Last week Washington, DC played host to almost thirty international and domestic experts on homelessness. Guests from Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US convened with the goal of establishing a strategic and intentional way of sharing information on ending homelessness.
I was lucky enough to sit in on this four day conference and hear about the successes and challenges each country faces, and the strategies these countries are using to address the challenges in the areas of research, policy, and practice. After an engaging discussion in each of these three areas, the group identified a few subtopics they will continue to explore: youth homelessness, prevention, and combining housing with services
What struck me most throughout these discussions were the broad similarities shared among participating countries. This was especially true among the challenges each country faces while creating better policies, conducting meaningful research, and promoting and implementing best practices. The group was eager to share and learn from each other, and plans to continue working together. With my background in international relations, it was fascinating for me to see the convergence of a domestic issue and international collaboration.
Moving forward, the group has the intention of establishing a more formal partnership. Immediate next steps will probably be research-based and may involve “piggy-backing” on existing conferences in the US and elsewhere to share existing research and develop further questions and methodologies. The partnership will have a heavy web-based presence and we look forward to sharing our findings with a wider audience!
The Alliance was thrilled to be a part of such an engaging group and looks forward to the future of this partnership.
Image ©2011 Google