26 July 2013
26 July 2013,

 By Julia Burkhead, Director of Operations

Julia, our Director of Operations, attended the 2013 National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington D.C. this past week. Read about her experiences and what has inspired her. 




julia websiteEarlier this week, I was excited to have the opportunity to attend the 2013 National Conference on Ending Homelessness sponsored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  The Conference workshops offered resources to advocates, funders, service providers and Continuum of Care (CoC) leaders on topics including HEARTH regulations, systems change, rapid rehousing strategies, and strategies for ending homelessness for subpopulations such as youth, families and chronically homeless individuals.

It was inspiring to hear about communities that are making significant strides toward ending homelessness.  I detected a number of common practices in high performing communities and began to reflect on how CTA and our partners can learn from their experiences.  Here are some of my thoughts:

·       To achieve community-wide outcome objectives, everyone—from funders and CoC leaders to agency intake workers and shelter workers—needs to be working together.  Who will take the lead on training every agency’s front-line staff on proven methodologies like Housing First and Harm Reduction?

·       Service providers in high-performing communities hold each other accountable for good data quality and strong outcomes by publishing program information publicly.  In addition to encouraging healthy competition, this can inspire teamwork, with leading programs mentoring the laggers.

·       Medicaid funding has been critical to helping high-performing communities provide the level of supportive services necessary to help their clients succeed.  What can we do locally to help our partners gain access to this valuable resource?

·       Targeting the right services to the right people at the right time is the key to reducing the length of time people remain homeless.  At least one study has shown that giving too many services to someone who doesn’t need them will keep that person homeless longer.  I picked up some interesting tools that communities are using to “right size” their response to homelessness.

I am interested to hear your thoughts!

If you want to hear more about the conference, contact me or CTA’s other partners who were in attendance: Sparky Harlan and Lynn Morison from Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara, Lori Collins from InnVision Shelter Network in Menlo Park, and Monica Martinez from Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz.  Additional information about the conference, including materials that were distributed by presenters, is also available athttp://www.endhomelessness.org/.  I hope you’ll join me there next year!

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