Many communities have struggled with building public places that are welcoming and open to all. As downtowns grapple with the uncertainty of office work, the challenge of bringing users back to our public spaces is compounded by the needs of underserved groups. What if we can make use of public space as the nexus where people in need and the programs that are meant to serve them come together?
Sub Categories: Homelessness
ATL Downtown Counts: Street Homelessness Survey
The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District conducted the first and only real-time enumeration survey of street homelessness targeted solely in downtown Atlanta and funded by the Community Improvement District. The survey was an all-volunteer, one-day outdoor event adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. Partner agencies included the Atlanta Police Department, the ADID Ambassador Force and a large group of downtown business and residential stakeholders.
The Times Square Alliance partnered with several organizations to pilot Community First, a program designed to help people in the district who are housing insecure and/or in need of human services and to create a more livable community for all. Community First addresses the economic and racial disparities of housing insecure community members in the area by building relationships and making connections to services such as housing, mental health, and/or benefits, among other services.
A Tale of Three Cities Fueling Recovery
This presentation focused on three cities (San Francisco, Berkeley
, and Los Angeles) and how they identified challenges the pandemic presented to their downtowns and strategies being implemented to fuel the recovery. Challenges include the increase of homelessness and violence related to the civil unrest; lack of pedestrian traffic and downtown workers; and the role safety, security and cleaning played during the pandemic. Learn what strategies were implemented and positive outcomes achieved.
Homelessness and Mental Health in Reno, NV
This presentation covers the concept of the new Nevada CARES Campus, which provides shelter for 600+ individuals plus a unique safe camp with over 50 mod pods. It will explain the obstacles and challenges Washoe County and the City of Reno had to navigate to build and staff the facility. In addition, two other projects are included: Hope Springs, and the Village on Sage Street.
Lessons from an Emergency: Crisis Ops for Social Issues
In December 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a 90-day state of emergency for the overdose crisis in downtown. Together with place management organizations, city departments commanded by the Department of Emergency Management developed a disaster relief framework for long-term operations to address the most intractable issues at the intersection of crime, homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder.
The Policy Realm of Homelessness
The number of individuals experiencing homelessness continues to increase. Legislation to address this issue is also growing, especially with the funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act. Hear from practitioners on how they are navigating and influencing policy with elected officials in their local cities and states.
Advancing Places: Conversation on Homelessness
Homelessness is, at its core, a human challenge, and as urban place managers we can act as conveners to collaborate and coordinate with service providers, public agencies and local organizations to ensure empathetic and successful programs. Join two panelists as they discuss their passion for addressing homelessness in their local district and how they approached the difficulties and successes when working to balance their unique situation.
Project Spotlight: Caring for Your Community
The Downtown Day Services Center offers services to individuals experiencing homelessness by utilizing a housing-first model and is operated by the DowntownDC BID. In South Africa, approximately 45 million people rely on the public health system most of whom are low-income earners who cannot afford to pay high prices for health care. Responding to this need, the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) collaborated with the Cipla Foundation to launch a new community-based healthcare.
Downtown Philanthropy: Exploring and Leveraging a Charitable Arm for Your Organization
Hear from place management leaders about what it means and what it takes to add a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation, trust or similar entity to your organization’s structure. Learn how a charitable organization can be leveraged as a new, innovative enterprise for your downtown to support its projects and initiatives, and become an added source of support during challenging times.
One Person at a Time: A Different Approach to Homelessness
Homelessness is a challenge which does not discriminate based on region, culture, language or creed. It is a human challenge with complexities, which demand a detailed and thoughtful response. Urban place management organizations, while not social service or law enforcement, have been trying to find their role in providing help and balancing the needs of the individuals experiencing homelessness with the expectations of downtown businesses, residents, property owners and visitors.
Health and Safety in the Public Realm: Frontline Staffing
The COVID-19 pandemic and public protests have put additional pressure on clean and safe teams to consider higher levels of cleanliness and safety unlike anything they have dealt with before. Join operations professionals to discuss keeping frontline staff and the public realm clean, safe and healthy.
Lateefah Simon Master Talk
Lateefah Simon is a 20-year veteran organizer for racial justice in Oakland and the Bay Area. She has been the President of the Akonadi Foundation since 2016. That same year—driven by the death of Oscar Grant—she ran and was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors—of which she now serves as President.
Public Safety Alternatives
Public safety reforms can be a polarizing conversation, but it is not one we should avoid. Rather, we should face the challenge, embrace the conversation and look at alternatives to providing safety. When we do so, we will find a plethora of programs that address the problems our urban districts face. Please join us as we explore three unique programs addressing sobriety and diversion, mental health and reducing violence by using disease control and behavior methods.
Downtown Day Services Center
The Downtown Day Services Center offers services to individuals experiencing homelessness. The Center, operated by DowntownDC, utilizes a housing-first model and is supported by District of Columbia Department of Human Services and services from Pathways to Housing DC and HIPS. The Center offers on-site support for individuals experiencing homelessness by providing a multitude of services within a single point of access.
