Attention readers! The Alliance’s blog has been updated. We are currently in the process of transitioning from a WordPress blog to an integrated blog on our website. The new blog has the same content, but now comes with more bells and whistles to make your experience more interactive. We also now have a favicon, the logo icon that appears when you bookmark our page in your Bookmarks Toolbar. (It’s the small touches that matter.) The new and permanent location for our blog on our website is here, so please update your bookmarks.
A few new things you will notice:
- You can now share the individual blog post via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. Please share broadly to your networks.
- With an easy right-hand sidebar link, subscribing to the blog has never been easier. Subscribe today and don’t miss out on daily posts.
- A Twitter feed is now included on the right-hand sidebar, so you can stay tuned to the most current Alliance Tweets, allowing you to reply, retweet, mark a tweet as your favorite, and tweet to us!
- When you search the Alliance Library, you will now find blog posts too, and you can still filter posts by specific categories.
- The blog is now fully integrated into our website, located under the News and Events tab, with the same look and feel.
- We have moved our blog-roll, which lists the blogs of our partners in the field, from the page footer to a more visible spot on the right-hand sidebar
- We are working out our archiving function, but you can currently navigate older blogs using the page numbers and arrows located on the bottom of the page.
Needless to say, we are still working out a few kinks that are typical with content migrations, some more noticeable than others. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be going back and fixing older blog posts, which now appear without some of the original spacing and paragraph breaks, and other minor issues we have noticed. We appreciate your patience as we tackle these fixes.
As always, you can count on the Alliance blog to feature the same authoritative content on the homeless assistance field, with guest posts from such important voices as the Director of the Office of HUD’s Special Needs Assistance Programs, Ann Oliva.
And we will continue to provide moving personal stories, commentary on the latest developments in homelessness, helpful advice for advocates and practitioners in the field, and important information about the Alliance’s own activities and events.
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Seattle, the city that will be playing host to the Alliance’s more than 800 attendees during our 2013 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness this February.
As the Alliance’s Director of Meetings and Events, I always visit the host venue for each of our conferences two to three months in advance to get a feel for the space as it relates to our conference schedule, and to choose conference menus and get a general lay of the land.
I hadn’t ever been to Seattle, but I wasn’t shocked to be welcomed by a few rainclouds upon my arrival at Sea-Tac airport. The clouds broke shortly after I made it downtown, however, and I enjoyed sunshine the rest of the day. Here’s hoping we are so lucky in February!
The first thing on my agenda at the hotel was the tasting. I have helped mount a number of the Alliance’s conferences, so I have a pretty good idea what kind of menu items are popular. I always keep our attendees’ preferences in mind (in addition to the Alliance’s budget) when I choose items for the tasting menu.
At the tasting, I was joined by the hotel convention services manager and the hotel chef, who described the menu items – their ingredients, how they’re prepared, etc. – and answered my questions about the food.
I had a chance to sample a bit from each dish on the tasting menu: three first courses, six second courses and three deserts! This is probably the most difficult part of my job here at the Alliance, mostly due to the fact that I need to be rolled out after the meeting.
After the tasting, I chose the conference menus, discussing with the hotel chef various dish modifications to ensure that they’re just right for our attendees. I hope you all like what I chose this year!
Afterwards, the convention services manager and I moved on to the walkthrough, which is a tour of all the spaces in the hotel where our event will be held: the main ballroom, the breakout rooms, our staff office, the meeting foyers, and other spaces.
The walkthrough is extremely important, as it gives me a chance to discuss with the convention services manager how each room should be set, where we want to place certain sessions, information tables, registration, etc. The goal is to ensure it’s as convenient for our group and our schedule as possible.
This may sound simple, but really it is incredible how helpful walking through the space with a firm event schedule in mind is. The process allows you to visualize everything coming together; it’s the last piece of the puzzle.
After the walkthrough, I took a field trip to the campus of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to see where the foundation will be hosting our conference reception.
The trip over to Gates alone was an adventure itself! There is a Seattle Monorail station located just blocks from the conference hotel, and it dropped me only a couple short blocks from the Gates Foundation campus.
The monorail ride took me past the Experience Music Project Museum, which was designed by famous architect Frank O. Gehry. It’s quite the spectacle. Upon exiting the monorail station at my destination I came within steps of the Seattle Space Needle, one of the biggest Seattle tourist attractions. Just peaking at it from afar was pretty neat.
At the Gates Foundation, I was amazed by the cutting-edge, floor-to-ceiling, LEED-certified building, where our reception will take place. Gates is excited to host us and we are grateful to them for inviting all of us to join them in February for what is sure to be a delightful occasion.
That concludes my brief visit to Seattle. It was informative and exciting. I hope that you have a chance to get to Seattle this February for our conference and to see the few sites I was able to take in, as well as the ones I missed (there are quite a few!). If you have not yet registered, make sure to register today!
As soon as the elections were over (literally, the next day), the nation turned its attention to the impending “Fiscal Cliff.” The fiscal cliff is a complicated amalgam of the immediate fiscal issues our nation faces – including debt, revenue, spending, and a few other things. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities does a much better job explaining it here.
