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Housing Advocate and Columbia Graduate Student, Rosanne Haggerty, Receives Prestigious MacArthur Fellowship

By Kristin Sterling

Rosanne Haggerty

Last week, Roseanne Haggerty, a real estate entrepreneur and graduate student at Columbia's School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, received a telephone call from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation informing her that she was one of 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Fellowships. One of the unique aspects of this Fellowship is that there are no applications or interviews for the prestigious award, worth $500,000 over five years. The first contact with the Foundation comes in the form of a telephone call, providing notification of the award. She is the 21st Columbian to receive this honor.

Haggerty has spent her career in real estate and low-income housing development. In 1990, she conceived and founded Common Ground, a non-profit housing organization that restores hotels and residences and makes them available to low-income and homeless people. Her flagship projects alone provided more than 1,000 living spaces that also offer residents support, structure and employment opportunities and contribute to neighborhood revitalization. The success of Haggerty's projects has raised questions about traditional approaches to low-income housing by demonstrating that a mix of populations can successfully coexist.

More recently Haggerty has translated her endeavors to housing opportunities for young people leaving foster care, homeless transitioning from hospitals and long-term street people.

The MacArthur Fellows Program describes Haggerty as a committed social service champion and determined leader who applies her expertise in real estate, finance, management and strategic planning to address the unique challenges of housing low-income or otherwise disadvantaged urban residents.

A graduate of Amherst College, Haggerty now serves as a trustee at her alma mater and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Additionally, she is a director of the Times Square Business Improvement District and of Dwelling Place Women's Shelter as well as a board member of the Center for Urban Community Services and New York City's Citizens Housing and Planning Council.

This year, MacArthur Fellowships, often referred to as "genius awards" were awarded to 11 women and 12 men, ranging in age from 29 to 62. The group represents a wide array of occupations, including astrobiologist, astrophysicist, concert pianist and natural historian.

"We hope the Fellowships will provide new freedom and opportunity over an extended period of time in support of these Fellows' demonstrated potential for still greater achievement," said program director Daniel Socolow. "They join a group, now over 600 strong, of original and creative people of all ages and groups across a wide array of human endeavors linked together by their individual commitments to discovering and advancing knowledge and to improving society."

Published: Oct 29, 2001
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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