Why Solar Power Should Be Builders’ Next Step In The Real Estate Revolution

As president of the country’s tallest solar residence, located in Midtown Manhattan, there’s a lot I can tell you about the stresses and ins and outs of managing a 45-story skyscraper residence in the heart of the nation’s biggest city. Satisfying a luxury clientele can sometimes require outside-the-box thinking, to say the least. That’s why perhaps the most crucial decision I made in opening up the building had nothing to do with the amenities inside.

I’ve become an evangelist of sorts for solar power, because the benefits are there for the taking and too many of my peers seem to be dragging their feet. For a modest installation cost, any building under the sun can join the green energy revolution and save money at the same time. In an industry where being environmentally conscious is becoming more important and being money conscious has always been crucial, solar power is the easiest way to generate clean energy and excitement at the same time.

These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned since getting started in solar.

It’s easy to start small, but you don’t have to.

I can freely admit that I was somewhat skeptical when I began dipping my toes into solar power for my properties. My first experiment was on top of a four-story building in the Bronx, where I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give a potential new project a try. When I saw the energy savings happen, I knew I shouldn’t waste any time scaling up, and eventually that meant bringing solar to the top of a 45-floor Manhattan luxury high-rise. Just like in real estate, the higher you go, the better the view — only this one looks straight up.

Getting installed correctly is key. An accredited installer certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) can get you set up, and like any vendor, you’re free to shop around for the best quote. There are even leasing options if you don’t feel ready to make a long-term buying commitment.

It’s cheaper than you think, in both the short term and the long run.

The days of prohibitively expensive solar installations are long over. As the technology improves, the cost of switching to solar becomes lower by the day. Bloomberg New Energy Finance said the same thing, forecasting a drop of 60% in solar prices (registration required) over the next two decades. By 2040, their experts found, solar energy will be cheaper than coal and natural gas in metropolitan regions across the country. You won’t have to wait until then to enjoy the financial benefits, however.

In all, we save about $120,000 per year on energy costs thanks to the solar array. Not to mention the management team isn’t assuming these relatively meager costs alone. The Solar Investment Tax Credit will pay back 30% of my company’s investment in commercial solar between now and 2021, so getting started ASAP was crucial. But the ease of installation and the savings don’t paint the whole picture.

The benefits extend beyond myself.

In both residential and commercial real estate, making your tenants happy can take a lot of work and takes on an infinite number of forms. Adding solar is one of the few methods that saves you money while you generate goodwill for yourself and your building. My tenants are continually telling me how happy they are about the solar panels on the building’s roof.

They’re not happy because I’m saving on energy costs or because of my company’s solar tax credit. They’re happy because they’re proud to live in a place where innovation is embraced, not ignored. They’re happy because they can tell their friends and family that they’re living sustainably without sacrificing the amenities that make their building so attractive. They’re happy because living with green energy is the way of the future, and they can all take part just by taking up residence in this building.

I realize I must sound like a solar salesman at times here, but there’s no profit motive for me. If I seem very attached to the solar method, it’s because so many of my peers seem irrationally resistant to this easy way to improve their bottom line and lessen their environmental impact at the same time. I don’t think putting a solar installation on my roofs was a revolutionary act — only when the rest of my peers in real estate do the same thing can we call it a true revolution. With savings, ease of installation and goodwill to be had, why wait?

This article was originally published on Forbes

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Is Eliminating Homelessness Possible? These Communities Say Yes

This article was originally published on DanNeiditch.org 

Eradicating homelessness in a community won’t protect some of its members from needing to spend a night on the streets. This seems counterintuitive; after all, doesn’t eliminating homeless hinge on ending the need for homelessness? In a perfect world, maybe — but we don’t live in a utopia, and we’re not likely to stumble into one anytime soon. The key to effectively combating homelessness lies in taking a ready and responsive approach; in some communities, a coordinated system for mitigating homelessness has already achieved net-zero success.

