Edward Scher and Lawrence SusskindSix-person facilitated integrative negotiation among advocates for homeless people, community and business leaders, and a foundation regarding the allocation of a grant to alleviate local homelessness problems
Recent publicity in a prominent national newspaper about the town of Niceville’s expanding homeless population, has caused the Ledbetter Foundation to address the issue of homelessness with a one-time grant of $500,000. The simulation explores the role a facilitator can play in this type of community problem-solving effort. The stakeholders represent five different attitudes towards homelessness which are sometimes contrary, yet lend themselves to coalition building. It is up to the foundation representative to reconcile the parties’ philosophical differences to develop a satisfactory “package”.
- It is important to distinguish stated positions from underlying interests. In order to reach a successful conclusion each party must prioritize its desired outcomes and be willing to forgo some to achieve others.
- The facilitator must be able to keep the discussion focused on the “issues” and not allow disagreements among the parties to bog down the group.
- The group should take advantage of private discussions or caucuses. Though no two groups will agree on everything, coalition building will be helpful in building consensus.
- All interests should be fully represented in the discussions for as long as possible; however, the game requires only four of the five players (excluding the foundation representative) to reach agreement. It is up to the stakeholder to decide how flexible they will be in light of the fact that they run the risk of being excluded. The group as a whole must determine the advantages and disadvantages of excluding a stakeholder.
For all parties:
- General instructions
- Background information on relevant stakeholders present at the meeting
- Suggested proposals for grant money
- Newspaper article on homelessness in Niceville
- Worksheet for negotiation preparation
- Homeless shelter operator
- Director of the Governor’s Task Force on Homelessness
- Representative from the Homeless Union
- Chair of the Niceville Homeowners Association
- Chair of the Community Service League
- All of the above
- Notes on logistics, debrief questions and bibliography for further reading.
Community foundation; facilitation; philanthropy; social service; homelessness; multiparty negotiation, consensus building
Blueville Health Foundation; Wintertime in Winterville; Franklin Family Foundation; Westbrook Regional School District
Homelessness in Niceville Attributes
- Time required:
- 2-3 hours
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
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