On the shortest day of the year, communities come together to remember lives that are too often forgotten.
They read a list of names. Sons. Daughters. Fathers. Mothers. Brothers. Sisters.
Everyone on that list has two things in common: they lived some portion of their lives without a home, and they died without one too.
But there’s another list.
Built for Zero communities design their work around a list of every person experiencing homelessness. They learn each person’s name and what they need to escape homelessness. Then working together, the community does whatever it takes to get that person into a home. This is the power of a list of the living, as Malcolm Gladwell describes movingly in “A Memorial for the Living” on his podcast Revisionist History.
I’m struck by the fact that every holiday season, communities come together on the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, to mourn the people who were not helped in time. It’s an important reminder of the lives at stake.
This year, in Built for Zero communities from Alaska to Florida, teams rallied to keep housing people even when the pandemic disrupted everything, because they knew that homes were more vital protection than ever before. The community in Kansas City never gave up, eventually finding a pathway home for a woman who lived on the streets for more than 25 years.
This progress is possible because of your support. You are helping to build a future where we do not tolerate homelessness becoming a way of life — or a cause of death.
From Community Solutions, we are wishing you and your family a holiday season filled with joy and light.