In December of 2015, Rockford, Illinois became the first town in the U.S. to achieve a “functional zero” state for veteran homelessness by implementing an efficient community system that could swiftly identify and connect homeless veterans with long-term housing. As the VA puts it in a 2015 report on the subject, a system that seeks functional zero aims to: “[ensure that] homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring and no Veteran is forced to live on the street.” Importantly, this system assumes that home insecurity will always exist and accounts for it. The goal isn’t to establish an absolute zero for the homeless, but enable a net zeroeffect to mitigate the impact of homelessness. VA-sponsored programs worked in tandem with other community housing providers to tailor their outreach programs and expedite rehousing efforts for veterans. Rockford was the first trailblazer of many; now, Arlington (VA)New Haven (CT), and countless other urban communities have joined the first city as functional-zero outposts.

Success didn’t come arbitrarily. The three cities mentioned above have more in common than their functional zero status: all were a part of the Built for Zero campaign against chronic and veteran homelessness. The project was launched in 2015 by the New York City nonprofit Community Solutions as a coordinated effort to eradicate homelessness in 71 participating cities. The national effort functioned primarily as a support to local efforts: it helped organizers on the ground track their progress, develop real-time data, strategize for the best use of existing regional resources, and apply tried-and-true strategies from other participating cities. Overall, the program’s approach distilled into two defining tenets: humanization and coordination.

Homelessness is often a faceless issue for those who haven’t worked against or experienced it firsthand. Sympathetic donors offer their money and time to the idea of aiding “the homeless,” rather than helping individuals find permanent housing. The Built for Zero project took the latter approach and achieved better results. Local organizers conducted intense outreach efforts, speaking with those living on the streets to learn more about their individual situations and what they needed to stay housed. In the process, they developed a By-Name List: a real-time database of unhoused individuals that took into account factors such as age, veteran status, chronic homelessness, whether a person is living on the streets independently or with a family, and more.

Every piece of information gathered helps Built for Zero organizers develop a strategy for finding individuals long-term housing, and the nature of their approach returns a personal element to a struggle that has long oriented towards an ambiguous group rather than distinct individuals.  As one organizer explains, “We go name by name […] They stop being ‘the homeless’ and become people we all know. And we become very vested in making sure John Smith is housed and safe and has the services he needs to stay housed.” Staying housed is no small feat. It’s all well and good if organizers manage to coordinate with local organizations and utilize available resources to get an individual into stable housing for a few days, a week — but can their case justifiably be considered a success if they end up back on the street in a month? Persisting homelessness after intervention indicates a problem in the system that organizers need to note and fix if they hope to avoid similar issues in the future. To achieve this, they need to maintain that personal connection — to check in and take the time to tinker with the system if they find flaws.

If the Built for Zero project proves anything, it would be that empathy and collaboration win out over sheer resources when it comes to social change. While additional funds will always be helpful, communities likely already have the structures and tools they need to achieve a functional zero state — they just haven’t pieced them together yet. The endpoint for homelessness comes at the intersection of empathy and coordination; we just need to implement a plan for getting there.

What Condoms Can Teach Us About Sustainability

Lessons in running an eco-smart business can sometimes come from unexpected places.

Sustainability has gone from a fringe concern to a key factor in countless successful businesses in under a decade. It can be seen in everything, from finance and consumer goods, to education and transportation — not to mention condoms.

Yes, condoms.

Jeffrey and Meika Hollender are the father-daughter team who founded Sustain Natural, a nontoxic, eco-friendly vegan condom line, in 2013. As Meika Hollender told the New York Times last year — and as Jeffrey Hollender wrote for the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2015 — the latex in Sustain condoms is produced at a Fair Trade rubber plantation in India, and produced at a solar-powered factory. Most significantly, the condoms do not contain nitrosamines, which are found in many popular brands and have been tabbed as a possible carcinogen.

“Everyone is thinking about the ingredients in their food and their makeup,” Meika Hollender told the Times. “But no one is thinking about the ingredients that go in the products they put in the most intimate parts of our body.”

The advent of Sustain is in keeping with Jeffrey Hollender’s efforts at sustainability; he also founded Seventh Generation, which produces green cleaning products, baby diapers and laundry detergent.

It is also in keeping with a more widespread trend that has seen major players take stock of how their practices affect the outside world. In adapting to this global practice, the companies that are able to accommodate a more conscientious view are seeing the benefits. When it comes to being sustainable, one thing is for certain: it’s not just for niche businesses anymore.

