Last week Housing 1000 sent our Americorps VISTA member, Katherine, to volunteer at this year’s National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference. She met some other awesome volunteers there, including Christina with Ascencia , Nicole with the Fresno Housing Authority and Dores with La Puente. Thanks to all the volunteers for organizing this great conference! We hear La Puente has a couple Americorps volunteers of its own…aren’t they great? 😉
The theme of the conference this year was Ending Family and Youth Homelessness. You may not realize it, but families and youth can be chronically homeless as well—it’s not all individuals and seniors. The plight of chronically homeless youth is especially heartbreaking because a year of homelessness before age 18 is a lot “longer” than later in life—that is, it’s way more disruptive developmentally. A year of wages and health stability lost for a mature 40-something may be very detrimental, but a year of social isolation and stigma as a teenager can be scarring.
We at Housing 1000 believe that all players in the fight to end homelessness need to work together to achieve our goal. It’s clear that service providers who work with the chronic homeless need to collaborate with those assisting veterans—who in turn must work with providers helping the mentally ill, as well as families and youth. Populations necessarily overlap. And the more we can help stabilize desperately ill chronically homeless individuals, the more resources we as a nation will have to assist other populations. The faces of homelessness are diverse, and we need to use equally diverse strategies to put an end to it.
That’s why we at Housing 1000, along with the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, are reaching out to providers who help youth and families; we know we’re just one part of the greater struggle to end homelessness in America.