How Homelessness is Solvable with a Collective Approach


Complex issues like homelessness can feel unsolvable or intractable, but that does not have to be the case. Through a commitment to a collective approach and strategies, communities can end homelessness.

We take a deep dive into this collective approach required to solve homelessness with Community Solutions, a nonprofit that is dedicated to ending homelessness. As part of their mission, Community Solutions leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 100 cities and counties that are applying this approach so that homelessness can be rare or brief in their regions.

Sharing about what they learned from supporting the Built for Zero network, we talk with Community Solutions’ president Rosanne Haggerty. She details the strategies that have contributed to progress, the mindset changes that happen when you realize even the hardest problems can have a solution, and what it means when a community says, “Enough is enough. Let’s solve this.”

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Please find a transcript of this talk further down this page.

Resources and Footnotes

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The Intro music, entitled “Running,” was composed by Rafael Krux, and can be found here and is licensed under CC: By 4.0.

The outro music, entitled “Deliberate Thought,” was composed by Kevin Macleod. Licensed under CC: By.

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Collective Impact Forum podcast, here to share resources to support social change makers working on cross-sector collaboration.

The Collective Impact Forum is a nonprofit field-building initiative that is co-hosted in partnership by the nonprofit consulting firm FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions.

In this episode, we’re exploring how communities can use a collective approach to solve extremely complex issues like homelessness.

To explore this topic, we talk with Rosanne Haggerty, who is president of Community Solutions, a nonprofit that is dedicated to ending homelessness. As part of their mission, Community Solutions leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 100 cities and counties that are applying a collective approach so that homelessness can be rare or brief in their regions.

Rosanne shares what they have learned from supporting the Bult for Zero network to end homelessness across these communities. She details the strategies that have contributed to progress, the mindset changes that happen when you realize even the hardest problems can have a solution, and what it means when a community says, “Enough is enough. Let’s solve this.”

Moderating this discussion is my Forum colleague Cindy Santos, who is Senior Associate at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. Let’s tune in.

Cindy Santos: Rosanne, thank you so much for being with us here today. It’s really exciting to talk about you and talk about your work with Community Solutions, particularly around community collaboration.

We want to start by just getting to know you. Tell us a little bit more about you and how you came to work at Community Solutions.

Rosanne Haggerty: Cindy, thank you so much for inviting us to be part of this. I have been working on this issue my entire adult life. I’ll just start by saying I feel more optimistic that we are on the right path and that we have really found the set of insights that demonstrate that homelessness is solvable.

The specific journey to Community Solutions began earlier on. I had started a not-for-profit specifically to build housing for the homeless, permanent supportive housing. We ran great programs, life changing for the people who happened to be able to move in, but we saw that homelessness itself was increasing all around us. This was in New York back in, I think, it was like 2003 that we kind of did this soul searching, a group of us that were working together around how successful actually are we if the problem that we’re working on is getting worse. What is our claim to being successful? It was at that moment, turning to people experiencing homelessness and saying, “What are we getting wrong?” And learning that it was the fragmentation of effort.

Just to give you an illustration, we were working in New York City at that time. I think there were 17 different organizations that had outreach contracts for one section of Manhattan, and yet it wasn’t anybody’s job to coordinate, to actually move people into housing, but to provide sort of emergency assistance as needed. So we gradually came to learn from people who were stuck on the street that the well-meaning providers, because we weren’t aligned, we didn’t have any kind of shared accountability structure, that that was the problem.

That was the genesis of what became Community Solutions, and we just passed our 12th anniversary, but we launched out of our earlier organization in order to get at this question of what is the collaborative structure and the accountability structure that needs to be in place for a community actually to move towards solving this problem?

We are just honored, to say that least, to be working now with more than 100 communities across the country, of every shape and size, who have seen that this is possible, and that this learning network and this rigorous data-driven approach to holding a whole community team together toward a common aim has been a big transformational journey from program to how we make the whole add up to what we all want which is fewer people experiencing homelessness.

