Largest Ever National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference Held in D.C.
More than 2,000 people committed to end homelessness gathered in Washington, D.C. this week at the 2017 National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) conference. Activists attended more than 80 workshops over the three day event—NAEH’s largest conference ever—and heard from keynote speakers Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and HUD Secretary Ben Carson among others.
“A full quarter of American jobs pay less than $23,000 a year,” said NAEH Executive Director Nan Roman in her opening talk. That means they can only afford housing that costs less than $600 a month, she said, emphasizing that affordable housing is a growing national issue.
Youth homelessness was the focus of several sessions. “Youth homelessness is more intersectional than any other segment of homelessness,” said Matt Aronson of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, speaking at a session about developing a community plan to address youth homelessness. “It intersects with education, juvenile justice, child welfare, work force investment and local, state and federal programs.”
Every one of these intersections is an opportunity to prevent youth homelessness, he said.
The Voices of Youth Count team hosted a Steering Committee meeting prior to the last day’s sessions and a small reception for allies at the close of the conference. In these gatherings and in meetings with federal legislators, Chapin Hall leadership presented on critical questions that will be answered when the Voices of Youth Count findings are released later this year.
Conference participants also visited their legislators on Capitol Hill. State-level delegations scheduled hundreds of visits with congressmen and women to emphasize the need for federal support for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs.