Conferences and Events

16th February
written by naehblog

Today’s guest post comes to us from Shahera Hyatt.

I would first like to start off by thanking the Alliance for explicitly including youth in this year’s conference on ending homelessness. For those of us who work day in and out on this issue, it was great to be with others to share our knowledge, experience, and passion for this work.

There were a few themes over the course of the conference regarding youth homelessness, with the first being the need for more timely and consistent data on this population. Not only was there a workshop on this topic, but Nan Roman gave considerable time to the issue in her plenary speech on the first day of the conference. She stated that even though the current data on the size and scope of youth homelessness is severely lacking (and I whole-heartedly agree), moving forward with the data we’ve got is absolutely critical.

To that end, she presented data from the NISMART-II in a new way, stating that about 96 percent of runaways under the age of 18 return home within one week (although many cycle in and out of homelessness). Policy Analyst Samantha Batko translated the data in a way that hasn’t been done before by identifying characteristics about the trajectory of youth homelessness in the hopes to shed new light on where interventions should be targeted.

This information indicates that supporting crisis interventions to help facilitate the process of returning home is essential. While in the case of the 400,000 who are unable or unwilling to return home for various reasons such as abuse or parental incarceration, utilizing housing strategies such as transitional living or permanent supportive housing would be most useful. While many of us wonder how the NISMART data holds up today, we hope that there are still valuable lessons to be learned that can be applied and implemented immediately.

The second theme was the need for a variety of different housing strategies for homeless youth and young adults to get them into stable living conditions. There was a particular emphasis on rapid re-housing, a model that has been successful for other segments of the homeless population.

The third theme was the heterogeneity of the homeless youth. This was repeated time and again by various presenters. The workshop on creating a blueprint to end youth homelessness focused largely on creating a new typology that recognizes these differences, subtly urging the audience to consider the unique needs of each youth in determining interventions. This typology identified three groups: the temporarily disconnected (this population generally retums home on their own), the unstably connected (for which family reunification may be most helpful), and the chronically disconnected (best served by permanent supportive housing or transitional housing).

I look forward to seeing how these ideas continue to evolve both in policy and in practice.

Shahera Hyatt is the Director of the California Homeless Youth Project where her focus is translating research on homeless youth for the legislative audience. Hyatt is also the co-chair of the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center’s Homeless Youth Initiative, and is a member of the Alliance’s National Advisory Council on LGBT youth.

14th February
written by naehblog

Today’s guest post is written by Ankita Patel. She blogged from the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

I’m currently at the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness in Los Angeles, where a lot of creative thinkers are sitting together, learning from each other, and sharing creative solutions to reach the common goal of housing families and youth in the right way and the shortest amount of time.

There seems to be a few points are emerging:

  • Shift program-based thinking to systems-based thinking.
  • •Systems, and not just programs in isolation, must address issues including the lack of affordable housing, limitation of shelter space, and long waiting lists for public housing. The key is to form inclusive partnerships which employ effective strategies to change the way a homeless assistance system responds to families in crisis.
  • Track and use data to your advantage. Data is the cornerstone of evaluation; without it, we cannot understand the  performance of the system and whether the system is meeting the goals of the program.
  • Rapid re-housing/prevention works for the majority of families. It’s not just about housing; it includes wraparound services. The services may be “light touch services” (where someone needs assistance to pay off an old debt) whereas others may need advocacy from beginning to end.

We, as domestic violence advocates, cannot ignore the issues of homeless families, just as housing advocates cannot ignore the fact that domestic and sexual assault, as well as domestic sex trafficking, impacts the ability to gain and retain safe and stable housing.

I am extremely energized by the positivity and creativity, as well as the commitment that everyone has to end homelessness on a national level. Thank you, National Alliance to End Homelessness for hosting this conference.

Ankita Patel works for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) in the Fatality Review and Domestic Violence Housing First projects. She is an alumnus of Seattle University School of Law and has been with WSCADV since 2008.

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10th February
written by Catherine An

This week, there were several news articles about homelessness – a handful that even referenced the National Alliance to End Homelessness specifically (like this Scientific American piece about chronic homelessness, this editorial about the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness from San Jose Inside, and this story about the Alliance’s effort to end homelessness in the state of Virginia from the Richmond Times Dispatch) – but I thought it would be fun to highlight some great tweets and Facebook posts from the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness taking place right now in Los Angeles, CA!

To see these posts on your own accounts, make sure to follow the Alliance on both Facebook and Twitter.