Cindy Santos: Continuing on that theme of optimism, I think one among other things that is really compelling about the work of Community Solutions is your radical belief, that radical belief that homelessness is solvable. Can you share a little bit more about Community Solutions and how you work towards really operationalizing that belief?

Rosanne Haggerty: Absolutely. This is where, because we’re so implementation focused, it really is, you very quickly move to not trying persuade people that this is a solvable problem, but showing how to solve it.

First of all, a community, all the critical actors around homelessness, and that’s the coalition of not-for-profits and major city mayor, county, the VA, the housing authorities, those groups in particular, they need to be forming a single team. So what we help to do is get those critical actors who all have a piece of the money, the resources, the rules, the information, get them to actually align behind the single aim of measurably reducing homelessness, to a measure of what does homelessness overall being rare, being quickly flagged, and being quickly resolved look like? We call that functional zero. We get everybody, frankly, facilitated around that shared aim.

The second, we work with group of executives who have to empower the group, but also, line staff to begin working as a team across agencies. What are the meeting habits? What’s the information that groups need? What are the norms? How do we create the backbone structure to operationalize this collaborative approach? There has to be at least one person who’s designated to be the convener of the group and the coordinator. It’s interesting how often, as obvious as that it, how often that role has never been resourced. So we help get that whole collaborative structure set up, and sometimes help to like hire that person, provide the job description, help someone learn their way into that role and how to convene the local team.

One of the first projects of that local team is to get to a shared and accurate and real-time understanding of what are the dimensions of this issue anyway. For the longest time, Cindy, folks would kind of look at that point in time estimate that’s done every January and say that’s our number but that’s a snapshot in a day, so what we realized is communities need to be able to do and often need support in putting the data platform and the training and the new collaborative habits in place, is to actually account for everyone experiencing homelessness, current to at least that month and to be able to pull apart the information that they have on what’s happening on the ground so that you can see in close to real time who’s coming into homelessness for the first time, because that’s one problem, like how do we learn to prevent it, and who else needs to be engaged upstream.

We help communities see who has returned to homelessness after being assisted, because that’s a different type of problem, like what didn’t go right in the apartment match or with the support provided. Then we help communities look at their outflow, how do they accelerate their housing placements and how to keep track of folks who maybe have touched the system but have moved on and to account for the homelessness as a dynamic stock and flow problem, not as this static number that communities are always just chasing their tail. They never really knew how many people and what their circumstances were and the variety of different ways of experiencing homelessness, or those individuals’ or families’ assets and aspirations, and how to support folks in activating their own agency to problem solve.

All of this becomes possible if you don’t see this as one big shapeless issue, but as a series of knowable housing crises that actually point to a range of different solutions if you have that information. With that by-name, real-time data, we then train communities in applying some of the really important collaborative problem-solving skills that have been developed and used in other sectors that are fairly new to the world of homelessness and some of the other issues that really require us to be working in teams not in our own zone.

In particular, we training communities in quality improvement. This is a practice, started in agriculture, moved to manufacturing, and many other industries. We learned how to apply a quality improvement to homelessness through our long-term collaboration with the Institute for Health Care Improvement, which has brought this practice into reducing medical errors. This is how you get a whole community team to look at their data and see what the most significant opportunities might be to drive overall reductions, and to formulate a set of questions to test. So it kind of moves everybody past ideological debates into like, how do we get to work, learning, improving, and just keep building, building, building toward that measure of solvability.

And then, two other things I’ll mention are also really key to what we’ve learned and how communities are succeeding, and that is to try to free up resources to be more flexible. I think all of us in the human services world have banged our heads against the wall around why are we showing up offering just what we have if it’s not what people need? Even some percentage of resources that can be used more flexibly to help communities respond quickly to outlier situations or some ridiculous block in the road of getting an individual or family housed just because there isn’t a program for that. Trying to loosen the grip of overprogrammed resources is part of what we help communities to work on.

