August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 42

HOMELESSNESS
department has provided key services
to people experiencing homelessness
by meeting basic needs
and providing referrals to key community
partners. In White's experience,
it
homelessness,
all
starts with building
trusting relationships and treating
everyone he serves, including those
experiencing
with
dignity and respect. " First of all, I
think it is important for that person
to trust you. Once you get that trust
piece, you'll be able to connect the
person to resources. "
Some of the immediate resources
the Decatur Active Living Division
provides include shelter during
dangerous weather events, 24-hour
access to restrooms, and operating
a community food/clothing box.
Similar to a " tiny library, " White,
his team and community volunteers
" stock the box " with water,
fruit, sandwiches, clothing and other
necessities.
Moving beyond basic needs is
the next step the Decatur team is
advancing. " Food and water provide
immediate needs, but we want
to help people long term, " says
White. " This topic of unhoused is
important because it impacts our
work daily, from trash in the parks
[and] people leaving items around
the facilities... [to] enforcing rules
around urban camping. The goal
is to connect people to full wraparound
resources in phases. "
As White explains, real sustained
change occurs through partnerships
with agencies specializing
in
housing
and
homelessnessrelated
services. While these partnerships
take time to seek out and
establish, knowing the network of
homeless assistance providers has
helped White find his agency's
place within his local community's
homeless response system: " I
don't think it's our role to try to
solve it. We need to connect them
to the people who have the expertise.
That's why it's important to
know who is in the community
that's doing this work. "
White advises other park and
recreation professionals to not try
and do it all by yourself. Instead,
do what you can to leverage your
strengths and provide for basic
needs. And, to really make a difference,
it takes being at the table
with dedicated partners. He advises
fellow park and recreation
professionals to be involved in local
task forces aiming to address
homelessness
in
your community.
These task forces often are
composed of nonprofit groups,
faith-based organizations,
police
departments, fire departments, libraries,
downtown development
associations
and
HUD-funded
Continuums of Care.
When respect, empathy, and
upstream and systems
thinking
are at the center of your response
to homelessness, that's when the
magic happens. Relationships are
formed and cross-sector partners
work together to create systems
that support all people. White
provides an example: " I had a situation
a month ago, an unhoused
individual helped me help another
family that was about to be displaced
from the hotel. He told the
family to call me, [and] I, in turn,
called the nonprofit. The teamwork
allowed the family to remain
in the hotel and not be displaced
to the streets. "
Through a trusted relationship, a
connected park and recreation professional,
an efficient referral and
swift action by a community partner,
a vulnerable family was able
to remain in a safe situation while
they worked toward longer-term
stability. All White had to do to
42 Parks & Recreation | A UGUS T 2 0 22 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
facilitate this success story was to
be trusted in the community and
know who to call.
The Takeaways
While homelessness is a nationwide
problem, solutions are much
more localized. There are numerous
tangible ways parks and recreation
can help and are helping to
address this critical issue. Park and
recreation departments are direct
contributors to community health
and wellness and are
uniquely
positioned to provide direct assistance,
in many forms, to all community
members, including persons
experiencing homelessness.
As White says, " Nobody touches
more people than parks and recreation
people. We know everybody
in the community. " Meeting immediate
needs - as you're able -
collaborating with local homelessdedicated
agencies, and prioritizing
outreach/training are all great
steps to consider when thinking
about how your agency could be
a part of the solution. The key is
to
identify which strategies
are
within the mission and capacity of
your agency to realistically pursue.
Special thanks to the valuable contributions
of Greg White, Lauren
Mullenbach, Nick Pitas and Ben
Hickerson.
To hear more about this important
topic from White, as well as NRPA's
Austin Barrett and Allison Colman,
tune in to the August bonus episode
of Open Space Radio at nrpa.
org/August2022BonusEpisode.
Austin Barrett (he/him) is an Evaluation
Manager with NRPA (abarrett@nrpa.org).
Allison Colman (she/her) is the Director
of Health for NRPA (acolman@nrpa.org).
https://www.nrpa.org/august2022bonusepisode https://www.nrpa.org/august2022bonusepisode

August 2022 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of August 2022 - Parks & Recreation

August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 1
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 2
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 3
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 4
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 5
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 6
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 7
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8a
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8b
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 9
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 10
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 11
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 12
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 13
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 14
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 15
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 16
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 17
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 18
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 19
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 20
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 21
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 22
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 23
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 24
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 25
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 26
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 27
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 28
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 29
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 30
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 31
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 32
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 33
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 34
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 35
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 36
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 37
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 38
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 39
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 40
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 41
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 42
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 43
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 44
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 45
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 46
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 47
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 48
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 49
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 50
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 51
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 52
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 53
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 54
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 55
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 56
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
August 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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