PACS news/April 14, 2021

Community Solutions wins MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition for a 100 million USD grant

GIIL director Christian Seelos’ traces the history of Community Solution’s work and provides a basis for exploring the future of homelessness activism

Christian Seelos

Community Solutions, an organization working to measurably end homelessness throughout U.S. communities, received a $100 million dollar grant from the MacArthur Foundation as a winner of the 100&Change competition. The group, founded in 2011 by veteran homelessness activist Rosanne Haggerty, uses a data-driven methodology to implement their racially equitable homeless response system, the “Built for Zero” community network. They consistently incorporate new research to build off the current political and cultural moment in the United States.

At Haggerty’s request and in support of Community Solution’s future strategy, Stanford PACS Global Innovation for Impact Lab Codirector Christian Seelos conducted a comprehensive review of homelessness activism literature, “Homelessness: A System Perspective,” with Community Solutions as the central case study.  Seelos’s research situates the “Built for Zero” initiative within a larger, 50-year history of homelessness thought, tracking a transformation from judging homelessness as an individualistic problem to regarding it as a systemic societal issue. Driven by a focus on comprehensible numeric goals, Community Solutions demonstrates a new paradigm in homelessness activism, one embracing the system perspective of addressing the whole of a problem. The research case study, which analyzes Community Solution’s decision, actions, and outcomes, will serve as an objective and factual basis for further activism, now with the support of the MacArthur Foundation.