Changing the World One Person at a Time



By Dr Mark Reeson, ChPP RPP FAPM CPC PMP

M R Project Solutions Limited
Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom




After a year’s research across the width and breadth of the United Kingdom, a report was issued by the author to the Secretary of State for Housing to identify the ongoing problem for homelessness in the cities of the UK. On the back of this research across all four countries, a solution was developed to be implemented into the Mayoral cities so that local authorities had the opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of individuals currently in temporary accommodation or living rough.

The presentation looks at the areas and methods of research and the interactions with the various bodies of stakeholders, both affected and affecting the current state of affairs and how the solution was developed by looking at the people that can and do make a difference for a better future for so many worse off than others.

Mark will take you on the whole journey, from initiating the idea, through to the roll out of the plan, its acceptance into government and then the extended impact it had as the report reached all points of the globe as further requests for support and assistance came in.

The delegates will be engaged from the first minute to the last on how the change process was applied to stimulate the change, how the various bodies chose their own forms of communication and how they shared the news internally and externally with their own community stakeholders to ensure they made a real difference.


According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) a homeless household is defined as those households without a shelter that would fall within the scope of living quarters.

Further to this, in a survey taken in December 2016 by the UK charity Shelter, there was an estimated 250,000 people living in the conditions that were defined by UN DESA.  The most severe of those calculated in the survey are registered as homeless (roofless), this category includes those people living in the streets without a shelter that would fall within the scope of acceptable living quarters.

The key to understanding the problem is the initial acceptance that it is created through a complex myriad of issues that cannot be simply addressed by changing one thing, but instead is a behavioural change throughout society into how homelessness is perceived by many and the fundamentals causes behind it.  Homelessness, however, does have some major reasons or causes that must be addressed if this endemic plight within the UK is to be addressed correctly.

The major reasons identified through numerous surveys and reports are:

  • Domestic violence
  • Forced evictions
  • Foreclosures on landlords leading to eviction of their tenants
  • Gentrification, the process where a neighborhood becomes popular with wealthier people pricing out the poorer residents
  • Lack of accessible healthcare
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Living with a disability, especially where disability services are non-existent or poorly performing
  • Living with a mental disorder, where mental health services are unavailable or difficult to access
  • Migration, either domestic or foreign to the country, where the number of migrants outstrips the supply of affordable housing
  • Mortgage foreclosures where mortgage holders see the best solution to a loan default is to take and sell the house to pay off the debt
  • Poverty, caused by factors including unemployment and underemployment
  • Prison release and re-entry into society
  • Relationship breakdown, particularly in relation to young people and their parents
  • Short-term contracts in the workplace with low salaries for young people, often leading to an instability of mental and financial wellbeing, which results in problems in getting an apartment or paying rents on a regular basis
  • Social exclusion because of sexual orientation (LGBT etc.) and gender identity
  • Substance abuse or addiction, such as alcoholism or drug addiction

Currently, the UK provides a variety of services to assist homeless people. They often provide food, shelter and clothing and are run by community organisations, charities, churches, or government departments.  Whilst some homeless people are known to have developed a community within themselves, offering various types of support, this does not solve the problem and can in actual fact exasperate the problem by creating a fictious lifestyle that dramatically differs from the reality of ‘street-life’.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 7th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2020.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Reeson, M. (2020). Changing the World One Person at a Time; prepared for the 7th Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium, College Park, Maryland, USA in May 2020; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj96-Aug2020-Reeson-changing-the-world-one-person-at-a-time.pdf



About the Author


United Kingdom



Dr Mark Reeson is a project management specialist with over thirty years’ experience.  A Fellow of the Association for Project Management, he has been involved in many project and programme consultative roles.   Most recently Mark has been working with the Saudi Arabian Municipality of the Eastern Province to change the way that project management is carried out within the region, using his newly recognised SMART Sustainability Modelling for project and business management.

He was appointed a Professor of Project Management at the University of Business and Technology, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was a culmination of his work in training and consulting in the region on matters that relate to project management, supply chain management and sustainability modelling.  Having previously held the position of a specialist Sustainability Management Global Advisor he has moved forward from that position and now regularly supports businesses and projects alike in streamlining their approaches to change and strategic development providing greater longevity in their business planning.

Having started his career in the Royal Air Force, Mark has continued to develop by working and delivering projects in multiple fields of industry ranging from the nuclear environment, into pharmaceuticals, finance and the international sporting fields.

Mark has developed his role within project management through further experience with the nuclear industry and is now the owner of M R Project Solutions Limited where he has fulfilled the role of Project Management Advisor for the last four years covering every continent.  His role is very much client facing and Mark now almost permanently travels the world meeting clients, developing solutions and providing training for their project families either directly through his own organisation or in support of others.  Mark’s main role is the development and the consultation with many organisations on ensuring they choose the right approach or methodology to deliver their projects and then follows this up with the correct bespoke training programmes for how their company wants to share this learning with their staff members.

Mark has changed the approach to learning by the ongoing development of his original ‘Living Learning’ programme by introducing a new learning experience for all taking the classroom format and making it come to life with his popular and original ‘Applied Learning’ simulation training and coaching technique.  He has taken this forward over the past few years to introduce this training style so that project management learning and behaviour has now started to be delivered into the schools and colleges looking to develop the technical, behavioural and contextual skills and attitudes of their students.

As a regular public speaker Mark now shares his experience, knowledge and commitment with those associations wanting to move forward in a more sustainable and successful manner.

Mark’s next aim is to develop this further and to spread project management knowledge and competency to many more organisations worldwide, having already started with successful deliveries globally.

Mark can be contacted at mark.reeson@btinternet.com

To view other works by Mark Reeson, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/mark-reeson/