Ruth, the mother of two adult children, has battled challenges throughout her life, including more than a decade of homelessness. She grew up in state care from the age of one until she was emancipated at 16. Over the past 10 years, she has struggled through frigid winters and bounced from place to place as she learned to survive on the streets in Rhode Island, one of four states participating in our Zero: 2016 initiative.
Katie Gordon joined our team this month as Director of the 5,000 Jobs Campaign. The Campaign’s goal is to figure out what it will take to help 5,000 residents of Brownsville, Brooklyn join the workforce by the end of 2018. Our own Jake Maguire caught up with Katie to welcome her, and learn more about her background and plans for the work.
JM: Tell me about your role here at Community Solutions.
Herb Virgo makes it a point to regularly say 'community ownership'. It's a small but important addition to his conversations with residents, organizations and politicians living in or working for the high-poverty community of his native North Hartford, Connecticut. It also serves as an example of his dedication to strengthening ties in an area that is in urgent need of turnaround in physical infrastructure, employment, and health outcomes.
23,439. Thanks to your support, that’s the number of veterans who moved from homelessness to permanent housing this year in the 80 communities where Community Solutions does its work. That number represents changed lives for veterans, but it also represents a savings to taxpayers of more than $30 million in emergency room and shelter costs. We are helping communities prove that it's possible to do the right thing for people in need and be cost effective at the same time.
This week, the Rockford/Boone/Winnebago continuum of care, a region of over 350,000 people in Northern Illinois, became the first community in the country to announce that it has achieved functional zero for veteran homelessness, a major accomplishment in the nationwide fight to end veteran homelessness.
Several other communities have already announced they have ended veteran homelessness. What makes this one is unique?
This week, Encore.org announced the 2015 Purpose Prize fellows, an inspiring group of people, all over the age of 60, who are using their middle and later lives to make a positive impact. We are thrilled to share the news that Linda Kaufman, national movement manager for our Zero: 2016 initiative, has been named one of this year's fellows.
"I am charged with being the movement’s public heart and voice," Linda wrote in her application. "As such, I stir the spirit and will of folks who have thought that ending homelessness is impossible. It is not."
Heart and voice, indeed.
Wal-Mart may be the most recognized retailer in the world. In the U.S. alone, the company has over 4,000 stores, and over 90% of Americans have shopped at one at some point in their lives.
Another thing you may not know about Wal-Mart is that, at any moment in time, the company can account for every single piece of inventory sitting on any of its millions of shelves worldwide.
Community Solutions president Rosanne Haggerty gave the keynote address at the Canadian National Conference on Ending Homelessness this week. In her remarks, she calls for a sense of urgency around homelessness as a public health crisis, and urges advocates not to wait for a perfect plan or comprehensive funding in their efforts to find a solution.
Thank you, Tim, Katherine, and thanks to all of you for the work you are doing to end homelessness across Canada. I feel privileged to be here to share and learn and help each other get better at the urgent work we do.
Ray Graham is a 17-year-old Brownsville, Brooklyn native with boundless ambition. Acting, music, comedy, and visual art are among the list of professional pursuits that Ray confidently keeps in his sights. His creative energies and uncommon ideas have made him an asset to the community engagement and placemaking teams of the Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of Community Solutions, as well as a number of local partner organizations.