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Illustration by David Plunkert

The New Practice of Public Problem Solving

Monday, April 22, 2019

The relentless focus on what users need and how they experience services brings people into the process of providing feedback for services where they have not traditionally had a voice. For nonprofit leaders, it creates a place to review their rules, forms, and theories. For example, Marina Nitze, former CTO of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, assembled her colleagues and asked veterans to demonstrate what it’s like to try to access the department’s 62 benefits programs on a computer without high-speed Internet.

How the Right Data Can Help Make Homelessness a Thing of the Past

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Today's technology companies are under pressure from young, idealistic staffers to do good. It's no longer enough to just cut a check and put a company's name on the donor wall at prestigious cultural institutions. At business intelligence software giant Tableau Software, the company has been using its data science powers for good since 2014, when it set up the Tableau Foundation.

3 cities in the U.S. have ended chronic homelessness: Here’s how they did it

Monday, March 11, 2019

In late February, the city of Abilene, Texas, made an announcement: It had ended local veteran homelessness. It was the first community in the state and the ninth in the country to reach that goal, as part of a national program called Built for Zero. Now, through the same program, Abilene is working to end chronic homelessness. While homelessness might often be seen as an intractable problem because of its complexity–or one that costs more to solve than communities can afford–the program is proving that is not the case.

Tapeka Lewis has been homeless on and off for much of her life, but has found success and housing in a condo in Newcastle, where her baby grandson Ky’Shawn and family members can join her. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Who’s falling into homelessness, and how: King County hopes better data leads to better help

Friday, February 22, 2019
Tapeka Lewis has been in and out of homelessness so many times, she’s lost count. But she doesn’t forget the details. 
 
Age 12, escaping abuse at home, sleeping in an Othello neighborhood park at night. Age 19, when she was a new, first-time mother. More than once, when she was a mom of three and couldn’t afford another hike in rent in many a South King County city. 
 
“It’s life,” said Lewis, now 42. “It doesn’t make sense putting a number on life.

For 300 homeless vets in the St. Louis region, one goal: End homelessness by Veterans Day

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
ST. LOUIS • There are 300 homeless veterans in the region, but nine months from now — on Veterans Day — the number without a stable place to live will be zero.
 
That’s the ambitious goal of the St. Louis Area Regional Commission on Homelessness, a group formed about two years ago to figure out how to work together to tackle an issue that has been addressed before, but never in such a comprehensive fashion.
 
“No veteran should come home and be homeless,” said Yusef Scoggin, director of the St. Louis County Department of Human Services.
Network Connectivity across American Communities, New America

Can Networks Supercharge American Ingenuity?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Networks are by no means a panacea for solving intractable problems. We heard many stories of places unable to take advantage of the benefits of network participation due to a lack of local bandwidth and resources, and also the lack of alignment with local organizational priorities. We also heard of “network fatigue” where places were so active on the national stage that their ability to focus and deliver at the local level was diminished.

A City Solves Veteran Homelessness

A City Solves Veteran Homelessness

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
ROCKFORD, Ill.—James Asel had just started a new job and a new life here when a family fight led to a relative tossing all his belongings out in the snow. Several weeks before the holidays last year, he was homeless, along with his fiancée and three children under age 6.
 
After a few weeks in a shelter, Mr. Asel tapped into a multiagency program for veterans like him in this Rust Belt city. It landed the family in a new apartment about a month later.

Globalization 4.0 means harnessing the power of the group

Friday, November 16, 2018
How might we prepare global residents for the future of work? Past waves of globalization offer lessons on what it will take to more effectively weather the transition. As leaders consider how to shape a new architecture for Globalization 4.0 (the theme of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Annual Meeting), we must prioritize the goal of addressing persistent inequalities – particularly those based on race, income, gender and place.

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