Community Development, Homelessness, Supportive Housing

McCafferty: "Business leaders are great problem solvers"


Discussing the importance of involving the business community in local efforts to end homelessness, Geraldine McCafferty, Springfield's Director of Housing, noted that "business leaders are great problem solvers." McCafferty's address on April 29th at the Lyceum was the latest of the IForum series and focused on the vital role of business and community leaders can play in ending homelessness in local communities.

McCafferty described the work that Springfield has undertaken to tackle the challenge of ending homelessness, particularly the work done to help homeless individuals move into permanent housing.  Engaging business and communities leaders was essential in Springfield, which reduced its street population from nearly 100 in 2004 to just five individuals according to last year's Point-In-Time count. This reduction resulted from an effort to move people from the street and shelter system into permanent housing, with the city and the community working together to identify housing, services and employment opportunities. 

Springfield's remarkable success was the result of a community-wide effort to create and implement a Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness that is data driven and identifies goals and targets for the city to meet.  Business leaders, McCafferty noted, helped shape the plan and have continued to be involved, in part because of the focus on setting targets and meeting them. 

McCafferty was introduced by William McCue of McCue Mortgage and was followed by a response panel, which included:

The panelists noted that the key to engaging the business community is to focus on the data, which is used to convince them that the issue warrants their attention, that there are solutions that are more cost effective than the current systems being employed and that their talents and expertise can help.  It was also noted that many Ten-Year Plans and individual service and housing providers are operating in an atmosphere of scarce resources, which enhances the need to collaborate and bring everyone to the table. 

Audience members were also given the opportunity to ask questions of Geraldine McCafferty and the panelists.

Check out photos of the event:


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