It seems counterintuitive that a wealthy city like New York could also be the home of tons of homeless people sleeping out on the streets. That is when Rosanne Haggarty decided to make a difference in the world by creating a nonprofit organization called Common Ground. She fixed up the old Times Square Hotel to provide a home for all the homeless and services, such as job training and healthcare. She was able to successfully house many homeless people, but there were still so many out living on the streets who didn’t know about her program. She needed a way to get them inside so she called Becky Kanis, a former special operations commander for help.
They decided to head out onto the streets and find out exactly why the homeless were still living on the streets and not in the hotel. They interviewed the people on the streets and ranked them 0-8, eight being that they were going to die on the streets soon. They called this the vulnerability index, which allowed Kanis and her team to figure out who needed the most help. They would proceed to help these people first and work their way down the index.
Rosanne Haggarty has dedicated her life to making sure these homeless people are off the streets and have a place to live, even though it takes years to get some of them inside. Overall, she has been able to get the level of chronically homeless people in Times Square down to zero and now she is being called up from other cities to start the Common Ground program across the country. She is also working with Kanis to try and address another big issue, which is the lack of affordable housing. Common Ground has made a huge impact in the homeless community by providing homes for over 7,500 people and it still continues to grow.
It seems counterintuitive that having homeless people living on the streets is actually more expensive than trying to get them back on their feet. That is when the psychologist from New York University, Sam Tsemberis, decided to take action and come up with a plan to get the people off of the streets. His plan was to not make the chronically homeless sign any forms or pass any tests to be able to live in a home, considering the fact that most of them were alcoholics, traumatized, or had some sort of brain damage. Instead his plan would offer them a place to live, free counseling, and therapy.
Sam called his group Pathways to Housing, which provided apartments to 242 chronically homeless people with no questions asked as part of a large test. After five years 88 percent of the people still lived in their apartments and the cost for them to live in the home was less than it would have been if they were out on the street. There needed to be someone to plan, build, and manage the buildings or the homeless. That is when Matt Minkevitch and Kerry Bate, who have both worked with the homeless in Utah for many years, decided to get Lloyd Pendleton involved, who was an executive manager for the LDS chruch Welfare Department. He was able to receive donations from the church and grants from the government in which he used to make sure all chronic homeless people were placed in homes. These people now placed in a real home were able to become a whole new person and have a second chance at their lives. Salt Lake City was able to destroy chronic homelessness and hopefully other countries across the world could too with the help of programs like these.
It seems counterintuitive that there are still so many people living out on the streets without homes, especially those with mental disabilities and life threatening diseases. An organization called Common Ground, along with twenty other organizations that focus on homelessness are trying to put an end to it. They have significantly reduced the amount of homeless people in many popular cities such as New York, Denver, and Wichita are some examples. In Los Angeles, the homeless capital, providing homeless people with homes is 40 percent cheaper than it is to leave them out on the streets. The group called Pathways to Housing made this point clear with their approach called “Housing First”which showed that all people really needed was a place to live, rather than being told they had to become drug and alcohol free first.
Common Ground has discovered that among the homeless there are many subgroups such as veterans, mentally ill, above sixty years old, and those who can’t find housing with their pets. People all across the country are coming to help get rid of homelessness forever. This program helped the chronic homeless from so many cities get into homes and to be seen as real human beings, rather than people who didn’t have a life for themselves and who lived on the street.