About Community Solutions
Community Solutions is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that helps communities solve the complex problems facing their most vulnerable, hard hit members. We work from eight locations to assist communities throughout the United States and internationally. Our approach has been featured on 60 Minutes, in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and other media, and recognized with the World Habitat Award and the Jane Jacobs Medal, among other honors.
Our history began at our predecessor organization, Common Ground in New York City, which was also founded by our president, Rosanne Haggerty. For 20 years we worked to end homelessness by developing pioneering supportive housing buildings that provided long-term solutions to homelessness.
Yet despite more supportive housing being built and more money flowing into shelters and other relief programs, homelessness continued to increase. In fact, there appeared to be no clear relationship between effort, money, numbers of programs and rates of homelessness. New approaches were clearly needed that would deliver better results for communities, taxpayers and people facing homelessness.
We took on the challenge. Our innovations team began testing new approaches that went beyond buildings. We began to focus on ways that communities could organize themselves more successfully to end homelessness, while simultaneously resolving many of the conditions that make people vulnerable to homelessness in the first place.
As we began working in more and more communities with high rates of poverty and homelessness, we found that many others shared our concern that the social service system itself was broken. People and neighborhoods with the highest needs were typically the last to receive assistance, and passionate staff workers seeking to change this reality were routinely ignored.
We discovered, too, an eagerness to work in new ways, beyond organizational boundaries, to solve the complex problems that no one organization could solve alone - problems like homelessness, that touched on housing, health, mental health, employment and other areas of need. And we discovered the untapped wisdom and capacity of community members to contribute to solving their own problems.
In 2011, convinced by the promise of these new, collective efforts, our team launched Community Solutions as a fully independent spin-off organization dedicated to helping communities around the world develop systems-level solutions to their most complex social problems.
We believe in the untapped capabilities of people and communities to solve seemingly intractable social problems, given effective tools, data, coaching and a supportive connection to other learners and problem solvers.