Rosanne Haggerty

Community Solutions

Through the 100,000 Homes Campaign, Community Solutions created a movement that helped 186 US cities move over 100,000 medically vulnerable and chronically homeless Americans into permanent housing.

Focus: Urban development, homelessness & housing
Geographic Area of Impact: North America
Model: Hybrid non-profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 105,000+ (2014)
Annual Budget: USD $7.3 million (2014)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 32% (2014)

The Social Problem
By 2014 counts, there are just under 600,000 homeless people in the US on any given night, but for about 84,000 of them homelessness has become a chronic condition. In 2010, few municipal officials understood how to turn good intentions into effective action, lacking the tools to identify and prioritise the most vulnerable homeless people, use data to track performance over time, and coordinate federal, state, and local resources. As a result, the most vulnerable often went unnoticed and unserved while limited housing was typically allocated to those who were most adept at filling out government forms.

Innovation and Activities
The 100,000 Homes Campaign was a national learning and action network, based in grassroots organizing, which leveraged a collaborative approach to system-change. It grew out of the shared experience of Rosanne Haggerty and Becky Kanis Margiotta in working to solve homelessness in New York. Between July 2010 and July 2014, Community Solutions worked with municipal officials, homelessness NGOs, and federal agencies to assist 186 communities in moving more than 105,000 homeless people, including veterans and people living with mental illness, into permanent housing with accompanying supportive services.

These astounding results are based on a methodology that Haggerty and Margiotta pioneered in the mid-2000s. Community Solutions open sourced this methodology, guiding its implementation and improvement in each community that joined the Campaign. The flexible methodology includes several core strategies: 1) volunteers canvass neighbourhoods to identify every homeless person on their streets using an assessment tool grounded in evidence; 2) local teams set ambitious, monthly housing placement targets to put their communities on track to end homelessness; 3) local teams learn from peers and coaches to better access and coordinate existing resources, which are often fragmented, unconnected, and sometimes even territorial.

Based on the success of the Campaign, Community Solutions recently launched Zero: 2016 to help 71 US communities end chronic and veteran homelessness outright by December 2016. Their methodology is also being adopted in Canada, Australia and Europe.

The Entrepreneur
Rosanne Haggerty is a globally recognized leader in housing and human services innovation. After volunteering at a youth homeless shelter in the 1980s, she founded Common Ground, which she grew into one of the nation’s largest builders and operators of housing for homeless people. She is an Ashoka Senior Fellow and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. In 2011 she co-founded Community Solutions with Becky Kanis Margiotta to scale the ideas she developed at Common Ground nationwide.