Friday, February 06, 2009

the friday philanthropist

this week i return to my first love: homelessness.

nyc-based common ground, recently named one of the "top 45 social entrepreneurs who are changing the world" by fast company magazine, has a simple mission: to end homelessness.

sorry folks. we've tried that.

what fresh idea does common ground bring to the picture?
they don't offer shelters. they offer homes. common ground builds and operates "a range of housing options for homeless and low-income individuals and families."

too good to be true, right?
wrong. common ground's "street to home" program reduced homelessness in the 20-block neighborhood of times square by 87%.

how does it work?
participants contribute 30% of their income, whatever that is, toward rent. common ground tenants stay for an average of 5 years. management boasts a low eviction rate of 0.9%.

there's more?
common ground recently expanded their programming to include environmentally sustainable building materials and practices.

crying yet?
in december 2007, npr featured a sister-operation, project 50, near la's skid row. earlier this week, la daily news reported: "today, 'wild, wild west' - one of the 50 most chronically homeless people on skid row - has been clean and sober for a year, has a home and is 'happy and doing well.'

parting words?
"any time you see a homeless person in distress, please call 311. the operator will contact common ground or one of our partners."

1 comment:

Jordan and Jessie said...

Thanks for sharing that organization with us. It is always encouraging to hear success stories, especially in that magnitude.

Today in church we had a "Brother to Brother Fellowship" and the topic was "How do we get our young black men off the streets and out of trouble.". Recently, the church had three of their youth go to prison. It seems some people seem dedicated to this new ministry. It should be fun.

Always good to read your stories. ;). Such fun writing.