Our Unique Plan to Eliminate Involuntary Homelessness
Read time: 5 minutes
The why behind the what
I never wanted to create a clothing brand to make a quick buck (which would be a terrible way to make fast money). I created Son of Man Skate to make a real and tangible difference in our world.
A key part of my Christian faith is loving God and loving people. It’s for this reason that it breaks my heart to see the pure volume of homeless in Wellington and other cities around the world.
According to a University of Otago study, around 41,200 (around 1% of our population) people are living in cars, garages, and emergency/ temporary shelters. This is obviously less than ideal however, my first priority is on those who currently do not have any habitable accommodation and are living on the streets. It is hard to measure this number but the same study estimates that the number is around 4,200. The last study by the United Nations trying to estimate global homelessness around the globe took place in 2005 and estimated that there are around 100 million homeless worldwide.
Before the post continues, I just wanted to mention that this is not a political post about policies that we should and shouldn’t be implementing, instead, it's our plan on how we can make a difference as an individual organisation.
Primary prevention can be difficult for a private business like us as most of the solutions involve a change in policy but we believe we can make more of a difference in secondary prevention which refers to helping those in immediate danger of homelessness and those that have very recently become homeless. Secondary prevention will still be difficult and is thus a more long term goal for us.
Our goal to help prevent homelessness in the first place by creating a platform where at-risk individuals can register for a few options. Some of these options include emergency financial support to get through the next rent payment or addiction and domestic abuse support. This is obviously a more long term goal as we would need to make sure that this is done properly and done with sufficient resources that we currently do not have. Later on in this article, I will talk about our plan to get people off the streets and into homes, however, if we can stop this from happening in the first place, I believe it could lead to a more secure and long term future for those at risk.
Our goal is to ensure that no individual or family has to spend a night on the street. And sometimes we do not have the financial ability to accept any more employees. It is in these situations that I would like to eventually offer an environment that has many rooms and beds for individuals and families to stay temporarily while they get free access to services like financial planning and any other mental support they need to get their family back on track as soon as possible.
Housing, Accommodation, and support
This is the key part of our strategy that I believe both makes us unique and will make a massive difference in people's lives. My goal for the Future of Son of Man Skate is to ensure that the majority of our workforce is made up of people from the streets.
How can people get off the streets and into their own homes while living off a few dollars per day from begging? This is why I really want to hire people who are homeless and offer them temporary housing while we not only offer them a living wage but also sitting down with them and plan their finances with the hope of them moving into their own place with enough income to cover the necessities like rent, food, and utilities with enough left over to save towards their future.
Giving the homeless the income to afford their own place to stay and save for their future will be a huge step in the right direction and put many lives back on track, however, for some, this will not fix the reason for how they became homeless in the first place. For this reason, I want to offer all of our staff free access to any services they need including medical and rehab services to hopefully help improve any mental issues and addictions that may be holding them back.
I understand that this is a massive dream of mine but I believe we can make a real and tangible difference in the lives of some of our most venerable people.
Another part of our plan is putting people before profit. For example, creating clothing in bulk can be very cheap overseas, however, our plan is to be in a position where we produce all our clothing in-house which will lead to more job opportunities for those who really need them. Also by not outsourcing systems like fulfilment and packing we will be able to offer even more jobs.
Our goal is to be able to handle the entire production and fulfilment of our products in house. This can mean that the production of our products can be more expensive than if we were to outsource this to other companies but we believe the more jobs we have available, the more of a difference we can make.
How You Can Help
We are still a relatively new brand and all of the above is just a plan that will likely take a long time to come in to fruition. My personal goal is to have Son of Man Skate profitable by the end of June this year.
In the meantime, we are not registered to collect donations for ourselves or on behalf of any other charity. In the meantime, if you would like to join with us on this journey, you can simply make a purchase on our site or we would also appreciate any donations made to your local homeless shelter/ charity. Another way you could help is simply by sharing this article with your friends and family. It is my hope that this post will inspire others to think more about those who are sleeping rough every night and it will inspire them to join us in taking action.
If you would like to keep up with how our journey is going feel free to join our email list or follow us on Instagram @sonofmanskate