On July 15th, our very own Nicole Delaney flew to Washington, D.C. to represent not only our local community, but the entire state of California, at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness. The conference was organized by the National Alliance to End Homelessness which works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, leading to stronger programs and policies that help communities achieve their goal of ending homelessness.
The NAEH Conference served as an opportunity for federal and local officials, homeless advocates, and others working on the front lines of the fight to end homelessness to come together and keep the conversation going. This July, NAEH also held a Capitol Hill Day where attendees were given the chance to meet with their senators and representatives. As one of the State Captains for California, Nicole Delaney was tasked with scheduling the hill meetings, coordinating participants, and ensuring that the right policy priorities are covered in each meeting. This was a tremendous opportunity for sharing successful strategies for combatting homelessness in our community and also to ensure that the issue of homelessness remains on congressional members' priority lists. Delaney met with the staffs of Representative Loretta Sanchez, Representative Maxine Waters and Representative Mark Takano. They discussed the issues highlighted by the NAEH including providing $2.48 billion for HUD's McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, and protecting funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.
In addition to meetings, conference attendees also had the opportunity to listen to influential individuals share their insights. Mayor Muriel Bowser shared urgent and encouraging words as the welcoming speaker; "Homelessness must be rare, brief and not reoccurring. Real people who have experienced homelessness are around the table on my council to end homelessness." Actor Richard Gere also spoke on his experience of going "undercover" in New York City to prepare for his role as George, a homeless man suffering from mental illness, in the upcoming film “Time Out of Mind”. Gere stressed that, rather than try to solve the issue of housing every homeless person, it is more important to work with people on an individual basis. This is the same attitude Project Hope Alliance has embraced when helping our communities. We are ending homelessness one child at a time by working closely with families and focusing on their individual needs.