According to the 2016 State of Sustainable Business Survey — which included responses from 300 business leaders and 152 global companies — 49 percent of the respondents indicated that sustainability is among their CEO’s top five priorities, up from 35 percent a year earlier. The survey further revealed that sustainability is at least fairly well-integrated in nearly 70 percent of companies, and 72 percent of the respondents indicated that the concept is a prominent part of the company’s stated purpose.

Faisal Hoque, the founder of a business-management company known as Shadoka, has long advocated for sustainability, going so far as to quote management guru Peter Drucker: “Indeed the modern organization was expressly created to have results on the outside, that is, to make a difference in its society or its economy.”

Hoque also outlined seven fundamentals of sustainable business growth:

  1. Authentic purpose
  2. A powerful brand
  3. Partnership and collaboration
  4. Customer retention
  5. Community
  6. Repeatable sales
  7. Flexible, adaptive leadership

Jeffrey Hollender noted in his piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review that companies can, and should, strive to be net positive, a concept succinctly explained byThe Guardian: Businesses have positive and negative impacts on the environment and society. For a company to be net positive, the latter need to greater than the former. Or, as the Guardian further explained: “The natural world and society should be better off with companies than without them … or so the theory says.”

Jeffrey Hollender believes he has achieved that with Sustain. Besides being nitrosamine-free, his condoms are low in proteins that cause allergies and packaged in recycled materials. They are also produced in a factory, that in addition to being solar-powered, meets standards for waste reduction, water collection and energy savings, and one in which employees are paid three times the minimum wage.

Further, Sustain donates 10 percent of its profits to women’s reproductive healthcare. It is employee- and female-owned, and its goal, Jeffrey Hollender writes, is empowering women — altering the negative attitudes and impacting the cultural restraints that result in what he described as “dangerously low levels of condom use among young American women.”

Jeffrey Hollender cited BT, a telecommunications giant based in the United Kingdom, as another company that has embraced sustainability. BT has set as its goal the reduction of carbon emissions by at least three times the company’s current footprint by 2020.

Another European company, a home-improvement outfit known as Kingfisher, has four big goals, coupled with 12 major targets, all of them centered on saving energy and money while reducing environmental harm. The goal is to achieve all of them no later than 2025.

Then there is IKEA, the furniture retailer. Among its many initiatives, it is striving toward 100 percent renewable energy, as well as the sourcing of all its wood from more sustainable sources by 2020. According to the company’s website, its various commitments have resulted in $1 billion in climate action.

Not only is it possible in this day and age to have a sustainable company, it is also increasingly a necessity.

This article was originally published on Entrepreneur

What Warren Buffett Can Teach Us About Eliminating Risk

This post was originally featured on ScoreNYC

Warren Buffett, also known as The Oracle of Omaha, has been a shining example of investing and business acumen since he became a billionaire nearly three decades ago. There’s a multitude of lessons to be gleaned from his career, but perhaps most inspiring (and applicable across disciplines) is Buffett’s approach to risk. It’s a philosophy that has served him and his firm Berkshire Hathaway well throughout the years, and encompasses a few key points.

For Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, risk is a four-letter word. That doesn’t mean that certain deals or investments are risky based strictly on their own merits. Rather, according to Buffett, risk is something that you either create or eliminate on your own through research and due diligence. As he famously summed it up, “risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

We can eliminate risk, according to Buffett, strictly through our own preparation. This means resisting the allure of fast-rising bubbles, or propositions that carry a slight chance of getting huge with better odds of cratering out. For many, this requires a change in how we look at risks in investment. It’s less a dangerous entity to be fearful of than an unmapped territory, worth traversing but only with the right equipment.

Know the Worst Case Scenario

One prominent school of evolutionary thought proposes that species thrive due to an understanding of potential risks, and a thoughtful use of this instinct will serve you well in investing. Buffett’s primary criteria, before getting to the real research, is determining the likelihood of catastrophic failure in the investment you’re considering. Even if the ceiling is high, a low floor means that it’s not a chance worth taking.

A practical approach to investment demands such a measured stance. Some investors are in it for the thrill, but those ups and downs are no way to sustain a portfolio, especially one as consistently profitable as Buffett’s. We hold on to negative memories more than positive onesfor a reason: they reduce our chance of getting burned again. One advantage we have over our primitive ancestors? We can do our research.

