The following is the text, as prepared for delivery, of an address by Rosanne Haggerty at New York's Zoning the City conference on November 15, 2011. The conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of New York City's zoning code. In her remarks, Haggerty argued for strong investments in the city's worst-off neighborhoods to improve taxpayer outcomes, increase New York's global competitiveness, and remain on the right side of history.
The following piece appeared on HuffingtonPost.com on Monday November 14, 2011.
Homelessness disproportionately emerges from the poorest neighborhoods in our nation, and that reality begs a question that goes to the heart of ending homelessness: why not go to the places where there is greatest instability and keep vulnerable people from becoming homeless in the first place? That question may seem simple, but -- based on over 20 years' work with the homeless -- it's crucial to the goal of ending, rather than just addressing, homelessness.
From 2003-2007, Becky Kanis led the successful effort that reduced street homelessness in Times Square by 87%. Now, she's taking what she learned to communities across the country as Director of our 100,000 Homes Campaign. In a candid Q+A, she opens up about her values, her military background, and the reason she's passionate about ending homelessness.
Q. What is the 100,000 Homes Campaign?
The following article by 100,000 Homes Campaign Director Becky Kanis was published this month by the Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Homelessness can make people sick. Really sick.
Among over 20,000 homeless people surveyed nationally through our 100,000 Homes Campaign, more than one in five lives with a chronic health condition alongside a substance addiction and a mental health condition. These co-occurring conditions are often exacerbated by the harsh realities of life on the streets. Addressing them requires a coordinated approach to care.
If you saw our 100,000 Homes Campaign on the CBS Evening News last week, you heard a lot about volunteers. And rightly so— in Campaign communities, volunteers wake up at 3am multiple mornings in a row to help their neighbors experiencing homelessness. They deserve as much recognition as we can give them!
Pitkin Avenue buzzed with activity during the recent Summer Plazas community events in Brownsville, Brooklyn. For the past three Sundays, with the street closed to through-traffic, local children happily jumped rope, played tag and hoola-hooped in the middle of the road.
It goes without saying that audacious goals require teamwork—no group or organization can end homelessness alone. At Community Solutions, we’ve learned that people are naturally motivated to pitch in if they feel like their contributions will make an impact. The bigger and more diverse the team, the greater the change we all make together.
In his column for the New York Times last Thursday (“The Unexamined Society”, July 7, 2011), David Brooks assesses new research on the “psychology of scarcity.” In times of plenty, he argues, people adopt problem-solving approaches aimed at producing long-term benefits. Faced with scarcity, however, the brain can become so preoccupied with immediate demands that it struggles to engage with the complex factors involved in long-term planning.