The Alliance’s Roman Touches on Themes
Around Ending Family and Youth Homelessness
On February 18, 2014, National Alliance to End Homelessness President and CEO Nan Roman opened her organization’s National Conference on Ending Family & Youth Homelessness with plenary remarks.
Addressing an audience of over 800 attendees gathered in New Orleans, Roman highlighted key best practices around the work to end family and youth homelessness in the United States.
Roman made the point that we are “not increasing income enough” to truly help homeless families move out of poverty. Rapid re-housing is not just a “check and a handshake” but also services made available along with housing.
“Any of us who loses our house thinks about one thing – getting back into a home.” And homeless families think the same way. Rapid re-housing when well implemented helps families “get home faster.”
Roman spoke about the success of the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program and said, “Why shouldn’t we end veterans family homelessness by 2015” and quickly get homeless veteran families into housing.
Of the need for an accurate count of homeless youth in the United States, Roman said
“We know we don’t have enough beds.” She called the gap of data about this information “a blind spot” and said that we need to push for more attention and resources for homeless youth.
Roman pointed to the success of the National Housing Trust Fund campaign and opportunity to finally fund the NHTF through Mel Watt’s recent appointment to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA.)
And she concluded with commending President Obama for re-declaring an unprecedented “War on Poverty” in the United States. Said Roman, “Very few politicians have (had the) audacity to say it.”