And then lastly, we have really seen the power of having this happen in the context of a larger learning network. Our 105 Built for Zero communities come together at least once annually, the whole teams, to learn from each other to kind of skill up and plan their next phase of work and meet with their coaches from our Community Solutions team. We have data coaches and quality improvement coaches. This process of collective learning it’s also reinforced by a number of targeted projects that communities opt into.

We have for instance a group of five communities where those homeless response systems teams are also working with the largest health care providers in their communities to figure out what is optimal role in health care in ending chronic homelessness. We have another group of five communities actually working together to really blaze the path for what it looks like to do really, really strong prevention work, like to get to zero inflow into homelessness, and so we have a cohort of communities that are working both tailoring their work to their own context, but regularly coming together to share what they’re learning and to accelerate the practice of innovation.

That’s the story. It’s like from shared aim, single team, accurate, current data, the right collaborative practices that allow groups to learn together and improve and move beyond ideological debate, flexible resources, and the power of a network.

Cindy Santos: You’ve mentioned in the past that collective impact is an effective approach, and you just described many of those conditions of collective impact. You’ve demonstrated how collaboration can really change the way that communities work together, bringing actors together, reducing fragmentation, really centering those voices of those who are most impacted. I really appreciate what you talked about, combining resources in a way that’s nimble and is flexible. We saw this during COVID-19. If there’s a will there’s a way. But we know that all of these ways of collaboration often require change. And we know that communities experience complexity. There are changes in, or differences in culture. There are ideological differences.

Something we’re hearing from the field is how hard it’s been for communities to really target their efforts and center equity when there are these ideological debates. I’m curious how you’ve seen that play out in communities, how communities have navigated those really complex tough issues.

Rosanne Haggerty: Part of being involved in the Built for Zero network means that you’ve signed up for not just blazing the path toward functional zero homelessness but to do that in a racially equitable way, and we went through a long process of consulting with community leaders, with individuals with lived experience of homelessness, with experts in the equity inclusion space about what an equitable system would look like, and it comes down to—and then the framework we help communities to implement is not just about the data and being able to look at every step of the rehousing process, like are there differential effects.

I will say as an aside, Cindy, I don’t think it’s possible to deliver on our commitment to equity if we don’t have good data because that’s where everything is revealed so we help communities be able—learn how to be able to track with their data how at each part of the journey from homelessness, from being identified as experiencing homelessness or getting connected to a resource to how many apartments you’re shown, all that has a numeric component, and is your system overall delivering and reducing homelessness.

But there’s also an important set of qualitative measures that we help communities to track and those include individuals who are moving through the experience, the trauma of homelessness, do they feel that they have been treated with dignity and respect, and are there opportunities to actually influence the systems so this idea of frankly kind of the human-centered design elements like our folks who are experiencing homelessness, particularly African and Native Americans who are completely overrepresented, disgracefully so in our homeless populations, but are they honestly being given opportunities to influence the direction of the system and how it is working.

So that’s—we provide this framework, support, coaching, and tools to communities so that they can basically be designing and shaping a racially equitable system as they’re building these accountable systems. It’s been really fascinating to see how there’s this hunger for doing this. I mean no one who has been working homelessness does it come as a surprise that this is profoundly a racial justice issue. The disproportionality has always been stark and so what we found in our communities is just kind of a hunger to get it right, a desire for tools to make this real. We work with communities of every size, stripe, political leaning, and this has resonated. We’ve got to do this work with a lens of racial equity.

Cindy Santos: That’s sound so right, and so much of systems change work that needs to happen is about decreasing those disparities, and it’s about equity and justice.

Could you provide us some examples of how communities and individuals have been able to influence the system? We know the context looks different in every place but where are those places, those bright spots, that you’ve seen where those with lived expertise and those in community have been really able to organize and influence systems?