FamilyHomeless: Did you miss yesterday’s Tweet & Greet at #NAEH12? No worries – just join @ThinkT3 today in the lobby at 2PM PT! @naehomelessness

jillf50: Activist/writer Barbara Ehrenrich on #homelessworkers & “the myth of the poverty payoff” @gatesfoundation @HuffPost @naehomelessness

UMOM: @naehomelessness this session is great! Learning great tips and strategies for using sm 2 end homelessness! #NAEH12 @hardlynormal

khanlon: A #ff to D’Arcy Klingle @naehomelessness for her amazing months of prep work for #naeh12! Thank you!

100khomes: Nan Roman introduces Mark Johnston of HUD: “He has so much integrity, and so much trust.” #NAEH12

funderstogether: RT @naehomelessness: “Rapid re-housing has been an unqualified success” for ending family homelessness – Mark Johnston at #NAEH12

fbxyouth: “Working together, we have the ability to change the world around us.” Susan Baker of @naehomelessness at #NAEH12 Conference. Let’s do this!

USICHgov: @USICH’s Zeilinger moderates wkshop #NAEH122:30pm Innovative Partnerships w/PHAs. Innovative models being used to end #homelessness
@Anacapa: Really great points about helping people w/cognitive issues. @AscenciaCA’s outreach case managers help tremendously with that. #NAEH

jill_remelski: RT @lostawareness: Mistakes will happen. Be transparent. Be honest. Add humour. Mark Horvath @#naeh12

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9th February
written by naehblog

Today’s guest post is written by Iain DeJong, who is blogging from the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

Kicking off the Family and Youth Conference was a pre-conference session on coordinated entry.  Led by Kim Walker, Capacity Building Associate with the Alliance, the room of approximately 50 people was engaged in a lively presentation examining the key areas of success in approaching coordinated entry for a homeless service system.

The concept of coordinated entry has been an area where the Alliance has been investing more time as of late. This is not only because it is a good idea, but because communities are being required to think in terms of systems, not a collection of projects. It has also been top of mind for a number of communities across the nation, communities that are grappling with how best to meet consumer needs while leveraging the unique talents of service providers.

What are some of the necessary ingredients to make the coordinated approach successful?

-          An open HMIS that allows for better communication between providers

-          Data sharing agreements

-          Buy-in by service providers

-          Strong emphasis on diversion

-          Programs that deliver what they say they deliver

-          Accountability and communication across providers

-          Common assessment tool used in the community

-          Focus on getting the right person to the right program at the right time

-          No “side doors” to service access (an individual or family going directly to a service provider rather than through the coordinated access)

While further evaluation is necessary to refine coordinated entry approaches, early evidence from several communities that have been engaged with this type of work demonstrates effectiveness compared to uncoordinated access.

It has been my experience (such as my recent work in Detroit) where some providers have seen the concept of coordinated entry as a challenge. It does propose a change in the way that programs work within the broader service system. And it can require designing a service system that is focused on the consumer of services rather than demands by funders, which requires brave and focused discussion. But coordinated entry is not a loss of autonomy for the service provider. Rather, it is an opportunity for agencies to complement each others’ strengths; each agency can play their unique part in ending homelessness. It reminds me that “some of us will always be smarter than one of us.”

Ultimately it is the consumer of services that is the central focus of coordinated entry. Coordinated entry improves their access to the programs that will be most beneficial to ending their homelessness quickly. Coordinated entry isn’t only more efficient, it is a more just way of delivering services.

Iain De Jong is the President & CEO of OrgCode Consulting, Inc. He has been working with many communities to help them improve their housing programs in advance of HEARTH. He is a frequent and popular speaker at Alliance Conferences. You can see him at the Conference in February in Los Angeles. Iain is also the chief blogger, tweeter and FaceBook persona for OrgCode. Take a look at or @orgcode

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8th February
written by Catherine An

Our 2012 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness kicks off tomorrow in sunny Los Angeles! We told you how to follow the conference online on Monday, but we wanted to introduce two of our guest tweeters. This year Shalom Mulkey, Chief Operating Officer, and Kate Seif, Assistant to the President, will be tweeting live from the conference about workshops, plenaries, speakers, and events, using the hashtag: #NAEH12.

Please be sure to share thoughts of your own! Use the hashtag and feel free to post your thoughts, pictures, videos, and feedback on all the Alliance networks: blog, Facebook, and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you about your experience at this year’s National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

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6th February
written by Catherine An

In three short days, the Alliance will kick off the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness in Los Angeles, California. The event – expected to host about 700 direct service providers, advocates, experts, researchers, community leaders, and others – will feature workshops, keynotes, and plenaries about ending family and youth homelessness in the United States.

This year, we’re encouraging our more web –savvy friends and colleagues to join us online and give us thoughts, critiques, comments, and questions about the content at this year’s conference! Below, find four ways to engage with the Alliance online during this year’s west coast conference:

  • Tweet us using #NAEH12
    At last year’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness, we were excited to see so many people using #NAEH11 to discuss workshops, Nan Roman’s keynote speech, plenary sessions, and other features of the conference. This year, we’re encourage all our Twitter friends to do the same! Use #NAEH12 to talk to us and about us at the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.
  • Send us your pictures
    Share with us your smiling faces at this year’s conference! Shoot them over to us via email or Facebook and we’ll be sure to add them to our album – make sure to include your name, organization, and note whether or not you’d prefer us to keep your picture private.
  • Blog for us
    We’re on the lookout for some great guest bloggers specifically from this year’s conference. What did you think of the keynote? The plenary speakers? Which was your favorite workshop and why? Which speakers were the most compelling? How was the conference like for a first-time, a veteran? How can the Alliance conferences be better? What was the best part of the conference? How is our conference informing your work on the ground? We want you to tell us all about your experience in a guest blog post for For more information, please email me.
  • Send us video
    If you happen to have a webcam or a Mac at the conference, share with us short video clips about your experience. Try answering the question, “How will the conference inform your work  serving homeless people?” or “Why do you come to Alliance conferences?” Shoot them over to us via email and we’ll be sure to post them on our YouTube page.

Have questions, comments, suggestions? Let us know by email.

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16th January
written by naehblog

Iain De Jong at an Alliance conference.

Today’s post is guest written by Iain De Jong.

In less than a month, hundreds of folks will be gathering in LA for the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness. Six months after that, several hundred more will gather in DC for the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in July. It is a huge undertaking for the Alliance to organize these conferences and find quality service providers, researchers, and consultants to provide the sessions. It is a big commitment on the part of attendees to take time away from their work to attend. In a time of fiscal restraint it is also a big deal for organizations to set aside funds for people to attend.

So why attend? Is the investment of time and money worth it?

Yes. Absolutely. Undoubtedly. Let me tell you why.

Of all the conferences that I attend throughout North America, I can say without a doubt that the Alliance is able to pull together premier speakers that exceed every other conference I have ever attended. If you want to learn from people who really, really know their material and are masters within their field and/or informing practice within their field, these are the conferences to attend. Does that mean you will love every session that you go to? Probably not. I’ve never been to a perfect conference anywhere. But I am convinced I have considerably less disappointment at Alliance conferences compared to others.

The speakers also have integrity and are doing it for the right reasons. To be transparent, I have been a speaker at their conferences for quite a number of years now. I don’t get paid a cent to do it. I do it because this is one of the vehicles I choose to use to give back to the profession. No one is paying me to say things in a certain way or to massage a message in a particular fashion. You get what I honestly think and have learned through practice and research.

There is a little something for everyone at the conferences, and it shows in how the agenda is put together. Consider the agenda for the conference in LA next month. There are sessions on everything from improving permanent supportive housing to the role of shelters in Housing First programs; from rapid re-housing approaches for people surviving domestic violence to employment strategies that work; from understanding what data is and how to use it to the HEARTH Act; from using new media to blueprints to ending homelessness for families and youth; from reunification strategies to the role of faith-based service providers; from protecting youth from sexual trafficking to working with mainstream anti-poverty organizations. And that is just a sample.

Alliance staff are worthy of my highest esteem and it shines at conferences. These are dedicated professionals who have made it their career choice to advocate, educate, research and inform service providers, elected officials and others on how ending homelessness is possible. They are remarkably intelligent. They are innovative in how they examine issues. They are passionate about ending homelessness, and it shows. It is energizing to engage with them.

And then there are the networking opportunities that happen on a scale at Alliance conferences that doesn’t occur at other conferences. When I was a direct service provider I was always able to seek out kindred spirits to share ideas and service approaches. We jointly problem-solved and collaborated. We share ideas to this day. As a consultant and educator nowadays, I am able to also connect with service providers, policy makers and others in the same field. Some of us will always be smarter than one of us, and I believe this is proven in spades at Alliance conferences.

