Together Street Mercy Movement (SMM) and Bay to Bay Services/Healing Homelessness (BtBS/HH) spent countless hours in honing a Community Engagement Process that would fulfill the goals and aspirations of both missions. The process was named “Community Pizza Partnership” (CPP), representing how each of the diverse “savory slices”of the community were needed to consult in partnership with the poorest and most neglected in out midst, the Adult Street Homeless, to develop a Thriving Life Style for All. SMM was to provide addiction free “Role Models” to partner with homeless individuals at earlier stages of development to aid in a process of building bridges of consultation on solutions and partnership in a pro-active engagement that was fun as well as empowering. BtBS/HH 's function was to provide a proven consultative and educational and process that develops Community Service and progress in developing their talents and capacities to that end.
Unfortunately the agencies that had money to invest in this process, were not inspired by our CPP goals. Interestingly enough, what we heard most were: The goals were too high, the requested funding was too little, and where has it been done before ? This was a bit disheartening, for one object of this Initiative was to show how inexpensively a thriving community could be developed through individuals and businesses sharing resources and talents to elevate the homeless, and those homeless giving back, as well, through their awakened and developed talents and capacities.
The CPP initiative received several offers of time, promotion, participation and resources for the public engagement events as well as the the transformational development sequence and housing program. But those supporters were not able to offer financial assistance. Individually, both Bay to Bay Services and Street Mercy Movement have been so focused on developing and implementing their practical and affordable solutions to the plight of the Homeless, that both have exhausted their funds, time and energy in those efforts. So, my Street Mercy partners and I decided to establish the models everyone was wanting to see, on our own, first. Within the SMM camps, we would start the processes of consultation and camp administration that nurtured order and harmony, organization and obedience to civil authority. Once the organization, trustworthiness and work ethic were established, we could move into building micro homes and recommend individuals for apprenticeship programs. Once these models had been successfully established in the “roll model” camps, the necessary credibility would have been established, and the CPP could be expanded to the general public in the event series.
The CPP process and goals, developed as a partnership between SMM and BtBS, were discussed briefly, initially, at a camp meeting on on Aug. 26. The CPP process was introduced as a spiritually based process that supported, but was not limited, to their Christian values and priorities. When the meeting was closed with "born-again” prayers and an "outside" prayer unity was introduced, there was new resistance. Weeks went by before being invited back, after consulting and being supported by their spiritual council. After that, I was invited back on Sept. 16 to establish the “ground rules” for the process. The first requirement being that decisions were arrived at though consultation. Preparation for that required open and advance compilation of the agenda with time prior to gather thoughts, and information. Within a few days of that decision, the process was hijacked by two new members of the group who convinced the others that they did not have to be governed by any rules or processes that did not come from their interpretation of the Bible.
The street co-founder of SMM caved to their demands, and the business manager was too involved in his business responsibilities and diminished health to divert his energy to more “camp drama.” I was then told I did not have to return until, and as, invited. He understands, I’m sure, that public support could not be sustained for a program excludes other faith choices and allows anarchy. It is not an acceptable “roll-model” for good citizenship, let alone for an apprenticeship or job prospect.
So, my friends and supporters, the bottom line is that the the affordable and do-able goals of CPP need proactive “Corporate” support of both partnering agencies to enforce the Process. SMM has developed their proprietary process of inspiring individuals of the adult street homeless to take personal responsibility for improving their lives, starting with kicking their drug and alcohol dependencies, taking responsibility for developing more fulfilling futures. BtBS has the proprietary process for educating the mind and spirit in discovering and developing their latent talents, skills and capacities to become community assets, building purposeful lives and a thriving community. Both need the other to succeed in inspiring and activating appropriate role models for the Sarasota Community and other Agencies.