Anna and I are back!
Hope you enjoyed the guest bloggers/social networkers in our absence. I thought the blog last week was particularly terrific (though I may be biased) – from Elizabeth’s presentation of the Alliance Annual Report, to Norm’s data-rich explanation of Alameda County’s homeless system outcomes, to Lisa’s discussion of how Medicaid can help end chronic homelessness, and Pete’s rundown of the Census poverty numbers. And we were lucky to have fan favorite Steve Berg, Alliance VP of Program and Policy, return to make the case for investing more federal resources in the McKinney-Vento program.
As you can see, we’re lucky to have experts on a wide range of topics – from health care to research to housing. Homelessness is a complex issue, one at which a number of disciplines intersect, and we at the Alliance examine the problem from many, varied perspectives and distill those disparate ideas into efficient, effective solutions to homelessness.
In order to turn our analyses and observations into solutions, we:
Review research: Our resident researcher reads up on homelessness data and research as well as homeless-related indicators and issues, including poverty, deep poverty, housing cost burden, and unemployment. Our research series, including Economy Bytes, Data Points, and other reports crunch the numbers and try to understand what they mean about homelessness.
Improve policy: Not only is our research helpful to our friends, colleagues, and you – this research is also helpful to our policy team. Armed with the latest research and statistics, we explain to lawmakers why it’s important to invest in the policies and programs that prevent and end homelessness. Making the case to invest more money in McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants is much more convincing when paired with data about rising levels of poverty, increased homelessness, and persistent unemployment.
Build capacity: When policies are enacted and approved, there’s work to be done on the field. While the role of federal policy is significant, ending homelessness is ultimately a local task. Our Center for Capacity Building travels directly into cities and towns to conduct clinics and trainings, they create tools to explain best practices and promising strategies, and they explain how to improve systems by collecting and using data.