Noelle Francois runs an unfunded organization called Heat Seek NYC. We reviewed their grant proposals and provided Noelle with a helpful and candid feedback report from a hand-selected team of experts. Noelle’s proposal is one of the most innovative and smart proposals we’ve read and also one of the best examples of the kinds of solutions that exist but are routinely left unfunded.
The pathway out of homelessness is a long one that runs alongside system-wide problems and structural inequities. The solution to homelessness is considerably more complicated than the simple providing of homes or meals or support services. Homeless individuals have individual problems and issues that block their path. One such issue, particularly in NYC and other regions with cold winters, is heat. Landlords are often required by law to provide heat for the tenants when it is freezing but how is that enforced? To report violators, low-income tenants are expected to fill out a variety of forms and complete a series of confusing steps. Heat SEEK NYC provides technological tools and support solutions that keep the heat on.
Noelle Francois is the CEO of the organization and she focuses on fundraising and developing partnerships with tenant advocacy organizations, government agencies, elected officials, and housing developers and landlords. She received her master’s degree in public administration from New York University and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and literary & cultural studies from the College of William and Mary. She has previously worked at the Center for an Urban Future as a Research Assistant. While she contributed to a variety of research projects, her primary focus was a report detailing the lack of available capital funding for NYC’s three library systems, and how that prevented comprehensive capital planning and stymied innovation.
In addition to providing her with candid and helpful feedback from our evaluation committee, Unfunded List worked with our partners at Nexus HQ to allow Noelle to attend for free as part of the Unfunded List delegation to Nexus’s annual Global Summit comprised of almost 1000 young change makers from all over the world. During the summit, we took a quick break to chat and recorded it.