Expand Your Circle of Competence

The ability to find a safe investment comes from your own knowledge, what Buffett calls your “circle of competence.” Thinking about investing in something new and exciting, like cryptocurrency? Unless you’re versed in volatile internet-based entities, it’s probably best to stay away. As Buffett likes to say “never invest in a business you don’t understand.”

That’s not to say that investment opportunities are a series of tantalizing items labeled “do not touch.” on the contrary, expanding your circle of competence is a primary component investment success. No investor is an instant expert, but building up your knowledge incrementally and organically not only makes you a more well-rounded investor, it sets you up to expand your portfolio as the years go by.

Be Ready to Miss Out on Opportunities

Risk avoidance is often a matter of knowing when to pull the trigger on a deal, and when to let it pass. Think of a professional poker game, the ones you see late at night on ESPN. These high-rolling players fold on the majority of hands, only playing in when they know they’ve got something worth bringing to the table. In investing, Buffett advocates for a similar approach.

A lot of investment opportunities might look enticing, but remember that without the right cards in hand, you’re exposing yourself to unwelcome danger. It’s best to err on the side of caution when you’re dealing with your investment dollar. There are always going to be opportunities, and it’s more about finding the right one for your knowledge than jumping on the same train that everyone else is getting on

Buffett’s refreshing candor about his bets that didn’t pay off illustrates how much success in investment is predicated on a healthy amount of failure. That’s the risk we take everyday, and an unavoidable part of doing business. Everyone faces failure at some point in business and in life. There will be an element of risk and failure in every step you take, especially in investing. You just need to be willing to learn from them.

In short, Buffett’s risk strategy amounts to this: apply a strong deal of hard work and common sense and more often than not, you’ll be able to identify which investments are worth making and which aren’t. This simple approach shouldn’t be too surprising to those familiar with the investment giant’s down-home image, but as is usual with Buffett, a great deal of hard-earned wisdom lies beneath these simple words.

All Entrepreneurs Face Failure But the Successful Ones Didn’t Quit

This post was originally featured on Entrepreneur
Fear of failure is natural. In entrepreneurship, overcoming your fears is essential.

Everybody enjoys a success story. Vicariously living out our fantasies through those who achieved success gives us hope it will happen to us. But, listening to these stories doesn’t do us any favors because those tales aren’t the whole picture: the struggles, the tough breaks, the defeats that set the stage for the eventual big win.

The fact is, while there are an infinite number of ways that successful entrepreneursmake their money, there’s only one thing they all have in common: failure.

There’s no shortage of examples of great successes who had to struggle before they became the winners we now know them as. Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg was rejected from U.S.C film school. Thomas Edison went through thousands of prototypes before perfecting his light bulb. “Colonel” Harland Sanders didn’t hit it big with KFC until he was 68 years old.

Even Bill Gates, maybe the most successful businessman in history, didn’t rocket straight to the top with Microsoft. It’s not a well-known fact that his first company, called Traf-O-Data, was an early attempt at using computerized data to improve traffic surveys for municipal governments. Gates and his partners spent countless hours refining their hardware and working out all the details to make the business work. But, when it came time to wow the county officials who would be their customers, the machine was a bust.

Gates and his number two, Paul Allen, were certainly discouraged but ended up being better suited for their real business revolution that was yet to come. To hear Allen tell the story: “even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later. We taught ourselves to simulate how microprocessors work using DEC computers, so we could develop software even before our machine was built.”

That valuable experience in development led to the founding of the software company that would make them both multi-billionaires.

Now, this certainly doesn’t mean that failure is a guarantee of future success. If that were the case, private jets would outnumber commercial ones. What failure is, for the lucky ones, is a stepping stone to greater things. By refusing to let it define you, and learning from the experience, you give yourself the wisdom to make big things happen for yourself going forward.

One thing failure gives you is a picture of the other side of trying. As you’re getting ready to make your move, that unknown looms large. Once you’ve failed, as long as you’re still standing on both feet, you’re better off knowing that what hasn’t killed you has only made you stronger. Every successful business story starts out with failing. In doing so, you’re in good company.

When you do get moving, you’ll be better off with the knowledge gained from your endeavor. Life is a constant process of learning, and it’s a well-worn cliche that you learn more from mistakes than successes because it’s true. Seize the opportunity by taking a good, hard look at where you went wrong.

