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Taking Steps Together to Tackle Homelessness

Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, stories, ideas, and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. In this edition, we're focusing on great initiatives taking place to tackle homelessness. We hope you enjoy reading….

Related: We've curated some of the most important facts about homelessness to help you understand the scale of the problem and provoke action and a guide to becoming a homeless shelter volunteer.

Refettorio Gastromotiva is cooking up something special

Approximately one-third of food produced for human consumption each year is lost or wasted. That’s an extraordinary stat, isn’t it - so we love any initiative looking to challenge it. One such company is Refettorio Gastromotiva, a swanky Rio de Janeiro restaurant for homeless people. Opened in August 2016, food is donated by companies that would have otherwise thrown it out.

Waste is turned into delicious food cooked by professional chefs, and feedback has been really heartfelt: “they don’t just socialize the homeless; they humanize us.” We think Hertz, co-founder of the restaurant, is doing something really special here. If you’re keen to support this no-food waste concept but aren’t sure where to start, perhaps consider keeping a diary of what food you’re throwing during a typical week because it could be more than you realize….

Identifying your skills for social good

hairdressing homeless

Sometimes a great idea can come along when you least expect it. This was true for London-based hairdresser Joshua Coombes, who offered a local homeless man a haircut. It’s such a simple gesture, but it was a life-changing moment for Joshua, who has since traveled the world cutting homeless people’s hair.  

Inspired? Have a think about what your skills are, and whether you can share or offer them to those who need them the most. It might be something big, or something really small, but be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be making a difference to someone. Check out the hashtag #dosomethingfornothing for some inspirational stories!

The story about the 40-pound cabbage feeding the homeless

The story about the 40 pound cabbage feeding the homeless

We just love this company instigated by a young girl wanting to feed the homeless. There’s a hint of magic about this story - back in 2008, Katie was just nine when she managed to grow a 40-pound cabbage.

She donated it to the local soup kitchen, where it helped to feed 265 people. Based in South Carolina, Katie’s Krops now has 100 gardens across the country. Such a straightforward concept when you think about it, but one that benefits many.

Related: 25 Homeless Quotes to Inspire our thoughts and actions.

Getting surplus food to the homeless and those less fortunate

In their own words, City Harvest London is on a mission, a mission to get surplus food to those who really need it. Collecting food from restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels, and caterers, City Harvest London delivers it straight to organizations feeding the homeless. We know that worldwide we are wasting too much food, and we know that there are many, many people going without, so it’s very reassuring to see those trying to tackle this issue.

Don’t be afraid to ask your local restaurants what they do with their food waste, it might just encourage a change in their approach.

Initiatives from billionBricks are making a real impact

billionBricks are working on innovative, scalable, and sustainable projects to tackle the homeless in a completely unique way. They have a whole host of initiatives, including Urban Crossover, a research hub that conducts studies to understand the gap between income and housing affordability, and Smile Village, a successful construction scheme within the slums of Cambodia. There’s also the opportunity to track the specific impact being made.

billionBricks envisage a world where no one is homeless, and these exciting initiatives feel like a great step in the right direction.

Ted Talk: “There is a better way”

ted talk homeless

We really recommend you give this Ted Talk by the Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry from last year a listen. A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety explores the concept that sometimes, (although, of course, not always), a solution can be simple, rather than over-complicated.

Berry invites towns to consider jobs or projects that need doing in local areas along with the notion that many homeless people, when asked, would be willing to do a day's work if the opportunity arose. A shift in attitude is vital in supporting an initiative like this, and trust within the community will also be key. A new bill is currently being considered to roll this out across other cities, so watch this space.

Sam produces our regular #TRVSTLOVES where she seeks out inspiration, news, and ideas from across the globe that both highlight and celebrate how actions can make for social and environmental change.

Sam is passionate about seeking out small businesses that are implementing remarkable and exciting projects to tackle the climate crisis; she enjoys exploring how their innovation will help change the future of our world.
A degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton has given Sam the research expertise to share and contextualize stories around innovative projects, legislation, and changemakers.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash
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