Liz Hersh

Principal, Policy and Advocacy

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

I am a social worker by training, and a lifelong advocate for social, economic and racial justice. I come to Community Solutions fresh from a nearly eight year tour of duty as the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) where we served 18,000-20,000 people a year through our network of providers. Through COVID, the Opioid Epidemic, and civil unrest, we tenaciously kept our doors open, kept people alive and expanded housing with the result that unsheltered homelessness declined by 35% and family homelessness declined by 42% according to the Point in Time Count. We wove racial equity into every aspect of our work from a workforce where three-fourths of our leadership were Black or African American, most promoted from within, and Black people were overrepresented among those who moved into permanent supportive housing. I was proud to turn over the reins to the extraordinary man who had served as the OHS Chief of Staff for five years, and is now the first Black man to lead the office.

My true passion is advocating for an end to homelessness and pursuing clever policy shifts to break down barriers and increase resources to help more people. Prior to coming to the City of Philadelphia, I led the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, the state’s affordable housing advocacy coalition with the result of successfully getting seventeen new state laws enacted all with bipartisan support. I am proudest of our work to establish the state’s Housing Trust Fund called “PHARE” which this year will distribute $62 million dollars statewide to expand housing opportunities for people with low incomes. My work with the Housing Alliance built on my experience with the Tenants’ Action Group of Philadelphia which not only provided tenants’ rights and fair housing to renters, but also managed the City’s rental assistance program for people exiting shelters. We also led the creation of the first Blueprint to End Homelessness which became a national model.

Being part of Community Solutions I get to meld my experience as a local government officials running a continuum of care with my love of advocating for high impact policy change through a national network focused on solutions because now, more than ever, I know that homelessness in solvable.

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