What do you get when you bring 900 people from over 300 Health Care for the Homeless programs to Washington, DC to discuss how we can work together for justice?
This year, 11 of our very own staff members presented on how we work to end homelessness here in Baltimore. They were joined by many colleagues and clients!
Enjoy their reflections and photos from the event below.
Barbara DiPietro, Senior Director of Policy
"My favorite part of the conference is the feeling of kindred spirit across all our sister programs and the shared understanding of the injustices we battle every day. There’s a certain joy in knowing that we are part of a larger push for human rights in this country."
Joanna Diamond, Director of Policy
"The Pre-Conference Institute’s Equity & Justice in Health and Housing session was INSPIRING. I learned details on Medicaid vehicles such as the various home and community-based service benefits, leveraging the flexibility of MCOs, and the impact of racism (including criminal justice) on creating and perpetrating homelessness. My top take-away is that we can be innovative, through specific policies, in furthering housing as health care."
Erica Brown, MAT Expansion Project Coordinator
"I absolutely loved watching and participating in my colleagues’ discussions. Deirdre and Albert were so inspiring discussing yoga as an integrative health initiative. Barbara and Kevin gave some really powerful insights into how effective Medicaid expansion is, and I learned a lot from them about the work happening in my own state! It was a rewarding and memorable experience. Everyone should experience it."
Chauna Brocht, Director of Supportive Services
"Sometimes at Convalescent Care, we feel like our challenges are so unique, and the conference is a great reminder that programs around the country are finding creative solutions to address the problems that all medical respites face in providing high quality care to clients recovering from an acute illness while experiencing homelessness."
Regina Reed, National Health Policy Organizer
"The best part of the conference is watching health care providers and clients share their stories on Capitol Hill. This year, over 20 states were represented, and we had just about 100 meetings scheduled. It’s a great opportunity for our community to flex their advocacy muscles."
Deirdre Hoey, Behavioral Health Therapist
"Three things I loved about going to the conference for the first time after a decade of working here: 1) Everything is relevant. Usually when I go to conferences, I have to adapt the approaches to fit our clients experiencing homelessness. At the National Conference, all the discussions and panels were geared to issues or services directly related to our population. 2) Consumers are present. The conference welcomes consumer participation which makes all communication much more real and meaningful and enhances our practice on micro and macro levels of service delivery. 3) Bonding prevents burn out. Meeting people from other states and greeting my coworkers outside of the clinic gave me a greater perspective on the purpose of my work. I can see it as a benefit to my clients to see me refreshed and ready for daily challenges. I am grateful I had the opportunity to go!"
Learn more about the National Health Care for the Homeless Council