Forty Under Forty: Amie Pospisil

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Amie Pospisil

Deputy Vice President, Programs

Breaking Ground


STREET HOMELESSNESS IS A SOLVABLE ISSUE

Fast fact: Pospisil grew up in Minnesota

 

Amie Pospisil leads programs for the largest provider of street outreach in New York City. Breaking Ground’s Street to Home (S2H) program is responsible for engaging and housing the street homeless in all of Brooklyn and Queens and a third of Manhattan. It also operates the largest New York City-funded safe haven, providing low-threshold transitional housing to 138 chronically street-homeless men. Pospisil reengineered Breaking Ground’s S2H program to meet the requirements of the city’s new Home-STAT initiative to serve a large geographical service area with quick response times. Pospisil tackled the opportunity “like a military strategist,” said Claire Sheedy, Breaking Ground’s vice president of housing operations.

 

NYN: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?

AP: I think homelessness is where I see all of these large social issues manifesting – in street homelessness. It’s a population that’s completely marginalized. I really just fell in love with it. I felt like I could do some real work there and sink my teeth in and help to create some change.

 

NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF.

AP: I do think a big part of it is being on the forefront of this Housing First movement in New York City. It’s just being able to be a part of this movement of helping society realize that these folks who are so marginalized that we walk by every day – that it’s a really solvable issue. If we place people into permanent supportive housing, regardless of how long they’ve been on the street, regardless of their untreated mental health or substance abuse problems – they succeed when we place them into permanent supportive housing.

 

NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?

AP: I think it’s about more opportunities for affordable housing, more expansion, more opportunity to build. Without that, the homeless crisis is not going to get any better.

 

NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?

AP: It’s never been about climbing the ladder, it’s really just been about the people we serve on the front lines. Those are always the most important people and if we stay focused on them, then it just falls into place.

 

NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?

AP: In order to be able to do this job well, I believe that you just have to know what the frontlines are all about – and all the way through; having had the experience of really doing probably every job that any of my staff are doing now – or have done. I get what their jobs are, I get how hard they are and I get the people that we serve. I would be remiss if I got too far away from that. 

 

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