Rosanne Haggerty: Well, a number of—and there are so many communities that have done this, let me think of one maybe to highlight but one of the things we have helped communities to do is to create steering groups or advisory groups composed of people with lived experience of homelessness, particularly individuals of color. As we are helping these communities to build this new system that is accountable and measured, we’ve helped them create formal roles, compensated roles, for individuals who can be regularly part of the thinking about what happens next, what are the key interventions that need to be considered and tested.

There’s an amazing woman who has been very generous in sharing the leadership work she’s done in Sacramento about how so much of that city’s strategy has been informed by this very robust advisory group that has put equity at the center of the city’s plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness. We’re also working with Sacramento as one of the communities in this health care and homelessness pilot so I would lift up, even in a large city with lots of different people who have to be pulled together around the table, that the role of a very well-supported, well-trained advisory group is pretty key.

I mean I think to not have a group who is part of that and just to look to a single individual doesn’t perhaps provide the kind of depth and breadth of experience and insight that communities need to make progress here but this has been one of the things that has really stood out in communities that if you can formalize a group that is part of the critical decisions around what next given where our data is leading us and particularly from a racial equity standpoint, and also just like—I’ll tell you just having sat in on so many of these sessions over the years where folks are really determining next steps and what are the things they want to try next to drive overall reductions in an equitable way that it’s those who have experienced homelessness who can tell those of us who have been working on the issue but don’t really see how policies land, tell us like what really works.

In some ways it’s critical to have those voices to just be successful getting a functioning system going. You need that feedback loop of like you might think your policies are designed to lead to this, but this is how they land, and it’s that kind of honest, supported, consistent role that people with lived experience and especially Black and Native Americans in these communities who have experienced homelessness are playing that is leading to better outcomes for everyone.

Cindy Santos: You know at times I think that one of the key issues that we have is that we have these narratives and these biases around homelessness and those who are unhoused, and I think that those really prevent us from being able to center at times their experiences and their lived expertise, but we know that to achieve that systems change and that population-level change that you just mentioned, it’s really important for us to be able to evolve those narratives, right? I’m sure that for you and from some of our listeners, we’ve heard those negative narratives, and they’re often repeated. They’re repeated in the news. They’re repeated in our political rhetoric. They’re on social media, and it just feels that they can be really hardwired, right?

So what has been your experience around narrative change with your work and how have you seen that be most helpful in shifting those really deeply engrained and problematic narratives that at times can keep us from really listening and from being good allies to those who have experienced these issues?

Rosanne Haggerty: Well, I’ll say it’s very much a work in progress, and top of mind for us, Cindy, about like how do we break through to a different conversation on this issue that starts with let’s just assume it’s solvable. As you pointed out, during the pandemic, if a community is on touch with the crisis nature of something and that we—crises evoke a different level of thinking and kind of willingness to act. In part that is where we need to move on this issue, just to kind of help people move out of the fog that is surrounding communication on homelessness that just repeats the story that these are broken individuals or there’s just not enough housing or not enough whatever, and this is policy failure.

These issues that surround homelessness are so much of our own making as a society over the last 40 years. We can see just about every ill-considered or not dynamic enough kind of response to a policy problem reflected in homelessness from mental health care to foster care to criminal justice to—and then at the center of all this, the racialized policies, housing policies, zoning policies. All of these things we created, and we can change, and somehow, we are living in this space of learned helplessness because the story that we just keep absorbing is one of like it’s about these people as opposed to about this system.

A real eye opener for me—I mentioned back in the day as we were moving out of being housing developers and program operators to like we have seen the problem and it’s us and the way we’re working, the critical aha for me and my colleagues was we were the housing people in this whole disorganized ecosystem around homelessness and New York, and we had plenty of people applying for our apartments from the New York City shelter system, and so we weren’t actually kind of actively thinking like we need to go find new people to apply to our units but it wasn’t until we kind of took stock of the fact that we were walking past many of the same people who lived on the streets surrounding our buildings for years, and we had ourselves sort of bought into this story that there was something different about those individuals, that they were service resistant because service resistance was the story that I think so many good organizations were telling themselves because it just didn’t seem logical.