I hope you or someone from your organization will make the trek out to sunny California in February and we have the chance to meet. Pop by my session on Data Simplified (one of the most fun sessions at the conference – yes, I make data fun!!!) If that isn’t possible, start saving your pennies now to come to DC in July. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Iain De Jong is the President & CEO of OrgCode Consulting, Inc., an award-winning practitioner and policy-maker, a long-time friend of the National Alliance to End Homelessness and a frequent presenter at Alliance Conferences. Learn more about Iain and his work at or @orgcode on Twitter or

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4th January
written by Catherine An

The Alliance is proud and pleased to announce that acclaimed writer and activist Barbara Ehrenreich will serve as keynote speaker for the 2012 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

Ehrenreich is best known for her work, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. The book is a memoir of the writer’s three month experiment on living on minimum wage; Ehrenreich tried to stay housed, fed, and safe while working as a waitress, a maid, a WalMart employee, A NURSING HOME AIDE. The book was widely reviewed as a thoughtful and gripping depiction of life for people at the economic margins of society and shed important light on the issues of affordable housing and living wages.

Ehrenreich has also written Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land is Their Land, and Dancing in the Streets, along with MANY essays and articles about social justice, feminism, and poverty. She has contributed to a wide array of publications, including TIME, The New York Times, the Washington post, The New Republic, the Nation, Mother Jones, and Ms. Magazine. She has also lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities and for community groups and civic organizations, in many countries around the world.

The Alliance looks forward to hearing Ehrenreich’s thoughtful perspective on poverty, housing affordability, and homelessness at the conference – and we hope you’re there too! For questions about the conference or to learn more about conference highlights, please visit the conference website.

For more on Barbara Ehrenreich, please visit her website.

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28th December
written by Darcy Klingle

The Alliance is proud to host the 2012 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness on February 9 and 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Though ending family and youth homelessness has always been an Alliance goal, the current and persistent economic and political climate makes the problem particularly salient this year.

As always, people from across the country will gather at the conference to share successes and challenges, learn about the latest homelessness research, and understand upcoming changes in policies and practices.

This year’s workshops include content on:

- Implementing rapid re-housing (and maintaining those programs as HPRP funding expires),

- Coordinating with larger “mainstream” anti-poverty programs to multiply impacts, especially by providing help with employment,

- Strengthening families and promoting reunification to end homelessness for youth,

- Preventing homelessness for families and youth, including targeting for the maximum impact,

- Getting the most out of the HEARTH Act,

- Housing families and youth with the most severe challenges, including chronic homelessness.

In addition to the workshops, the Alliance will offer a number of opportunities to enhance and augment the conference experience:

A Meet and Mingle reception with cash bar, and light fare, will be held at the conference hotel on Thursday, Feb. 9. This event will give attendees an opportunity to meet others in the field and relax after a long day of workshops.

Moreover, attendees may purchase tickets to attend an exciting tour of Los Angeles on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 9. The tour will feature stories on LA’s past, present, and future including Frank Gerhy’s dazzling Walt Disney Concert Hall, a ride on the iconic Angel’s Flight funicular, movie locations including Spider-man, Batman (currently being filmed), and Transformers, a trip through the nation’s largest historic district, and a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city from rooftop. This will is a great opportunity for attendees to explore the city and learn more about Los Angeles’ history.

On both Thursday and Friday, plenary sessions will allow attendees to enjoy an informative and entertaining keynote address before lunch is served. More information about keynote speakers will be posted on the event website as they’re available.

And finally, throughout the duration of the conference, organizations and companies from across the country will be exhibiting at the hotel, giving attendees the opportunity to learn about their programs and products.

There is an array of exciting opportunities and educational events that will be taking place in Los Angeles, California this February which you will not want to miss! We look forward to seeing you, hearing from you, and learning about what is happening in your community this February! Learn more about the conference and register online today!

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17th October
written by Catherine An

Like we said last week, the Alliance has officially opened conference registration for the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

The conference is set for Thursday, Feb. 9 to Friday, Feb. 10 in Los Angeles, California at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. While we don’t have a full slate of workshops finalized just yet, you can check up on our progress by visiting the Agenda portion of the event website. You can also find hotel information and travel information on the event website, as well as news about the Alliance’s conference scholarship program. And, of course, you can register for the conference there too.

As many of you who have attended our conference know, they’re always chock-full of informative sessions, inspiring speakers, and great networking experiences with like-minded professionals sharing the goal of ending homelessness. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the conference, please feel free to leave a comment here or on one of our regularly updated, frequently checked social networks – Twitter and Facebook.

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