Social Services

The Community Engagement Team

The Community Engagement Team (CET) is a unique, business-led outreach team that provides rapid response support and intervention for non-violent crisis situations and traditional street outreach services in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The CET partners with Toronto Police to divert vulnerable individuals from the criminal justice system and into local community support programs.

Innovative Partnerships: PBIDs and the Unhoused

As the homelessness crisis exploded in the last decade, UPMOs have often found themselves on the front lines of assisting unhoused neighbors. Learn from three organizations that have taken a hyperlocal approach to partner with local unhoused populations on innovative cleaning, maintenance and outreach programs. 

Top Issues Council Brief: Evolving Homeless Services

This report explains the importance of supporting homeless services to increase individual and public health and safety. It also offers examples and resources to help place managers launch or enhance homeless services in their communities. 

Advancing Places: Social Inclusion in Public Spaces

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?

Facilitated Forum: Homelessness

This session from IDA’s Annual Conference 2022 covers many of the topics from the Homelessness Services top issues council.

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.

Community First

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.

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.

Atlanta Downtown Social Impact Safety Team-A.S.I.S.T.

The Atlanta Downtown Social Impact Safety Team (A.S.I.S.T.) is a mobile homeless outreach initiative targeted to serve those experiencing homelessness inside of the community improvement district and funded by the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) in 2020 as a pandemic related response and intended to build capacity and fill gaps in the homeless service ecosystem on a short-term basis.

Double Helping Hands

The Double Helping Hands program was implemented in seven days during the COVID crisis, “Helping Our Local Restaurants AND the Homeless Community”. The program managed by the Downtown Berkeley Association, procures to-go lunches from Downtown Berkeley restaurants to feed the homeless. Approximately 100-150 lunches are ordered per day on a rotating basis from fifteen different Downtown restaurants. Downtown Ambassadors deliver the boxed to-go lunches to local homeless shelter.

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.

Ballard Alliance Clean Streets Program

The Ballard Alliance partnered with Millionair Club Charity (MCC) to provide twice weekly cleaning services and the annual fall leaf cleaning. The MCC is a nonprofit that employs homeless individuals and provides them with work, job training, and wrap-around services that help remove barriers so they can support themselves. The Alliance selected the MCC as its partner because they are qualified to do the work and because it has a direct positive impact on the homelessness crisis in Seattle.

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.

Transformation of 16th Street Mall

While considered the spine of downtown Denver, by 2016, the Mall’s image had become one of a place overrun by homeless and violent individuals. Comments on social media and media reports led to a general perception that the Mall was lost to crime and homelessness and not a place to visit. However, what most of the public did not realize was that the Downtown Denver Partnership had already been working with stakeholders to develop a Security Action Plan (SAP).

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 Pit Stop

One way that San Francisco is dealing with the feces issue is via the use of what are called “Pit Stops.” These are free public restrooms that are operated by a partnership between San Francisco and JCDecaux (“JCD”). The Lower Polk CBD was able to secure funding to monitor the JCD Pit Stop located in our District. This has decreased feces calls and improved quality of life for people in the district.

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.

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.

DTP Connects

Chronic street homelessness is a complex societal issue that many cities face world-wide. According to the 2017 Business Security Survey conducted by the Downtown Tucson Merchant and Retail Council, homelessness was ranked the number one safety concern among downtown business and property owners. Homelessness was also identified as the biggest barrier to Downtown Tucson’s success in both DTP’s online Board survey and at the 2017 DTP Board Retreat. DTP Connects is a homeless outreach program.

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.

Job Connect

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.

Creating A Social Development Ecosystem

South Africa’s particular socio-economic context forces many people to leave their homes to seek employment in city centres. However, the majority often cannot find work, and without enough shelter beds available, they are consequently left homeless. City systems lack sufficient infrastructure and resources to help those who need it. In response, VRCID developed a new coherent, collaborative approach that could address the complex challenge through an interconnected ecosystem of all players working to combat homelessness.

Clean Streets Team

The Waterfront BIA introduces its new Clean Streets Team, in partnership with Progress Place! Progress Place offers an inclusive, respectful and engaging community for people living with a mental illness. Combining a comprehensive network of services that includes employment, education, recreation and housing, they are committed to helping people stay out of hospitals, achieve their personal goals and contribute to the communities they live in. The team also does cleaning operations.

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.