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Systemic Change role model honored by Ladies of Charity

by | Mar 16, 2015 | International Association of Charities - Ladies of Charity, News, Systemic change

HaggertyIf you are looking for a role model for the Vincentian Family thrust for systemic change the  St. John’s University chapter of the Ladies of Charity USA honored one at their Second Annual Evening of Hope.

Rosanne Haggerty was presented with the Spes Unica Award – the spirit of St. Louise deMarillac in the 21st Century.

In her keynote address which touched us all she traced how she came to realize that it made more sense, both humanly and economically, to end homelessness than to keep expanding services for the homeless. She then progressed to realizing the key to ending homelessness lies not in buildings, but in communities.

While working for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in the 1980’s, Rosanne Haggerty realized that it made more sense, both humanly and economically, to end homelessness than to keep expanding services for the homeless. Haggerty used this novel premise to transform underused spaces in Manhattan, such as the derelict Times Square Hotel, to create homes for people who were not accommodated for in the formal housing system. She founded her first not for profit, Common Ground, which transformed neglected real estate into thriving diverse communities, where primary care, mental health and employment supports were co-located with well-designed, modestly sized apartments. Common Ground was the catalyst for a national movement to build “supportive housing” rather than emergency homeless shelters. Haggerty’s model of neighborhood revitalization, based around supportive housing, has been replicated as far afield as Dallas and Sydney.

Motivated by what was actually happening on the streets, Haggerty’s work extended to address the changing the conditions that cause homelessness. Using data and the actual experiences of the homeless, she sought an “end game” beyond building housing. She initiated the Brownsville Partnership to work with local groups to create a collective framework to prevent residents from becoming homeless and to collectively strengthen the neighborhood of Brownville, Brooklyn.

As you read the above it seems to correlate well with the kind of systemic change Father Robert Maloney called for when he was Superior General.

Rosanne Haggerty is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Solutions. She is an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities. In 1990, Rosanne founded Common Ground Community, a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and research-based practices that end homelessness. To have greater impact, Rosanne and our senior team launched Community Solutions in 2011 to help communities solve the problems that create and sustain homelessness.

As a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Bellagio Center in 2009, Haggerty’s thinking progressed; she found that the key to ending homelessness lies not in buildings, but in communities. Her commitment towards strengthening networks of local organizations to solve problems together, led her to found a new national organization, Community Solutions, in 2011. Community Solutions leads local innovation through collaboration. Among their major initiatives are the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which supports local change agents in transforming local housing placement systems in more in over 230 communities, resulting in over 95,000 long term homeless individuals already moved into homes, and neighborhood transformation efforts in communities of concentrated poverty where residents are at high risk of homelessness.

Ms. Haggerty is a designer and advocate for the creation of diverse, appealing places that anchor communities and establish safer, healthier neighborhoods. She is a recipient of the MacArthur and Ashoka fellowships and is a Hunt Alternatives Fund Prime Mover. Her work has earned the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, the World Habitat Award (twice), and the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. Ms. Haggerty was a Japan Society Public Policy Fellow, an Adelaide (South Australia) Thinker in Residence, and received the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism from the Rockefeller Foundation. She is a graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, and has received honorary degrees from Amherst College, Kings College and the University of St Joseph. She serves on the boards of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Alliance for Veterans, and the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Council. She is also a Life Trustee of Amherst College.

Here is Rosanne’s contact information: e-mail: rhaggerty@cmtysolutions.org

PS She happens to be the niece of Sr. Marilyn Perkins, DC, VP, Mission Integration at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital  Binghamton, NY.  She has also twice been to Paris soaking up the spirit of Vincent and Louise thanks to her involvment with DePaul University.

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