Will Connelly, one of the founders of The Contributor, is leaving his post as director of the Metro Homelessness Commission after four years at the organization’s helm.
Connelly took a job in Denver as the executive director of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), where he will help the nonprofit plan and implement strategies to end homelessness. MDHI works in Denver and seven surrounding counties.
In his time as the director, Connelly is most proud of the way the commission — and the nonprofits and community groups it’s partnered with — have changed the conversation around homelessness in Nashville. Also, there’s the fact that the commission, through the How’s Nashville initiative, increased the city’s housing placement rate from an average of 19 housing placements per month to an average of 46 housing placements per month from 2013 to 2014.
“We know that housing works,” Connelly said. “And it’s been great to watch the community come to understand that a little bit more.”
Judith Tackett, assistant director of the Metro Homelessness Commission, in a post about Connelly’s departure on the commission’s blog, lauded Connelly for bringing the community together “and for the first time in the city’s history, we have all gathered around a distinct goal in our fight to end homelessness. We have made a dent.”
“We are happy for Will and his family and wish them all the best, but we all realize that we are losing a powerhouse here in Nashville,” Tackett wrote.
Connelly has already started working for MDHI remotely, but will begin working in Denver in January.
“I guess I’m just really grateful,” Connelly said. “We increased the number of people getting into housing directly from the streets or the shelter system, and that was really great to see — all the different and great leaders that came together around homelessness and housing. Putting the focus back on housing was a great thing to be a part of.”