We have these apartments and you’re experiencing homelessness and why aren’t you applying. It wasn’t until we just kind of stepped out of the comfort of our isolated policy formulation and started meeting with people living on the street that we realized that it was at that point, it wasn’t even possible to move from the street into a subsidized apartment in New York designed for people experiencing homelessness because if you weren’t in the city shelter system, you weren’t considered homeless, and you also had about 46 steps to complete that I mean you’d need a Ph.D. in housing to complete, and that still might not work.

So the narrative challenge is a deep one. I went for years being totally committed to finding solutions to homelessness really believing that there were people who were resistant to services because I never went and actually spoke to people directly about their experience of trying to move out of homelessness. This is kind of a roundabout way of saying that I believe the future of this narrative shift must involve people talking to each other, that it’s this—how is it so easy for us to sort of ascribe kind of a story to individuals and families in extremis, and we are seeing in our Built for Zero communities I think a pattern that we are working to elevate which is not just communities making progress towards functional zero but about the story changing.

For instance, in Rockford, Illinois, which is an amazing community that we’ve been working with for years, you can ask the code enforcement lady, the fire chief, the director of the FQHC, the mayor, any of the churches, the not-for-profits, like tell us about homelessness in your community, and they’re like, we are ending homelessness, this is my role to play, these are the things that we need to fix, and it becomes a story of not them but we.

I think as we look to what are going to be the triggers, the new stories, I keep coming back to how do we create for more people the experience of listening directly to someone else’s story because you never go back to getting comfortable with like, well, they’re just not interested in help, or this must be true. It is that important to know by person what the story is and have more people in communities understand that there are so many roles to be played in keeping our neighbors safe and stablely housed.

Cindy Santos: So it seems that through your program work and working directly with those with lived experience, you yourself had to create a new story, and the proximity to those experiencing homelessness really allowed you yourself to shift your narrative. I think what’s important—one thing that when we think about CI or collective impact is that the programs work, and the systems work can happen simultaneously. You don’t have to abandon one for the other, and I’m curious are there communities where you’ve seen that they’ve really effectively said we are working on the program side but we’re also really changing systems because we know that both are equally important?

Rosanne Haggerty: Yeah, great question, Cindy, and, yes, it’s absolutely true. They are intertwined. You need—and frankly having a good system that tells you in close to real time what’s working helps you improve your programs and vice versa but let me lift up maybe even the state of Colorado.

We’re excited that there are a few places now where we’re working statewide as well as with the majority if not all of the continuum of care regions within that state, and we have—I’ll take the Denver area I think within the continuum of care which is this HUD designation. There are seven communities but we’re working with all seven in the metro Denver region on what is their local team, what does it look like, the shared aim, the data, the improvement projects. They’re all very localized but they’re also very much aligned with each other in terms of where it’s important to share data because people are moving back and forth across—if you’re in Aurora or Denver, you shouldn’t fail to get services because you’re moving around, and also with the role of the state changing which is to increasingly see the state’s role as being like a barrier clearer, like having all the state agencies aligned, sharing a goal, a way of measuring, and staying on course but to really reverse the typical relationship of the state agencies come up with a program and cities scramble around competing for money to instead have the community saying to get to functional zero homelessness, these are the kinds of policy and other supports we’re going to need from the state for our community to make headway against our goals.

So that is I think the example of the kind of work that’s possible when more and more entities see the power of collaboration, alignment, and yeah. I’m happy to go into more detail on any of the Colorado communities. I think we’re working with about 90 percent of the state now but we’re—they have across most of the state, quality data. At least one community has gotten to functional zero veteran homelessness. Others are close behind so, yeah, I guess the headline is coordination and alignment, this is the key.

Cindy Santos: Well, we know that I’m sure that in your work you’ve seen that coordination and alignment might be easier said than done, right? And so there are lots of challenges that happen in this work, and there are very specific challenges that come with collaboration and systems change so are there any challenges that maybe surprised you along the way that you hadn’t forecasted earlier in your work and that arose through the process of collaboration? What were some ways that you were able to really work through some of those issues?

