The 100,000 Homes Campaign
A National Movement to House America's Most Vulnerable Homeless People
When 100,000 Homes Campaign volunteers met Elaine, she had been sleeping on the streets of Denver for 10 years. She used to hide under cardboard boxes to avoid the threat of violence. One night, while she slept, an angry passerby kicked her in the face. With the help of Campaign partner Denver's Road Home, Elaine and her dog, Stinker, moved into an apartment. Today, she can lock her doors and finally sleep in peace.
There are “Elaines” in every city, and the 100,000 Homes Campaign is Community Solutions’ effort to bring them inside for good. Across the country, we are helping Campaign communities apply the lessons we have learned about solving homelessness to save lives and conserve public dollars. We’ve given ourselves three years to house 100,000 people. And best of all, it’s working!
A Process that Works, Transformation that Lasts
The Campaign is about building sustainable change, which is why Community Solutions takes a “teach a man to fish” approach. We start by working with local leaders to organize a broad, cross-sector team. Next, we teach team members to identify the most vulnerable people on their streets and to streamline the process for moving them into housing.
Our key tool is the Vulnerability Index survey, which helps volunteers gather information about their local homeless population. The Vulnerability Index puts names and faces to a very real crisis by helping communities learn who is at highest risk of dying on their streets. “If you identify the toughest cases and help them first,” explains Campaign Director Becky Kanis, “you end up developing the systems you need to help everyone else.”
Kanis should know: In 2003, she launched Street to Home, a three-year pilot program that virtually ended street homelessness in Times Square. Today, she and her teammates are using the same methods with more than 80 U.S. communities to tackle homelessness nationwide.
A National Network for Change
The Campaign provides tools, leadership and experience to help communities innovate new, locally specific solutions. So far, we’ve seen inspiring results. New York City and Washington, D.C. have already housed over 1,000 people each, and smaller cities like Omaha and Albuquerque are achieving success with impressive speed. These communities have also become part of our growing national network where they can share their challenges and celebrate their successes with others. By connecting cities across the country, we’re building a national movement to overcome street homelessness quickly, once and for all.