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Wrong Santo Gairo?

Mr. Santo Gairo

Executive Director

Bucks County Housing Group Inc

HQ Phone: (215) 598-3566

Email: s***@***.org

Bucks County Housing Group Inc

2324 2Nd Street Pike Suite 17

Wrightstown, Pennsylvania 18940

United States

Company Description

BCHG is the largest provider of homeless services in Bucks County, caring primarily for families with children as part of several housing programs. BCHG maintains a total of 237 family homeless beds across several programs. BCHG maintains homeless beds in... more

Find other employees at this company (43)

Background Information

Employment History

Founder and Visionary Leader

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

Executive Director

Bucks County


Board Member
PA Low Income Housing Coalition


BS Degree

Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science

Masters Degree

The School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania

Web References (36 Total References)

Bucks County Housing Group, Inc. - About Us

www.bchg.org [cached]

Bucks County Housing Group began as a grass-roots initiative in the late 1970's when community members, led by Santo Gairo, successfully lobbied Bucks County government to support the establishment of a homeless shelter in the county.

Since its formal beginning in 1980, Santo Gairo has served as a visionary leader.Mr. Gairo was, and remains, a tireless, passionate and committed advocate for the client families Housing Group serves.As Executive Director, Mr. Gairo is the driving force of the organization and has overseen the successful growth of the organization.With a budget of $29,000 in 1980 to the present day $2.7 million budget, Mr. Gairo has creatively engaged funders at the federal, state, county and private levels.
Mr. Gairo intends to retire from day-to-day oversight of Housing Group in October of 2007.
Mr. Gairo earned a BS Degree from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science in 1966 and received a Masters Degree from The School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972.Mr. Gairo has been a resident of Bucks County for 40 years.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania - Board of Directors

www.palihc.org [cached]

Santo Gairo, Bucks County Housing Group

Staff and Board

www.buckscountytma.org [cached]

Santo Gairo, Bucks County Housing Group

Coalition for Low Income Community Development (CLICD)

www.clicd.org [cached]

Santo Gairo, Bucks County Housing Group

Santo Gairo, the executive director of the Bucks County Housing Group (BCHG) in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, describes himself as an idealist, a dreamer, and something of a radical, a housing advocate who could be just as happy living life as a poet. He claims that his major weakness is follow-up, not always being able to implement his dreams.
Gairo made a very conscious decision to go after CDBG as a central source of funding for the group. One of his reasons was that he simply wanted to get the problem out in the open. He says, "We felt that homelessness was a public problem and should be dealt with using public money. We wanted to create the expectation in the mind of public officials that they were responsible for dealing with this."
It was a tough sell. Many felt that there was no need for homeless programs in Bucks County. Public perception was that homelessness was largely an urban, black problem. In response to Gairo's repeated attempts to convince people otherwise, state legislators tried to divide and conquer along city/suburb lines, assuring people that homelessness was a problem that Philadelphia would have to deal with, not Bucks County.
Gairo used a variety of tactics to prove that there really was a need for the county to deal with the problem of homelessness. He began referring homeless people to the county government, sending them into government buildings to ask for help. He brought homeless people to County Commisioners' meetings, intentionally picking people who would play against the commonly held stereotypes. For example, he brought homeless white children to one of these hearings. Gairo says that he was quite straightforward with the children and their parents about what he was doing, telling them that he was using them to prove that homelessness was not simply an "urban, black" problem, but a problem for everyone.
Gairo backed up these dramatic and emotional gestures with solid facts, as well. He provided county administrators with statistical evidence that homelessness was, in fact, a county problem.
Two things about Santo Gairo's approach to proving need are critical to note. First, he used a mixture of emotional and factual tactics. He went after the heads and the hearts of the people whose minds he was trying to change. (For a brilliant example of this approach, see the Slide Show in Asheville sidebar on page 17.) Second, he always focused on the issue at hand. He avoided simply trying to sell his organization. Gairo says that the question must always be framed as, "How is this issue going to be resolved_" not, "How much money am I going to get_" In this same vein, you'll notice that, even though the Blackland CDC in the previous chapter is a community group, not an advocacy organization, it focused on larger social issues than simply building up its own neighborhood.
Of CDBG, Gairo says, "It is with CDBG funds that this agency got its start, offering us the chance to educate, challenge, criticize, cajole, beat-up, support, etc." In the next chapter we'll see what far-reaching effects Gairo's decision to pursue CDBG funding had on the entire county government.
San Rafael, California
If Santo Gairo's selling job was tough, Susan Molloy's was almost impossible.
This seemed like a promising avenue and Molloy began referring people to the local center in much the same way that Santo Gairo referred homeless people to the Bucks County government.
Santo Gairo of Bucks County Housing Group agrees.

Press Releases

www.thompsonnetworks.com [cached]

No one knows that better than Santo Gairo, founder and executive director of the Bucks County Housing Group (BCHG), a private non-profit social service organization serving homeless and low-income families in Bucks County.

Mr. Gairo was the guest of honor at a gala event on November 17 in New Hope to celebrate the work of the organization and to honor him at the time of his retirement.
"Over Santo's 30 years of commitment to supporting families in need, his leadership and guidance has touched and improved thousands of lives" he explained.

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