Estimating Project Marked Webcor's 1st Work For Urban Vision Alliance, New Homeless Advocacy Organization

Sr. EVP/CFO Matt Reece was among those who spoke during a press conference that introduced the world to the Urban Vision Alliance (UVA).

March 14, 2022


Matt Reece was among those who spoke during a press conference that introduced the world to the Urban Vision Alliance (UVA), which seeks to solve street homelessness by building alliances between various stakeholders across industries. Matt, Sr. EVP, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer, represented Webcor, one of UVA's inaugural partners.

The press conference, held at the offices of Gensler, the architecture firm with which Webcor has worked on a number of projects, introduced the UVA's "collective impact approach to deliver a portfolio of solutions," according to Gabriel Baldinucci, CEO, co-founder, and chairman of the board. Gabriel presented the organization's vision to Webcor employees during a 2019 session at the company's King Street headquarters.

Over the course of the press conference, Gabriel and his colleagues, along with representatives of partner organizations, outlined the core problems faced in addressing homelessness. Chief among them is the lack of a shared vision and model. In San Francisco alone, Gabriel said, there are nearly 100 organizations spending time and money on homeless solutions that do not coordinate their efforts and, in many cases, are not even aware of each other.

UVA's solution is centered around using undeveloped land, capital, and talent to establish transitional and other housing paired with wraparound services that will address the root cause of homelessness for each individual or family. Stereotypes mask the multiple causes of homelessness, which include lack of affordable housing, income inequality, systemic racial inequalities, physical and behavioral health issues, addiction, and violence and trauma.

"We will look for projects where we don't need to purchase land," Gabriel explained. The inaugural UVA coalition that includes Webcor is comprised of more than 30 nonprofit organizations and businesses. They include the Salvation Army, which plans to add 1,500 beds in transitional housing over the next several years; plans including new structures on land the Salvation Army already owns. Other partners, like Webcor, will contribute pro bono services to help bring these projects to fruition.

"Webcor's higher calling is to build solutions and better lives," Matt told the audience. "Partnering with UVA is an opportunity for us to do both. For all of us at Webcor, the homeless situation is heartbreaking. We are excited about UVA's approach, we believe in it, and we are excited to play a part in it.

"A place to live will always be at the heart of any solution to the homeless problem," Matt said. "We are looking forward to applying our skills to solving this problem and really making a difference in people's lives."

To date, UVA has attracted $7.8 million in in-kind services, along with $1.7 million to fund the organization's operations. Webcor has already contributed with estimating work on one of the first UVA projects, a Salvation Army transitional housing project that Gensler helped design.

"We have estimated a few different sites and some of the sites multiple times," says Webcor EVP Jit Pahilajani. "Some of the block-and-tackle is the same as a typical budget for a typical client, making sure you are giving them a complete number, asking right questions, etc. There is also an education piece: High-density housing requires even more creative solutions to make things efficient which is what we do best and are very excited to bring that to the table for the team."

Jit is enthusiastic about Webcor's potential ability to bring UVA projects to reality sooner rather than later. "The best part about all this was that the effort was done pro bono and we had multiple people in our estimating department volunteer to help," he says. "That speaks to the community part of our core values and what removing homelessness from our streets means to the people at Webcor."

Learn more about the UVA on its website. You can watch the slides and listen to the presentations from the press conference below: