plus.

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