Rosanne Haggerty: The thing that comes first to mind, Cindy, is the role of data. I spent the first 20 years of my work on this issue building housing, and it’s not that housing isn’t a key element of the solution, but it never registered for me that unless you can really understand the nature and dynamics of the problem you’re working on, and that’s all about data, you really can’t make progress on a complex issue like homelessness. You’re always chasing your tail, and so it’s the role of data in driving alignment, enabling improvement, and really giving you the answer to what fundamentally I think everyone who is drawn to work in this field wants to be about which is like are all of our efforts ending up and adding up to what we most want which is fewer people experiencing homelessness.

But if you asked me 15 years ago like what do we need more of, I probably wouldn’t have said better data. That’s our starting point now. You need to be able to see and kind of unpack the dynamics of this problem, and that has been the biggest surprise and frankly also the biggest excitement.

As you see communities get to that point where they actually have their arms around the problem, that they know what they’re dealing with, it’s like magic. It’s just like immediately here are the opportunities and maybe the problem is bigger than we thought. Maybe it’s smaller but it’s just this—the energy shifts once you really see a team of different actors say, OK, here is what we have to solve for, and that is so—it’s just a qualitative shift away from what you find in communities who just feel overwhelmed, and nothing they do is working, they can’t answer that question about like what are we dealing with. Once you can, it just changes the energy to one of we’re showing up for a solution.

Cindy Santos: So we’ve covered a lot of topics today including really centering those with lived expertise in order to truly understand the problem and the solution, the importance of collecting and sharing data to really understand root causes, the need to support a backbone including financially, the ways that narrative change can really change the way we approach our solutions, and the need to really think about programs and systems change simultaneously, and how proximity can really change and impact the way that we move towards system change. I’m wondering if there’s anything else that we haven’t talked about that you want to make sure that we cover understanding that my list wasn’t necessarily comprehensive.

Rosanne Haggerty: One of the things we’re thinking a lot about, Cindy, is just helping to articulate how each of us in our different roles in communities can show up in a problem-solving way on this issue. We’ve done a lot of work now with faith communities, with health care, with business leaders, and we’re in this really lucky position working on so many communities and such a diversity of communities to be able to say with a degree of direct experience and certainty like the energy for solutions is all around us.

This is—and I think maybe the pandemic has influenced this as well, all of us could understand how vulnerable we would be without a home, and also on another level because of this sudden unlocking of COVID-related resources, all over the country you saw communities moving people into hotels or out of crowded shelters, and it just kind of broke that old kind of doom loop story of these are people who don’t want help. It’s just like wait a minute, if we show up with actual places that are decent for people to live, it works.

So I think that set of questions around like what are the action steps that every type of citizen or organization can be taking is one of the things that we feel is maybe the—some of the space to be filled out in the collective impact model, not just what are the roles of those with kind of formal roles to play because they have a policy role or a resource or a practice role but how does the community show up. It’s certainly something we see in so many places and hear from our amazing community partners, that it has implications for the whole of their communities to come together to work toward a solution here and to see it come to pass and to see progress. It makes all of the other challenges that community may be facing feel like, OK, we can tackle that too. There’s nothing like doing hard things together to boost our confidence that we can actually have communities that are thriving and inclusive for everyone.

Cindy Santos: You know one thing you said just now is we can tackle that too, and we know that homelessness has so many intersecting issues, and I’m curious how you’re finding that communities are recognizing these are intersecting issues, and we have to really think holistically about the solution.

