MacArthur has selected one organisation from six finalists in their 100&Change competition to receive US$100 million.

Winner 100&Change MacArthur Foundation HomelessnessCommunity Solutions has been announced as the winner of the MacArthur’s global competition 100&Change, receiving US$100 million for their project Built for Zero. Designed to accelerate an end to homelessness in 75 U.S. communities in five years, the project will use a data-driven public health approach to change the norms around homelessness.

This model has already seen success in 15 communities that have functionally ended chronic or veteran homelessness using the Community Solutions’ approach of treating homelessness as a solvable public health crisis.

Community Solutions was selected from six finalists by the MacArthur Foundation Board.

“Homelessness is curable. For too long, homelessness has been viewed as intractable and pervasive rather than a crisis worth solving,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey.

“More than 568,000 people experienced homelessness on a given night in the United States, before the pandemic. Community Solutions has proven that people do not have to live this way. Its racially equitable response is primed for this moment.”

Working with local government agencies and other nonprofit organisations, Community Solutions focuses on person-specific, real-time information and interventions to help communities reach and sustain the state of “functional zero” – a state where homelessness is rare and brief.

The Built for Zero methodology was based on research, frontline experiences and deep community engagement and has now been adopted by more than 30 international communities.

In the US, alongside the 15 communities that have achieved a state of functional zero, 50 communities in the Built for Zero network have made inroads to reduce their rate of homelessness. Altogether, since 2010, Community Solutions has helped secure homes for more than 235,000 individuals experiencing homelessness.

Of the win, President of Community Solutions, Rosanne Haggerty, said:

“We are deeply honoured that Community Solutions and the Built for Zero movement have been selected as the award recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition.”

“The award is a powerful endorsement of our shared belief that homelessness can and must be solved. It is also a testament to the leadership of communities in Built for Zero that are proving it is possible every day. We are grateful and eager to seize this historic moment in our country to build a future where homelessness is rare and brief.”

With COVID-19 ramping up in the middle of the grant application process, MacArthur Foundation gave the top 100 applicants an opportunity to pause and work into their application how COVID-19 had affected their current work and plans and forced organisations to redefine their risk.

COVID-19 had only exacerbated the issue of homelessness. Community Solutions adjusted its strategy to capitalise on the political and cultural moment to change outdated federal data and technology requirements, funding incentives and public policy around ending homelessness.

COVID-19 also meant that the awards had to be announced via a virtual event where all six finalists presented their bold solutions to big challenges. While Community Solutions was awarded the top grant, all six finalists will work with Lever for Change, a MacArthur affiliate, to gain support for their projects.

These vetted projects are listed in the Bold Solutions Network, a showcase of the highest-rated proposals from competitions managed by Lever for Change, opening opportunities for other funders and philanthropists to take note and make commitments.

This year’s 100&Change competition finalists featured two Australian organisations, including Murdoch Children’s Research Institute alongside Clinton Health Access Initiative, and the World Mosquito Program.

You can read our coverage of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition and the World Mosquito Program here.

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