Alliance Plenary Session
Features Trenton’s Jackie Edwards
The National Alliance to End Homelessness Family and Youth Homelessness Conference featured Jackie Edwards, Service Area Director, Emergency and Community Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, in its February 18, 2014 lunchtime plenary session.
Mark Johnston, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) moderated the session.
Regarding Mercer County’s decision to stop funding transitional housing in the County, Johnston posed the question, “How did you get there and what was the impact on your organization.” Edwards responded that Catholic Charities “knew (it needed) to shift to be a viable organization” and focused its attention on helping families with employment which led to a better income to families.
Johnston posed a second question, “How did you help families find jobs?” and Edwards responded that the her organization found a need to focus on employment early on in the process. Her staff engaged with families and worked to “uncover hidden talents” and offered employment skill training and job fairs.
Edwards pointed out that “50% of rapid re-housing families have earned income and that monthly income increased from $659 to $926/month.
Johnston concluded the session with the comments that while the “data on rapid re-housing is really quote positive,” a solution to poverty is needed. He posed the question, “How do we really support getting them out of poverty?”
The plenary, A Conversation with Mark Johnston on Rapid Re-Housing for Families, also featured Kris Billhardt of Volunteers of America in Portland, Oregon, Michelle Flynn of The Road Home in Salt Lake City, Utah and Katie Kitchin of Community Alliance for the Homeless in Memphis, TN.
The plenary addressed the more than 800 attendees from across the country who are participating in the conference.