Failing hurts, that’s no secret. Even after reaching the heights of success, the failures that come are difficult as any. But, like a wound that heals itself, you end up with a thicker skin once the pain subsides. Being ready to weather every new storm means holding onto the lessons from the ones that have hit you already.

Your character is defined by your response to adversity. Since failure is a fact of life, there are ways to deal with it so you’ll be able to overcome the setback. It’s a process that can take some time, but responding healthily to lost opportunities is the only way to get back on track. Whether it’s your family, good friends, a favorite book or place to visit, let yourself recharge with familiar comforts. Then, get back out of your comfort zone. This resilience is a requirement for entrepreneurial success.

First, remember that failure doesn’t have to leave a permanent stain you unless you let it. Every future opportunity is a potential win, and you’ll only truly be a failure if you stop trying. Losing out will hurt, but the best salve is to get back to working on that next project. Hang onto the lessons and the knowledge gained, but forget about the pain.

Don’t fool yourself — this failure might not be your last. Embrace it. Risk, after all, is part and parcel of the entrepreneurial experience. When you’ve eliminated your fear of failure, you’ve given yourself the best possible tool for getting to where you want to be. Failing isn’t the destiny of a certain kind of person. Failing is just a byproduct of trying.

I’ll finish by telling you about one of the greatest successes who ever lived: baseball’s best hitter, Ted Williams. He retired with a lifetime .344 batting average, attaining over 2,600 hits in a 19-year career even while missing three years of his athletic prime to serve in World War II and another two years as a combat pilot in the Korean War. With a bit of well-earned humility, the Hall of Famer regarded by most as the greatest to ever swing a bat summed it all up by saying “baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”

So just remember this: even the best baseball hitter in history failed 70 percent of the time he stepped up to the plate. So go ahead and take your swings; it’s what the greats do.

If You’re Not Going Solar, Ask Yourself Why

This post was originally featured on ScoreNYC

If you told every business owner in the largest market in the country that they could reduce long-term expenses, improve their company’s image, and take advantage of cutting-edge technology to improve the environment with one simple conversion, you’d probably be hard-pressed to hear the word “no.”

Which is why it’s a little surprising that New York’s skyscrapers aren’t dotted with solar arrays by now. Sure, solar power has been more widely adopted than ever before, but too many business owners are hesitating, despite the fact that solar energy represents the ultimate win-win-win scenario, benefitting not only businesses but also customers and the world at large.

Looking at the wider picture, the solar industry is amid a nationwide surge. The installation of solar panels nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016, making it the United States’ number-one new energy source in the latter year.

Cities were at the forefront of that growth — the top 20 metropolitan areas for solar power churn out as much as the entire country did in 2010 — and New York was indeed a strong participant in that group. It ranked seventh for total installed panels in the nation, according to a report by Environment New York, a statewide advocacy organization, ahead of such places as San Antonio, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

New York, which had five solar installers in 2005, had 55 by 2015, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation. More impressively, the number of residential solar projects went from 186 in 2011 to more than 5,300 in 2016.

New York’s solar renaissance has been fueled in part by the initiatives of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo mandated two years ago that half of the state’s power come from solar, wind, hydroelectric or other renewable sources by 2030, while de Blasio is aiming to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

According to a 2014 report in the New York Times, de Blasio’s goal is in line with the United Nations’ target for developed countries, in an attempt to curtail the effects of climate change. He went so far as to tell the Times that there is “a moral imperative” to act, while making reference to Hurricane Sandy, a 2012 storm that led to 44 deaths and $19 billion in damage to the city.

He has since unveiled a 3,152-panel rooftop solar installation in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and hopes to generate 100 megawatts of renewable energy on public buildings by 2023. That will not come without cost — it is estimated that it could run as much as $1 billion for all public buildings to be retrofitted with solar panels — but it bears repeating that the technology ultimately pays for itself.

As great as the city’s progress is in the solar realm, far more could be done. One study showed that 66% of New York’s rooftops could be used to harness the power of the sun, and that those panels could provide half of the city’s electricity needs at peak periods. The potential savings are mind-boggling.