Rosanne Haggerty: Well, it’s interesting and I’d say two areas of our work it’s particularly showing up. We have a whole cohort of communities who are in what we call the last mile. They are closing in on zero veteran homelessness or zero chronic homelessness or zero overall homelessness which is amazing, there are two communities that will probably be there within a year. That immediately—you’re having—to get that far, you have had to learn to really stop inflow into homelessness like what is causing people to lose their homes and to begin putting energy there. In those last mile communities, they’re tables are getting bigger and bigger because they’re dealing with the foster care system, they’re dealing with the school system, they’re dealing with the hospitals, they’re dealing with the discharge planners at the jails, they’re dealing with the 211 system, they’re dealing with their libraries, and where can they put information on housing access and where to call before you’re lost your housing, where can you put it in communities.

So they are just getting so many more systems and actors in their communities involved because starting from that nucleus of the housing authority and homeless service organization and the mayor, all of a sudden you’ve got all of these other groups who are now understanding they need to be part of this and are collectively kind of charting how they need to be in communication with each other, what different actions and responsibilities they take on, and we’re also seeing that on that part of our work which is in our upstream strategies team, and there it’s kind of our R&D operation, and we have an explicit initiative around—with five cities around learning to get to zero inflow into homelessness, and what are the practices that communities need to have in place.

It looks an awful lot like the last mile communities. It’s like we need the school system, we need the community organizing actors, we need the eviction prevention folks. We all have to be on the same team and understand each other’s language and the role we’re going to be holding each other—the roles we’re holding each other accountable for playing so it is kind of—as I’ve just described, sort of coming full circle, that really good homelessness prevention looks like a community that knows how to stay ahead of the problem, that has gotten to zero and is staying there.

Cindy Santos: So it’s not just about those intersecting issues for instance, like you mentioned homelessness and aging out of foster care but it’s about also those coming full circle to those intersecting solutions, the holistic solutions as a community. I’m wondering in closing how can folks get involved in your work? How might we know more about Community Solutions?

Rosanne Haggerty: Well, I can send you to our website which is We would certainly urge folks to take a look at whether their community is part of our network and if so, we would love to just link you to the local backbone organization to learn what specifically could be most helpful locally. Then if your community is not in Built for Zero, we have a lot of tools on the website, a lot of case studies, videos, this whole series that our wonderful communications team has developed around what are the roles of different community actors in this issue.

Show up. I think we need more people, Cindy, who just are like not having the wrong story like, oh, this issue is just too complicated, it’s too big, it’s too expensive. That lets everybody off the hook, so I think more and more we just need people to say enough. Like this actually isn’t optional. We’re going to leave our most vulnerable neighbors behind and we’re going to tolerate the horrific racial injustice of this so, yeah, it’s really powerful when people just start nudging the leaders in their community to say we can do better, and not in a judgmental way but in an inviting way. I think that’s the opportunity I think our amazing communities are demonstrating, that we can do better, and who wouldn’t want to be part of that.

Cindy Santos: Well, thank you. This has been a really fruitful conversation that we know will benefit many practitioners in the field and communities, and we’re so appreciative of your commitment to this work and for taking the opportunity to share these lessons learned with the Collective Impact Forum family so thank you.

Rosanne Haggerty: Cindy, thank you.

And this closes out this episode of the Collective Impact Forum podcast. If you are interested in learning more about what was discussed, you can find links to resources in the footnotes for this episode.

We would like to acknowledge that this episode was produced and edited on the unceded, traditional lands of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, and Muckleshoot tribes. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the past, present, and futures of these tribes.

The Intro music for this episode was composed by Rafael Krux and our outro music is composed by Kevin Macleod.

In Forum news, we’re excited to share that registration is open for several upcoming online workshops that are part of our “Essentials for Collective Impact” series. On September 28, we have “Facilitating Collaborative Meetings.” On October 13, we have “Navigating the Dangers to Collective Impact.” And on October 26, we have “Building a Culture of Trust in Collective Impact.”

Please visit our events section of our website at if you would like to join any of these upcoming online sessions.

This is Tracy Timmons-Gray, Associate Director here at the Collective Impact Forum, and your podcast producer. I want to say thank you so much for listening, and we look forward to connecting with you more in our next episode. Until next time, we hope you are safe and well.


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