WRPA 2018 Annual Conference and Tradeshow

"What if Parks Were the Last Place on Earth?"


Return to Conference Schedule

Date/Time: Thursday, May 3 | 10:15 - 11:30AM

Speaker: Sarah Steilen, Facing Homelessness

Category: Planning & Design

Description: Parks are unique in that they are public spaces that serve everyone in a community; but what does that look like when a community has a variety of sometimes competing priorities and values? This session looks at parks from the perspective of those who experience homelessness in our community and how we can create a safe space that serves everyone who uses this public space. By coming close to the lives of those who live homeless in our community we can begin to understand the challenges they face and have deeper compassion for their struggle to survive. It is this understanding and compassion that allow us to work together to address the complexity of homelessness in public spaces through addressing the needs of those living homeless themselves.

Learning Objectives:

  • We will gain a stronger understanding of the homeless community

  • As Parks and Recreation professionals we will learn how to better serve those who are homeless in our parks

  • We will learn how to navigate unknown situations and prevent escalation 

  • How to make and advocate for inclusive public space for all

Speaker: As Community Director at a grassroots non-profit with International reach I am deeply passionate about educating and empowering people to create healthy, beautiful, and inclusive communities for all. Throughout my life, many of the moments and experiences that have shaped me the most are those spent with people living on the fringes of society, outside the norm. I have traveled the world and found the happiest communities to be the ones that are most inclusive. In my current role I work to bridge the gap between those who live sheltered and unsheltered and believe we will only begin to see our communities truly thrive when everyone has a place within it.

Return to Conference Schedule