There are many other places where far more could be done. While San Diego is №1 on the list of solar cities, just 14% of its small-building solar capacity is being realized. And California legislators have mandated that half of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030; currently it’s about one-fourth, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Nationwide, the solar market nearly doubled its annual record in 2016, and for the first time since 2011, non-residential installation growth outpaced residential installations. Such businesses as Walmart, Costco, IKEA and FedExare at the forefront of the solar business trend, and that pattern is likely to become more widespread.

That, coupled with a boom that could see as many as 3.8 million homesequipped with solar panels in 2020 (up from 30,000 in 2006), figures to make the U.S. a major player on the world’s solar stage. A federal study revealed that if solar panels were installed on every roof in America, they would supply 39% of the total power used in the U.S.

Unfortunately, startup costs are the major factor preventing more residences and businesses from going solar. It is estimated that it can run between $20,000 and $50,000 to install a residential system, and while there is the specter of a rollback of federal alternative-energy incentives under the current presidential administration, city and state programs can foot a sizable portion of the bill.

New York, for instance, offers loan financing for residential, small-commercial and commercial projects through NY-Sun. Residential and small-commercial customers can finance up to $25,000 with a repayment period as long as 15 years. Commercial borrowers may finance up to 100% of any-sized solar projects; the interest rate ranges from 4% to 6.5%. NY-Sun also extends reduced installation costs to borrowers across any of these three categories.

And once more, there are savings on the back end. Solar-powered homes reportedly have cut monthly bills by as much as 85%, and it is estimated that solar energy’s ROI beats the stock market in more than 25 states, including New York.

There is, at least, far less red tape to cut through than there once was. The permit-approval process for a solar system, once as long as two years, has now been reduced to a few days. With the other steps — planning, inspection, etc. — the entire installation can take roughly a month, depending on the financing process.

And at that point, the utility company changes your electrical meter over, and it starts rolling backwards — a magical (not to mention profitable) thing.

This isn’t just pure speculation — in fact, I’ve enjoyed the benefits firsthand. We first installed solar panels in my building, Midtown’s Atelier, in 2011, making it the tallest residential solar installation in the United States. At that point the system generated roughly 10% of the building’s energy and cut utility costs by about $120,000 a year.

We earned back the initial investment in the solar panels in a matter of months, then added additional panels over the next five years, slicing utility costs even more. We were, as a result, able to reinvest those savings back into the building, adding an ice skating rink among other amenities.

Then there are the environmental benefits. Solar panels are virtually noiseless. The only pollution they produce is during the construction process, and that pales in comparison to that which is generated by other forms of energy. After installation, they produce no greenhouse gases.

Looking long-term, there’s no reason for business owners not to throw considerable heft into solar conversion. It’s not only a better deal for the environment, it’s a boon for the bottom line.

Homeless Youth — The Invisible Problem

The years between age 18 and 25 are often thought of as the defining times of our lives. These are the years when young people begin to find their place in the world, whether in education, meaningful employment, or starting their own families.

Sadly, there’s an overlooked cohort of this age group who are simply struggling to survive. Among the stories of exciting new opportunities for young people, recently released studies by the University of Chicago have found that one in ten young peoplenationwide experienced some degree of homelessness in 2016.

It’s a damning statement about the state of the fight against homelessness when the most vulnerable, our young people, are subjected to such unfavorable life conditions. As we’ve seen previously, a disconcerting number of grade school children here in New York City suffer under the same unfortunate circumstances.

These findings, as one University of Chicago researcher points out, challenge the popular image of homelessness. As tempting as it may be for some to think that it’s the result of poor choices or upbringing, the hard facts show that this severe poverty can strike even the most innocent, in varying degrees.

So, what are we to do? Surely, these numbers should be shocking enough to spur major action to fight this problem. Unfortunately, that help has traditionally been slow to enact. It would seem that action from the top needs to happen, and soon. I know I’m not alone in hoping these recent shocking numbers will have that effect.

For those city, state and federal leaders whose policies can make a real impact, the fact that ten percent of our youth have lived in such conditions should serve as a wakeup call. Let us not forget, whether rich or poor, this younger generation comprises our nation’s future. If we can make this future a brighter one for our youngest and most vulnerable, we make it a brighter one for all.

This article was originally published on DanNeiditch.org