One-at-a-Time Homeless Outreach
In fall 2019, the Downtown Reno Partnership and its ambassadors changed their approach to homeless outreach. Our two Outreach Ambassadors focused on a few chronically homeless individuals full time instead of working with a lot of people for a little amount of time each day. The goal is to assist people as closely as possible while helping them navigate service providers. We do whatever it takes to keep individuals off the streets and out of the penal system.
The Power of Partnerships in Challenging Times
The collaboration between two CCID departments, Social Development & Urban Management and Khulisa Social Solutions (KSS), a main NGO partner in the city centre which provides work-based opportunities for street people featuring stipends, social services, training, and administrative support. CCID connected known homeless individuals on Long Street, an iconic corridor in Cape Town, with KSS to curtail social problems wheelie bin scavenging or aggressive panhandling.
What’s Our Real Role With Homelessness
Work with representatives from Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions to strategize what is truly a BID’s role in homelessness?
New ‘Outside the Box’ Approaches to Homeless Services
Often, place managers approach homelessness as a nuisance to be abated through things like “hostile architecture,” but often find this counterproductive. Some districts are exploring new approaches to serve people experiencing homelessness with programs like pop-up public toilets and social media videos to reunite families, to more expansive social worker interventions and eviction prevention strategies. This session presents ideas and spark discussion on compassionate and inclusive approaches.
The Lower Polk Tenant Landlord Clinic
The Lower Polk Tenant Landlord Clinic is an innovative homelessness prevention program serving the historic Lower Polk district of San Francisco, CA. The clinic’s primary mission is to help vulnerable residents save their homes by avoiding eviction. Known affectionately as “TLC,” the program brings together a coalition of experts in myriad disciplines to address the diverse needs of the target at-risk populations. In its first year of operation, TLC helped 87 people save their homes.
Bonayo Open 311 Project
Bonayo.org is a unique and time-saving web application that Lower Polk Community Benefit District developed in-house. Bonayo works by taking 311 call data directly from the city and routing it to LPCBD’s workers. Bonayo is currently free to use, and users can choose to get receive live notifications via text and/or email. Each text and/or email shows the location of the service call, the service call type, and a photo when available.
Family Reunification Program
As part of its efforts to address homelessness, Downton San Diego Partnership has implemented the Family Reunification Program, a program designed to reconnect homeless individuals with their families and loved ones across the country, enabling them to build much-needed support systems that are critical to ending the cycle of homelessness.
Kate Joncas Master Talk – Baltimore 2019
Kate is currently the Director of Urban Strategy and Development for MIG. She leads strategic efforts for complex urban projects in downtowns, neighborhoods and urbanizing places. As Seattle Deputy Mayor from 2014 – 2017 she directed 32 departments, led waterfront redevelopment and Convention Center expansion, and developed a nationally recognized government performance initiative.
John Snook Master Talk
John Snook serves as executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, widely recognized as one of the most influential mental health advocacy organizations in existence today. Mr. Snook brings the organization more than 15 years of policy and advocacy experience at both the federal and state levels.
Gabe Metcalf Master Talk
Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
Former Mayor Edwin Lee Master Talk
Before passing in 2017, Edwin Lee was an American politician and attorney who served as the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, and was the first Asian American to hold the office.
Rosanne Haggerty Master Talk
Rosanne Haggerty is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Solutions. She is an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities. Community Solutions assists communities throughout the US and Canada in solving the complex problems facing their most vulnerable residents by leading large scale change initiatives including the 100,000 Homes and Built for Zero Campaigns and the 20,000 Homes Campaign.
Kerry Morrison Master Talk
Kerry Morrison was the executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, which manages the Hollywood Entertainment and Sunset and Vine BIDs. She recently completed a two-year Stanton Fellowship which afforded her the opportunity to bring ideas to city and county leaders about a new approach toward engaging people with mental illness and homelessness. She serves on L.A.’s City’s Citizen Oversight Committee for the HHH homeless housing bond and the Home for Good Business Leaders Task Force.
Social Service Outreach and Ambassador Services: How to Effectively Address Homelessness with Existing Ambassador Services
This “how-to” session explores strategies and tactics that have worked in cities like Reno, NV and San Francisco, CA. Learn how one downtown designed their ambassador services to effectively deal with homelessness, and discover and effective model to communicate and work with multiple city departments and community benefit districts that was developed by one city’s Police Department.
A good day’s work can be the pivotal first step toward stability and shelter for someone struggling with homelessness. That’s why in 2016, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and local philanthropic / government organizations partnered to establish Jobs Connect. Jobs Connect is a simple, innovative program that matches homeless and vulnerable people with work and basic support services.
San Antonio Homeless Outreach Program
Downtown residents, workers and visitors are more likely to encounter panhandlers in the course of a day than outside of downtown. Centro San Antonio chose to focus their energies and resources on the homeless community, and to embrace and support this community in a unique way. In 2017, the organization invested nearly $140,000 to support the Outreach and Gateway Clean-Up programs.
Year of Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Avenue has long served as the State’s civic and cultural “Main Street.” In spite of a recent resurgence of private investment within 16 of the Avenue’s most prominent properties, the corridor lacked the pedestrian-level vibrancy that peer-cities exude. That is, until the summer of 2017. Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 declared 2017 “The Year of Wisconsin Avenue,” with a series of public art and quality-of-life initiatives that reshaped the Avenue as the community living room.