Homelessness

Conversation Guide

Homelessness in America is a problem that reminds us daily of our failure to be our best. How do we explain to children the presence of hungry, cold, neglected and often mentally ill men women and children on our streets in the midst of plenty? If we gather neighbors, business owners, health care workers, police, government officials, homeless people and their families in conversation might we build trust and begin to explore opportunities to do better? Conversations are admittedly only a starting point, but isn’t it time to start?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Homelessness?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • What has been your personal response to homeless people whom you’ve seen? Who do you think makes up the homeless population?
  • What do you think is contributing to homelessness right now?
  • What do you expect from your city, county, state or federal government with regard to homelessness?
  • What are your hopes regarding homelessness in the future?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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Thank You!

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