19 May May 19, 2021 – City Builder Kevin Ham and Solving Homelessness Marybeth Shinn
Kevin Ham – Director of Economic Development at City of Vista
A new chain restaurant is great and does add to the community, but
the entrepreneur is the secret sauce! These are the companies that
grow, that hire new individuals. They do amazing things.
Kevin Ham, a visionary in city economic development, has served as Economic Development Director for the City of Vista since 2001. Ham is an executive leader with broad experience in the private sector, nonprofit sector, transportation, city management, and economic development. He is also winner of the prestigious 2019 Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. Among his many successes, He was the key architect in creating the largest craft brewing cluster in the US. While the pandemic has forced the closure of many small businesses across the US, some cities have managed to not only help keep businesses afloat but have also pivoted their economic development strategies to attract new ones. One such city in Vista, Calif. The Southern California city has “taken calculated risks” in an effort to give the local economy a boost, both short and long term, says Kevin Ham, Vista’s Economic Development Director. Ham is known as a visionary in city economic development and is also winner of the prestigious 2019 Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. Since 2010, the City of Vista has grown by 8% – a rate higher than the San Diego region as a whole – and has earned a spot as the 7th fastest growing city in the region. In an effort to stay on its growth trajectory, the City has also created innovative strategies to help support its existing businesses during the pandemic.
Dr. Marybeth Shinn – Cornelius Vanderbilt professor at Vanderbilt University
A bipartisan policy center did some research and said you could
(eliminate homelessness) for $31 billion a year.
Marybeth Shinn, Ph.D., is a Cornelius Vanderbilt professor at Vanderbilt University. She co-led the Family Options Study of different approaches to ending family homelessness, evaluated the initial study of the Pathways Housing First experiment, and developed a model used by New York City to target its homelessness prevention services. Dr. Shinn studies how to prevent and end homelessness and create opportunities for groups that face social exclusion. She seeks to use research to shape social policy. The 12-site Family Options study she conducted with colleagues at Abt Associates and Vanderbilt shows that offering long-term rental subsidies to families in homeless shelters not only ends homelessness for most, but has radiating benefits for parents and children and reduces problems like substance abuse, domestic violence, and psychological distress that can sometimes cause homelessness. Qualitative interviews with 80 of the families across four sites helped to understand families’ experiences in the homeless service system, how they make housing decisions, and why so many parents become separated from their children. Her book In the Midst of Plenty: Homelessness and What to Do About It argues that we know how to end homelessness if we devote the resources to doing so.