MEET OUR NEW DIRECTOR: BRIAN CAROME
In November, Brian Carome joined the staff of Street Sense as the new executive director. He arrives with more than 20 years of senior and executive management experience at local nonprofit social service organizations. Previously, he served as executive director at Housing Opportunities for Women, Project Northstar and A-SPAN. Carome also completed a program in nonprofit management at Georgetown University’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership.
Reporting to the organization’s board of directors, Street Sense’s executive director oversees fundraising, budgeting and financial management, public relations, staff development and strategic planning.
“I look forward to building on the work that founders Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Henson began,” says Carome. “Public education is an important, although often overlooked, aspect of the struggle against poverty and homelessness, and Street Sense plays a central role in that effort.”
When asked about his vision for the future of Street Sense, Carome indicated that his top priority is bringing long-term financial sustainability to the organization and improving its internal infrastructure. He added that he hoped the newspaper could expand both its readership and coverage into the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs.
“Homelessness is a regional problem, and understanding and solving it will take a regional approach,” he said. “I hope that we can inform the conversation amongst policymakers and elected officials as they grapple with the affordable housing and health needs of persons who are homeless and living in extreme poverty.”
Carome received a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington in 1985 and took a job at the Father McKenna Center, a drop-in center for the area’s homeless and low-income residents. In addition to running the Center’s winter emergency shelter, he also oversaw its advocacy efforts.
“When I began my career, homelessness was the issue. There were daily stories in The New York Times and Washington Post. Led by a few charismatic leaders like Mitch Snyder and Bob Hayes, there was a tangible, vibrant movement to end homelessness. And that movement was fueled by a sense of outrage that homelessness even existed in such a wealthy nation. Over time, we have become desensitized to the outrageousness of homelessness and extreme poverty and we have accepted it as just part of the landscape. Street Sense exists to elevate voices of public debate relating to poverty, including the issue of homelessness. In that way, it serves as a mechanism to remind all of us that these are issues that deserve and demand our attention.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Carome resides in Arlington, Va., with his wife and children.