Sara Vander Zanden

What if the solution to homelessness is right in your own backyard?

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About Sara Vander Zanden

Social movement mobilizer Sara Vander Zanden leads Facing Homelessness, a grassroots nonprofit that invites community to end the social injustice of homelessness. Under her leadership, the organization launched an unprecedented housing initiative to support people living outside – the BLOCK Project. By building small, self-sufficient, and off-grid homes in residential backyards, the BLOCK Project unleashes the power of community and reveals that we each have a role in ending homelessness. Sara’s background in organizational psychology and communications has shaped the strategic framework of the BLOCK Project and positioned the movement for global impact. Her work shifts the paradigm: Yes, in my backyard.

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About This Idea

The BLOCK Project is presenting a new solution to homelessness, encouraging communities to place BLOCK Homes—fully equipped, 125 square foot, off-the-grid homes—in the backyards of single-family homes in Seattle. Sara Vander Zanden, Executive Director of The Block Project, took the stage as part of the Hive Program at TEDMED 2017 and shared how the organization's work is fostering connections and new community relationships.

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More Talks from the Hive

These talks are all a part of special session at TEDMED, called "Audacious" where we invite our innovators to take the stage and share the central idea they are working on, in short 2-minute talks. These talks are creatively grouped by 4 mini-segments, that serves as a creative link between each talk. To find out more visit The Hive page.