The MacArthur Foundation has awarded Community Solutions, a New York-based nonprofit, a five-year $100 million grant to stop homelessness.
The prize is part of the foundation’s 100&Change competition, which seeks to fund projects that promise “real and measurable progress” in solving significant global issues.
“We are so enormously grateful,” said Rosanne Haggerty, the organization’s president and chief executive officer. “In a year that we have all experienced the fragility of life, our interdependence, and the call for racial equity, ending homelessness is truly an idea whose time has come.”
Community Solutions announced it plans to use the $100 million grant to end homelessness in 75 cities and counties across the U.S. within the next five years.
The program, which already ended chronic and veteran homelessness in 15 U.S. communities, uses real-time data to help local officials understand the shifting dynamics of homelessness and discover possible solutions.
Other finalists for the competition were:
- National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, designed to safeguard the health of the world’s oceans;
- the World Mosquito Program, which seeks to protect communities from mosquito-born disease using bacteria called Wolbachia;
- Project ECHO, which connects health-care providers in struggling communities with national and regional specialists to share their knowledge and ensure equitable treatment;
- the Clinton Health Access Initiative & Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, which helps ensure hospitals around the world are equipped to deliver oxygen to their patients; and
- Report for America, which supports local journalism by placing young reporters in local newsrooms to report on issues that are not often covered in the media.
In the months leading up to Wednesday’s announcement, the finalists worked with expert teams from the MacArthur Foundation to help strengthen their final proposals.
Community Solutions developed a framework to help design homeless response systems that are racially equitable and can help eliminate the disproportionate effects of homelessness on Black and Native communities.
Haggerty said during the event that 2021 is a particularly critical time for addressing homelessness because the U.S. is currently confronting systemic racism while the COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of Americans to become financially unstable.
National Geographic reported last spring that people experiencing from homelessness are more vulnerable to the coronavirus infection than those who are not experiencing homelessness.
“This is not a problem of broken people, but broken systems,” Haggerty said.
The MacArthur Foundation says it is committed to helping the finalist organizations secure funding for their proposals as well.
Haggerty said that the $100 million prize money means Community Solutions will now be able to execute ideas she has dreamed about for years but did not have the resources to enact. “That constraint has been lifted now, and it’s so thrilling.”