Everyone deserves a place to call home. At Wayfair, we’re partnering with Community Solutions to help make this possible. Here, we talk with Principal of Strategic Communications, Anna Kim, on how her team tells the true story that homelessness is solvable.
Working at a public defender’s office in the South Bronx, Anna Kim saw firsthand how systemic failures can trap people into homelessness. That experience eventually drew her to Community Solutions, where she leads strategic communications and campaigns, and shares the stories of communities that are proving homeslessness is solvable every day.
Here, she discusses how her team provides direct support to Built for Zero communities, helping them leverage communications as a strategic vehicle for impact.
Wayfair: How do you communicate the mission of Community Solutions?
AK: We work to create a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. If I dig more into what uniquely positions us to be able to do that work, it’s that we work directly with communities that are proving homelessness is solvable every day. We bring together these communities, we help them learn, we help them develop systems, and we create networks so that they can learn from each other. And outside of that network, we work to clear the path of barriers that are standing in their way.
Wayfair: What makes Community Solutions unique?
AK: We take a public health approach to solving homelessness. What we are trying to do is help entire communities get to functional zero, a measure of solving homelessness for an entire population. It is not just about helping more people. It is about making it such that fewer to no people are actually experiencing it in a population, and it stays that way.
Wayfair: What do you wish people knew about homelessness that they don’t?
AK: Homelessness is solvable, and it is being solved. This is not an issue of individual failures and circumstances, it is really about flawed systems and failures in our society, which are all fixable. And when we have communities that are coming together to build a different kind of system, we can actually solve this problem at scale. The more that we can understand that we have a collective responsibility to solve this problem, and we can accelerate that progress by stepping into that responsibility, we will see a healthier, more equitable, and safer society.
Wayfair: How do you engage with Built for Zero communities to tell their success stories?
AK: We start by asking the community, ‘what does a successful announcement look like to you?’ and ‘what would it achieve?’ Often, for them, they are thinking, ‘we want everyone to be acknowledged,’ or ‘we want people to understand what we’ve done,’ and we want to use that momentum to not only sustain the achievement but to actually accelerate our progress for the next population. When people understand what is possible, it galvanizes more action. What we see as our role as a field catalyst is to create the conditions, relationships, and support to help propel the communities and that work. It is really important to us that they are recognized for doing that work.