Eleven tips for social workers and policy makers on how to learn to put your money where your mouth is

The numbers on Homelessness and Poverty are rising. There is no time to waste.

We have to bring these numbers down

People who are a victim of our failing welfare state, of our failing systems have to work hard to deserve services (read; Housing, Money, Community, Love). Only in exchange for good behaviour, our sytems are willing to reconsider and listen to what people wish for.

It’s time for change

Housing First Programs in every big city in The World, the London-, Amsterdam-, Rotterdam- and Haarlem Project (Money First) have proven to be effective in solving homelessness and poverty and thus in providing people with future perspectives.

Here’s some reasons why it is worthwhile to give people Money without preconditions

Give a homeless person $10 and he or she will think of buying dope or boose. Give a person $10.000 and he or she will think of applying for Housing and Education.

It is a mythe that people will spend the money that you give them without preconditions on bullshit. When you state, after handing over the money, that they don’t have to do something in return, they will never disappoint you. Giving people a big ammount of money means that in fact you trust them to use the money in a clever way. It’s all about trust, not the money.

People can never disappoint you.

It might be the case that some of the money will be spent on bullshit. So what? Everybody has the right to make the wrong choices. On average people learn from their mistakes. Specially if they have a friend, a good coach who guides them on their new path in life in a clever and forgiving way. On what do you spend your money? Do you use your money in a clever way? Are you a forgiving person? Do you believe in second chances? Believe in prosperity. Success and positivism are contagious.

You are not sent from heaven to save people’s lives.

Be humble. Stay in the moment. Celebrate when you provide people with houses and money. Watch in wonder how they react and yell, cry, be happy with them. When this moment and party has passed, forget about it. Proceed with every day life. Because that is when the hard part appears. How will people spend their first week in the apartment? On what will they spend their first dollars? What does money management look like? How can I spread spending the money over a period of a year? What services and coaching do we provide to achieve success?

Build on a tolerance for uncertainty. There is no truth in this world. Wat is true today might be different tomorrow. The outcome of Money First is certain and clear. Nevertheless, predicting is a waste of time. Watch in Wonder.

People don’t have to be money-ready.

Sit with your own discomfort. We can never predict what will happen when we provide people with money. Fact is, like in Housing First Programs, that your success rate will be high (85% or more). Set your worry on a bad outcome aside. It belongs to you, not to the person who was just offered the money. Again, provided with the right guidance, people can never disappoint you. Otherwise, Housing and Money is a basic human right, according to the declaration of Human Rights. Read the book, Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman. Practice it and we will be heading for a world that works for everybody.

Don’t expect gratefullness.

Remember, a basic income is a basic human right. You are not sent from heaven. Homelessness and Poverty are symptoms of a world where survival of the fittest is the rule. Symptoms of a world out of order. Symptoms of a system that holds people hostage in homelessness and poverty. I can’t say it in a better and more forgiving way then this quote from the Recovery Learning Community of Western Mass, USA.

If I make more mistakes then you do, I ‘win’.
(The School of Life, Amsterdam)

People learn from making mistakes, from experiencing hardship, from experimenting, from practicing. The best thing to do if a treasurer is making a mess of your money management, is hire the same person again after going through the mistakes that were made. It will never happen again.

Disconnect money from treatment, support and guidance.

It has nothing to do with each other. People were offered the money because it’s their basic human right. They don’t have to show ‘positive behaviour’ in exchange.

Include people with lived experience in your program if you don’t have lived experience yourself.

Social Workers have a tendency to ‘give up’ when the tough gets going. People with lived experience will tell you to never give up and stick to your Plan and Mission. They know what it takes to drag people out of the mud.

Practice the 3 A’s for social workers.
(LEAP, Xavier Amador)

  • Apologize. Making mistakes is human. Offer a person your apologies.
  • Accept. Accept that you can make mistakes. That you have made a wrong decision. Even if you think you are right. My perception just might not be right. I don’t have all the wisdom.
  • Agree. I offer my apologies for what I am going to say. Can we agree to disagree and still be friends?

Build Community.

Offering people money is not enough. In the end, when people have gained trust, live in a home, have a job and experiencing meaningful conversations, it’s not the money that is important. What is important is the fact that you will never let your friend down. That you will stand by somebody, no matter what. Start the search for lost friends and family. Reunite people and families. Include important other people in the process and program. Talk about education, talk about jobs, talk about talents. Nobody was meant to be alone. We were meant to be together. Together we are stronger. Together we can solve any problem.

Don’t focus on behaviour. Focus on what happened to people.

Sometimes we are shocked by the behaviour of people. If you realize that everybody has a reason to act like they act, to say the things they are saying, everything becomes easier. People were not born to make a mess of your life. They don’t know you. They are overwhelmed by circumstance. It has nothing to do with you. Read A new Earth by Eckhart Tolle and learn what it means to act from your pain body.

Geef een reactie

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *

CommentLuv badge