Founded in 2012, the Homeless Improvement Project (HIP) is a collaboration of homeless adults living in Brockton, MA, and committed area residents who are not homeless. HIP's vision is to enable the homeless adults in the group to take control of their lives in positive ways. Its chief goals are to see every homeless adult (1) living in permanent housing, (2) leading fulfilling lives that include efforts to help others and (3) working in challenging, decent paying jobs.
HIP is currently based in the lower level of Universal Missionary Church (hyperlink), an evangelical Christian church that ministers primarily to the poor and homeless. Though HIP is based in a church, it is open to anyone seeking to better themselves and their situations through their own efforts. Its activities are kept separate from those of the church though its pastor, The Rev. Roberto Silviera, is a supporter and regular participant in its activities. One of HIP's ongoing efforts is to establish a non-denominational daytime resource center for homeless adults in a separate location.
HIP's core program is its weekly discussion group. Since its first meeting in July 2012, its topics have included the origins of the universe, rap music, Russia's view of the U.S., homeless writers, opioid addiction, urban farming, successful homelessness reduction programs, local and national politics, the refugee crisis in the Middle East and dozens of other issues. At the start of each session, the group reads an article on the issue to be discussed that day. Each person in attendance is then asked to voice their opinions on the subject. The approach is based loosely on Harkness Teaching, (hypelink) a read-and-discuss methodology that has been the main teaching method at Phillips Exeter Academy since the 1930s. It is now growing rapidly as a preferred approach to teaching and learning at progressive schools. It is sometimes called teacherless teaching or peer-to-peer learning.
The initial purpose of the discussion group was simply to offer Brockton's homeless something different to do for a couple of hours each week. However, as time passed it became clear that the discussions were not only serving as stimulating focus groups, they had also become a spawning ground from new HIP initiatives. For example:
A discussion of Brockton's efforts to redevelop its downtown led to the formation of the Clean City Crew, a team of volunteers that deep cleans a rotation of local parks, business properties and church grounds every Saturday. The team generally concentrates on the Perkins Park area, a once proud neighborhood just north of downtown Brockton that is now known as a congregation point for homeless people who have no place to go during the day, alcoholics, drug addicts and drug dealers. Perkins Park itself is bordered on each side by Universal Missionary Church and Brockton's MainSpring homeless shelter. When cleaning the long neglected grounds of one piece of property in the neighborhood, the Crew picked up more than 200 used syringes left by heroin addicts. The Crew's efforts are slowly improving attitudes toward the neighborhood and have led to many positive new interactions between the homeless community and local businesses and city government.
o A discussion attended by two Brockton City Councilors led to an invitation to make a presentation last fall to the City Council as a whole. The presentation and media coverage (hyperlink) that followed have helped to elevate elevate the discussion of the homelessness situation in Brockton, especially the notion that the homeless are, for the most part, decent members of the community who need help and not enemies of progress. In particular, Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter and the MainSpring homeless shelter have been taking steps to establish a place for the homeless to go during the day. For its part HIP stands ready to cooperate with those efforts while expanding its own offerings. As one example, the group has formed a grant research and writing committee with the small "g" goal being selected for grants and the capital "g" goal of creating gainful employment for some homeless adults as grant writers.
Discussions about last year's Brockton elections, which were attended by several candidates, led to a voter registration drive that added more than 100 new voters, most of them homeless people, to the voting list.
In parallel with those organically developed initiatives, HIP also has a computer lab used mainly at this point to search for job opportunities and to create resumes and send cover letters. Type your paragraph here.
HOMELESS IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Founded in 2012 , the Homeless Improvement Project (HIP) is a collaboration of homeless adults living in Brockton, MA, and committed area residents who are not homeless. HIP's vision is to motivate the homeless community to take control of their lives in positive ways. Its chief goals are to see every homeless adult (1) living in permanent housing, (2) leading fulfilling lives that include efforts to help others and (3) working in solid, decent paying jobs.
HIP is currently based in the lower level of Universal Missionary Church, an evangelical Christian church that ministers primarily to the poor and homeless.
Though HIP is both a faith-based program and currently based in a church, it reaches out to anyone seeking to better themselves and their situations through their own efforts. Its activities are kept separate from those of the church although its pastor, The Rev. Roberto Silviera, is a supporter and regular participant in its activities. HIP has been operating an informal, non-denominational daytime resource center for homeless adults at this location since January x this year. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the local homeless shelter is closed.