An Episcopal priest has helped to spearhead a successful national campaign to find permanent housing for 100,000 homeless Americans in fewer than four years. The Rev. Linda M. Kaufman, canonically resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, directed national field organizing for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which announced last month that it had helped 186 communities find permanent housing for 105,580 chronically homeless Americans, including more than 31,000 veterans since launching in July 2010. As National Field Organizer, Kaufman oversaw community enrollment and training for the Campaign and logged over 140,000 miles of travel.
The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement coordinated by New York-based non-profit, Community Solutions, which launched the effort in July of 2010. Kaufman served as the Campaign’s chief public speaker, addressing community groups and conferences around the country about how they could play a role. Kaufman credits her training as a preacher with preparing her for this work….
Housing First, which became official federal policy under the second Bush administration, is a housing strategy that seeks to offer people experiencing homelessness permanent housing right away without requiring their participation in treatment or services. The policy, which boasts an 85 percent housing retention rate nationally, developed in contrast to traditional approached which required homeless individuals to achieve sobriety or obtain work before offering them access to housing. Housing First offers an array of supportive services, but does not condition housing upon them.
The 100,000 Homes Campaign helped communities across the country adopt the gold standard Housing First approach, which is supported by the research consensus. Kaufman was instrumental in convincing communities to make the shift.