Sometimes, when looking for the answers to complicated questions, it helps to ask someone who has not been trained to see constraints before solutions. Perhaps one could look at the problem in reverse, that is, to determine a solution first and overcome its obstacles second.
That’s just how some third and fourth grade students reacted when asked how they might alleviate homelessness in Del Norte County.
City Councilman Isaiah Wright is a teacher of third and fourth grade students at Margaret Keating Elementary School. Wright asked his students the following questions:
“There are hundreds of homeless people where we live. Many of them can’t afford rent because they don’t have a job, recently lost their job or their rent was recently increased. Whatever the reason we still have the problem. Your goal today is to solve this problem. We are getting a grant for $9,000, one time and assume we can get together $100,000 a year. With those limited funds what are some ways we can help solve the homelessness problem in our county?”
After sifting through many answers, Wright submitted the following:
Skylar wrote, “To help the homeless with the best care we can give them care packages. They should also make a homeless shelter to help the homeless have a place to sleep.”
When asked to write down what would be included in the care packages, she wrote, “a backpack, toothpaste, toothbrush, a coat, small tent, water, canned food, snacks, beanie, a good book, solar flashlight, (and a) clock to tell time and wake up on time.”
Students Dakotarose, CJ and Eddie said “We can use the money to build more houses.”
Asked to elaborate, they replied, “The county can build the houses and rent them out for cheap till the people get back on their feet. Make little houses because they are cheaper to build and people don’t need that much room.”
Dakotarose, CJ and Eddie suggested we find them a job. When asked to elaborate, they said, “If they had a job then they could have money to afford the rent.” Adopting homeless people was another idea proposed.
“Like Mr. Wright just adopted a little girl, families that have money can adopt a homeless person,” said CJ. “Not to live in their home but maybe help them pay rent for a month or their water bill. Like Mr. Wright said, be good neighbors. Our neighbors aren’t just the people that live next door.”
Other options included, having more jobs so the homeless can work and be able to afford rent. Giving them shelter, having them stay in your garage and pay you $20 a month until you have enough money to buy them their own house, building a few homes and selling for free, opening more places to give them food and water, giving them a dog and a bed, and giving them a few dollars a day for food.