Sometimes people have a disagreement that they are unable to resolve on their own. In such cases they can turn to mediation for help. Mediators lead a conversation to help them resolve the disagreement. But what types of disputes are mediated?
Over the past year, the volunteers at CMM helped people resolve thirteen different types of disputes. One example is landlord/tenant disputes. If tenants have difficulty paying their rent they may face eviction by their landlord. We have worked with landlords and tenants in such situations and helped them talk together and share their concerns with each other. Often times, this leads to an agreement which is mutually beneficial. Other examples include neighborhood disputes over noise and pets, workplace disputes between co-workers, disputes among family members about what to do with lake property they inherited, and disputes between businesses and consumers.
Mediation is used in countries all over the world and recently we discovered a unique use of mediation in Scotland. They have developed a program to mediate with homeless youth and their families. Although there can be many causes of youth homelessness, one cause is a breakdown of family relationships. Repairing those relationships is one way that mediation could help. The mediation brings together the young person and his/her parents or family members and they talk about the situation that led to the youth being homeless and what should happen in the future.The goals are to re-establish relationships with the family and to discuss the best housing option for the young person. This does not replace other processes such as an investigation but rather complements that work. And it is not a panacea but there have been some success stories and the program is growing. You can read more about it at the links below.
We believe this is a creative and effective use of mediation. Do you have ideas for other ways that mediation can be used in Minnesota? If so, let us know!