Innovative Approaches to Addressing Homelessness


Homelessness is a complicated issue that affects virtually all cities large and small. This panel will explore how one downtown improvement district developed a holistic, data-driven approach to addressing homelessness in and around city parks, allowing park stakeholders to make more informed, purposeful decisions in helping unhoused individuals build a path to housing stability.

It will share the process of growing a small grassroots effort to a thriving initiative lauded by both the housed and unhoused park community. This story is complemented by results from a Canadian study highlighting how parks have a role to play in homelessness prevention and systems change.


  • Understand the social problems related to homelessness in parks and other public spaces
  • Identify opportunities to incorporate social supportive services, including mental wellness around park programing to address the needs of unhoused park patrons
  • Explore ways to intentionally connect business interests and community relationships in and around parks while advancing a holistic approach to addressing homelessness that contributes to safe and healthy communities
  • Identify opportunities for the parks sector to play a proactive role in homelessness prevention and systems change
  • Learn strategies from parks professionals on ways to adopt inclusive design practices that support the dignity and well-being of unhoused people in parks


Nakasha Shoyinka

Program Manager, Central Atlanta Progress, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

Brenda Aguirre

Superintendent of Emergency Operations and Citywide Aquatics, LA Parks

Adri Stark

Project Manager, Park People