One truly important thing to know about the fiscal cliff, though, is that it includes sequestration. Sequestration, as we’ve discussed on this blog before, is a fancy term for automatic, across-the-board cuts to non-defense, discretionary spending. Which, for our purposes, is a longer way of saying the fiscal cliff includes cuts to nearly all federally-funded affordable housing and homelessness programs, 8.2 percent in cuts that will take place on January 2, to be exact. These cuts would immediately impact thousands of our nations’ most vulnerable people, and their impact would eventually affect hundreds of thousands over the coming months.
In essence, sequestration is a policy that would go a long way toward walking back a lot of the great work we’ve seen in the past few years, work that has held back the tide of rising homelessness, and in many cases reversed it. Fortunately, though, we now have an opportunity to impact the congressional decision-making process and educate our Members of Congress on the importance of HUD programs in our community in preventing and ending homelessness.
That’s why we’ve made this week “National Sequestration Call-in Week!” We need advocates like you to call your Senators and Representatives! It’s time to explain how important federal funding is for ending homelessness, and warn your members of congress about the negative consequences sequestration cuts would have on your community. We have talking points to help guide your conversation and we can help with anything else you might need!
If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that people experiencing homelessness aren’t lost in the budgetary shuffle, cuts under sequestration to affordable housing and other programs targeted at low-income families and individuals could potentially create huge increases in homelessness in the coming months and years.
Call your Members. Tell them that cuts to HUD and other homeless assistance programs are unacceptable! Let me know who you contacted!
The holiday season is a time to be thankful and a time to make a difference in the lives of others! This Black Friday, instead of scouring advertisements or waiting in long lines to buy things that may or may not fit, consider giving a gift that supports the Alliance’s work to end homelessness. Here’s how:
- Make a Donation. A meaningful way of honoring someone on your gift list who may already have one of everything is to make a donation to the Alliance in that person’s name. The person will receive a handwritten holiday card saying that your contribution in their name will help end homelessness. Your donation to the Alliance can be made in recognition of the the positive influence someone has had on your life, or as a celebration of something special.
- Get a t-shirt. This holiday season, we are excited to offer End Homelessness t-shirts. They come in two colors, navy and maroon, and a variety of sizes. These were very popular during our summer conference, so we decided to make them available during the holidays too. They make a great stocking-stuffer. (We even have an End Homelessness T-Shirt campaign. Just snap a picture of yourself wearing your End Homelessness T-Shirt and send it to us via Facebook, Twitter or email. What better way to show your dedication to ending homelessness without ever saying a word!)
- Shop online. When you’re shopping online, don’t forget to use GoodSearch.com to make purchases from your favorite stores and outlets. A percentage of your purchase will be donated to the Alliance.
- Or… Through the kindness of our partners, we are also offering holiday cards and handmade jewelry options. You can support the Alliance with each purchase.
With all of these great gift options, you can avoid the Black Friday madness, and instead spend the day after Thanksgiving sleeping in, staying warm and doing something you love!
Each year, the Alliance provides our partners and supporters with a snapshot of our activities, progress and financial position in our annual report. Annual reports may not always be the most exciting things to read, but we at the Alliance are proud and enthusiastic about our accomplishments.
The Alliance did a lot in 2011. We hosted national conferences that drew nearly 2,000 practitioners, advocates and other leaders in the homeless assistance field. We worked with Virginia and the Freddie Mac Foundation to launch a statewide homelessness assistance project. We organized 270 visits by advocates and practitioners to their congressional offices.
The Alliance was also honored to recognize at our awards ceremony the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness, The Road Home, and the Los Angeles Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness for their achievements in fighting homelessness.
We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the Alliance’s board, staff and donors and the Alliance’s ongoing effort to end homelessness to download and read our 2011 Annual Report.
We also encourage you to share the report with your networks and others you think may be interested in learning more about ending homelessness. And don’t forget to let us know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great holiday season!
Welcome to the National Alliance to End Homelessness blog!
Today is July 1 – what we are hoping is an auspicious day to start the blog.
Turns out, July 1 is also the day that:
- The Community Party of China is founded (1921).
- United Airlines begins service (1931).
- Sony introduces the Walkman (1979).
- O Canada becomes the national anthem of our northern neighbor (1980).
- Princess Diana, Missy Elliot, and Liv Tyler were born.
So the outlook looks mixed, but I’m hoping that like the Walkman, the blog will have a nice long reign and a secured place in American pop culture. (And who doesn’t love O Canada??)
So what are we talking about?
We’re talking about homelessness.
This blog will go over some broad themes of homelessness – the different populations, federal legislation, data and reports, etc. But along the way, we’ll talk about related, if tangential bits: specific demographics, new information, the relationship between homelessness and poverty, different advocacy groups and agencies…it’ll be a mash-up of good info.
And if you have any questions or requests for posts on particular subjects, don’t hesitate to comment or shoot me an email.
I really, really hope you like it.