Builders Workshops #18 and 19: Cooperating on issues of housing and homelessness



This post is a bit overdue, simply because there’s so much exciting yet time-consuming work to do on the ground that I’m having a hard time getting to the reporting-about-it part.

So… the last two Builders’ Workshops:

BW #18 was about project facilitation, and we just kept it low-key, only promoting it to people who have expressed interest in using Game_Boardtimebanking to help create and facilitate projects. We played our Build a Better World Board Game to see if it would be helpful in conceiving of how to connect people, assets and needs in order to work toward a common goal, and also to see how we can improve the game.

Chris Daly, who is starting a Front Yard Garden project here (yeehaw! we’ve wanted that for a long time), Garrett Lee who’s working on a lot of homelessness issues in a variety of ways, including as DCTB board member and founder of his own organization WHY, Chris Petit, MAN Co-Coordinator, Kristin Sage, Wellness + Transportation Coordinator, and I played the game and talked about it after.

It’s easy to see ways to improve upon this game and we identified some more at our session, but it’ll be awhile before we have capacity to focus on that. So if you want to check it out and improve it yourself, have at it! Just share it back with us please. All the files are here.

We did learn about each other, gain some perspectives on assets and needs, work through some problem-solving questions. And some of the changes we want to make are: add a little more complexity or depth to some of the activities that we over-simplified in earlier revisions, revise the formatting to make it easy on the print shop, make some different activities, roles, or barriers, adapt it to different types of circumstances, make clearer instructions, create different sets of instructions for different purposes, etc. In case you feel inspired to do a little improving, or pass it on to someone who might… 🙂

Builders Workshop #19 was part II of Cooperating to better address housing and homelessness issues (I guess we never did give it a proper catchy title) and it was really rich.

We had a good variety of participants, some new and some repeat customers photo 1 from Part I. Wonderful variety of viewpoints, with people from Briarpatch Youth Services, Operation Welcome Home, Occupy Madison/Tiny Homes, Freedom Inc., Dane County Department of Human Services, Homeless Services Consortium, WHY, Road Home, 100 State, 100 Friends of the State Street Family, Front Yard Gardens, Homeless Services, Dane County TimeBank (as usual), and some people currently or recently experiencing homelessness.

We began by recapping the ideas that surfaced at Part I. Then we accepted new ideas, and mapped assets and needs for carrying them out – many of which overlapped among the action priorities.

These action step ideas are:

  1. Homelessness Peer Court. Madison Judge Dan Koval is working with DCTB, YWCA, Freedom Inc, Madison Area Urban Ministry, Bethel Lutheran Church and many others to create a pilot project in which people who have accrued a lot of municipal ordinance violation tickets can pay them off through carrying out agreements made in peer restorative justice circles. These agreements can include performing community service (ideally tailored to the person’s interests or needs) and/or engaging in programs that can alleviate root causes of the person’s homelessness (AODA support, mental health support, informal peer support, skill-building, etc). Ron and Marcus offered to participate in peer restorative justice circles.
  2. Street clean-up teams. With some supervision coordination, we could create street clean-up teams of people who would be paid timebank hours for street clean-up and could use the hours for transportation help, to pay off municipal ordinance tickets, obtain other timebank services. Ron of Briarpatch Youth Services offered this idea.
  3. Front Yard Gardens. Christopher Daly is spearheading a project to organize a neighborhood to plant and harvest gardens in unused yard space, in a collaborative way. There are many ways we can engage people with and without homes in this project.
  4. Transportation Team for State St. area and homelessness services. Transportation needs are high when you don’t have a place to live, with needed services often scattered around the county, overall lack of public transportation and cost of public transportation all serving as barriers. We aim to create some coordinated transportation to help people get to their destinations. People will earn timebank hours to drive and we can coordinate a pool of qualified, careful drivers. William and Eric offered to help coordinate or find coordinating capacity.

Rather than describe the asset and need mapping we did I’ll just include a photo of the whiteboard where we did it. You can see how we wrote the photo 3action item’s number by the various assets and needs, since many tended to overlap.

We’ll follow up with each project on its own until people next feel a need to convene everyone. Next builders’ workshop will move on to…

Builders Workshop #20: MANs in Madison. What’s the potential?

Date and Time 3rd week of November, TBD (scheduling poll here – don’t be shy about filling it in if you want to attend and this is the first you’ve heard of it – you’re very welcome)

This will be an in-depth discussion of Mutual Aid Networks, geared toward leaders of projects that may be ripe to become mutual aid networks here in town. I’ll be reporting back from my upcoming trip to Mallorca, Spain and the UK, where I’ll learn a lot more about cooperative banking/savings pools, will connect with some new partners in building MAN infrastructure, and spend time with more MAN potential pilot sites and members. Very exciting!

More to come soon….

Thanks for reading,


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