McAdams a national finalist for homeless initiative

A national network of leaders has selected Mayor Ben McAdams’ as a finalist in the 2017 New Ideas Challenge for his creation of the Collective Impact on Homelessness coalition.

The group, the NewDeal, describes themselves as a network of pro-growth progressive state and local leaders.  The Ideas Challenge recognizes state and local policymakers that propose innovative ideas for expanding opportunity and improving governance in the new economy.

McAdams’ approach to homelessness was one of fifty proposals evaluated. The initiative is a finalist in the “Future of Communities” category, which, according to the organization, includes ideas that strengthen communities and recognize that everyone benefits when more people have the best chance to contribute positively.

The County Mayor announced the Collective Impact initiative two years ago.  The effort brings together a coalition of state, county and city government representatives with more than 30 providers to reform how services are delivered.  Work has involved Pay for Success initiatives, through which the private sector invests in public problems and recoups their funding based on a project’s success. These include Salt Lake County’s ‘Homes not Jail’ effort and the REACH initiative to improve outcomes for individuals with moderate to severe substance use disorders.

“In a world being rapidly transformed by the forces of globalization and technological innovation, and where Americans have lost faith in government to solve pressing issues, the New Ideas Challenges shows how a group of innovative state and local officials are rising to the challenge of finding solutions,” said NewDEAL Executive Director Debbie Cox Bultan in a statement. “Mayor McAdams and his fellow finalists have made proposals that, together, set a governing agenda for the country to follow and for making the economy and government work better for the American people.”

In its third edition, this year’s Challenge seeks to identify effective ways to address profound anxieties resulting from a new economy that has left many Americans behind. The Challenge is open to the 155 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization chaired by U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell to support state and local pro-growth progressive elected officials through the exchange of ideas and engagement with other top public, private, and non-profit sector officials.

“Getting things done on behalf of citizens is how mayors across the country serve the public good. I am thrilled to be named a finalist and to be included in this group of talented and innovative leaders across the country and to have the opportunity to share what we’ve learned,” said McAdams.

Apart from the selection of smaller demographic-based homeless resource centers, the Collective Impact Initiative seeks to have homeless service agencies work collaboratively to keep people housed.

The of the two finalists for the Future of Communities category are the Rapid Assessment and Support Services Diversion initiative, District Attorney Charles Branson, Douglas County, Kansas and the Kids’ Home Run program by Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento, California.

The six winners of the New Ideas Challenge will be announced on Thursday November 16 at the seventh annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at