National Alliance to End Homelessness – Annual Meeting
From July 17th to July 19th our office manager/research assistant, Phillip Sheldon, had the opportunity to participate in National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC (Here is the conference program). This nation-wide gathering involved professionals from various fields – including social workers, Continuum of Care leaders, and government officials – united in the desire to end homelessness in America.
Session topics ranged from “Rural Homelessness” to “Lessons Learned from Re-Housing After Disasters.” One session, “Addressing the Opioid Crisis for People Who Experience Homelessness,” was especially informative. Three panelists from around the country talked about the data behind our current opioid crisis and best practices in working with homeless individuals who suffer from opioid dependency.
Two plenary speakers set the tone for the conference: HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson and Rep. Maxine Waters. Secretary Carson opened his speech with a “tale of two sunsets in America” – one sunset that calls the housed home and the other sunset that precedes a night of uncertainty and danger for the homeless of America. Voicing his support for the housing first model, Sect. Carson’s speech reached its crescendo when he stated “A man will not beat addiction from a gutter, he will not get psychiatric help underneath a bridge, and he will not find a steady job without a steady address.” (Here is summary of the Secretary’s speech from PBS)
Rep. Maxine Waters closed the conference with a rousing speech on the necessity of affordable housing for addressing the plight of America’s homeless. In the first half of her speech Rep. Waters congratulated those in attendance for the progress they have made toward ending homelessness in America. In the latter half of her speech Rep. Waters admonished the proposed cuts to HUD by the current administration, stating that such cuts will stymie the progress that has been made over the last decade. Rep. Waters was sure to let us know that such federal (in)action cannot halt progress we our communities toward ending homelessness.
Many thanks to the National Alliance to End Homelessness for putting on such an inspiring and thought-provoking conference!
To stay informed on the topic of homelessness in American follow NAEH on Facebook.