I had long knew of Marvin. Cynthia of the National Alliance to End Homelessness put a name to him when we did a session together at the summer conference a while back. You know Marvin too.

Who is Marvin?

Marvin is the guy that pops up in your rules for your program. Maybe not by the name "Marvin". But you have served Marvin and created rules because of him. 

It goes like this...

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A Letter to Myself of 15 Years Ago

This week I am leading another Leadership Academy on Ending Homelessness. We sold out again. It is a great honour that so many people want to hone their leadership skills on this important social issue. As I was preparing and reflecting on the materials to be delivered this week, I wrote a letter to myself that I wish I had 15 years ago.

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One Big Thing

Empathy is a difficult thing to practice. How do we honestly go about having a true identification with, or vicarious experience of the thoughts, feelings, or attitudes of another? If you have never been chronically homeless before, in which ways can you go about deepening your understanding of what it is like to move into housing and go through the radical and disruptive change that comes with doing so?

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Hope is the only currency we really deal in. Not false promises. Not dreams of a better day. Hope is a nuanced belief that life is worth living; that tomorrow can be better than today; that next week can be better than this week; that next month can be better than this month; that next year can be better than this year. Hope is about leaning into expectation, while concurrently creating the reality of that expectation. To have hope is to take meaningful action toward a desire future. As a belief, hope requires us to move from a crossing of the fingers and wishing upon a star to doing the work to create the desired future we want.

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The Three Metrics I Admire Most

When a community starts wondering what data to collect and look at when measuring progress to end homelessness, it is easy to generate a number of pieces of data that may be interesting to look at. Before you know it, there are over a hundred fields...the proverbial elephant being a horse drawn by committee. And what happens? The data does not get captured. Or it is inconsistently captured. Or there are time delays in data entry. Overall - a bunch of crap. 

So if you want to simplify this - the Brown M&Ms if you will - focus on measuring three things really well.

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10 Critical Questions for Every Shelter and Shelter System

At National Alliance to End Homelessness Conferences the past couple years, in our training and transforming of shelter providers and shelter systems, and one of the foci of our upcoming How to Be an Awesome Shelter Learning Clinic in Dallas, are these 10 critical questions that every shelter and shelter system should be asking themselves:

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Signs of a Bad Shelter Proposal

Recently I was asked to provide commentary on a new shelter being proposed in Florida. Shelters are an important asset in ending homelessness when they are focused on helping people get into housing as quickly as possible. Every community needs an adequate number of shelter spaces relatively to the demands in their specific community. And in this Florida community, they have woefully few shelter beds and definitely need more.

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Three Major Reactions to Change

There are a handful of communities where the three major reactions to change are front and center in my work these days, and probably a healthy reminder to us all of how normal these reactions are:

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Important & Ready

Whether you are trying to make change within yourself, your organization, or your community there are two critical success factors that must be addressed if you are going to achieve what you set out to achieve. The first is whether or not people feel the change is important. The second is whether or not people are ready for the change.

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2017 – What Will it Bring?

Welcome to the first blog of 2017. As I do every year, I want to kick off the first blog of the year with things that concern me and some hope for the year ahead.

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