2009 News and Updates


December 21: New Site for Community Circles of Support for Veterans' Families

The National Center on Family Homelessness received a two-year grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation to help returning war veterans with their reintegration into family life.  This pilot will be located in Southern California as part of The National Center's ongoing multi-site Community Circles of Support for Veterans' Families, which has received support from the Walmart Foundation, Major League Baseball and the McCormick Foundation. 


December 18: The Most Vulnerable Among Us

The Reverend Al Sharpton referenced The National Center on Family Homelessness in The Philadelphia Tribune's December 18 editorial.  The article highlights the difficulties homeless children face in America every day.  Reverend Sharpton encourages readers to donate their time and money to help the most vulnerable among us, homeless children.


December 14: Strengthening At Risk and Homeless Young Mothers and Children Initiative Releases Two New Issue Briefs

The National Center on Family Homelessness (in partnership with the National Alliance to End Homelessness and ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddler and Families) has released two technical assistance briefs.  These policy-based documents focus on the implications of home visiting with families experiencing homelessness as well as the Family Unification Program.  Read the briefs.  Learn more about the Strengthening At Risk and Homeless Young Mothers and Children Initiative


December 6: Solutions: Ending Homelessness Among Returning War Veterans

A column by Dr. Ellen Bassuk, President of The National Center on Family Homelessness, was published in The Washington Times.  "Solutions: Ending Homelessness Among Returning War Veterans" focuses on the difficulties veterans face when returning to the civilian workforce as well as strategies to assist them with their transition.  On any night, more than 130,000 veterans find themselves with no place to call home.  Ending veteran homelessness starts with understanding why they become homeless and making a commitment to ensure that each and every veteran is provided with decent housing. 


December 3: A Night to End Child Homelessness

The National Center on Family Homelessness hosted "A Night to End Child Homelessness," an event to raise awareness and funds for the Campaign to End Child Homelessness.  The Honorable Kerry Murphy Healey, former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts (2003-2007), chaired the event at The Colony in Palm Beach, Florida.  The evening's presenting sponsor, Martin D. Weiss of The Weiss Group of Jupiter, FL, is the author of New York Times bestseller "The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide" and a generous contributor to the Campaign to End Child Homelessness.  Carole Rome Crist, First Lady of Florida, participated in the event and presented awards to Sue Lemieux of The Weiss School, Christopher Kennedy of Suffolk Construction and Martin Weiss of The Weiss Group.


December 2: Child Homelessness: Mimizing the Impact, Ending the Epidemic

"Child Homelessness: Minimizing the Impact, Ending the Epidemic," an article by The National Center's Kathleen Guarino and Katie Volk, is currently featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Communities & Banking magazine, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  A family's path to homelessness often includes violence and chaos, family financial stress, and serious disruptions in interpersonal relationships and education.  This article describes program and policy responses that mitigate the impact of homelessness on children and help end child homelessness.  Read the article.


November 17: Florida Campaign to End Child Homelessness Listening Tour Begins

Campaign to End Child Homelessness staff traveled to Florida to launch a listening tour on November 17 and 18.  During the first two tour stops in Palm Beach and Miami, more than 50 homeless service providers, children's advocates, and community leaders came out to share their knowledge and experiences.  The purpose of the listening tour is to learn more about what homeless children and families experience in Florida, identify agencies and coalitions working to address this issue, and develop partnerships and action plans to help end child homelessness in the state.  The next stop on the tour was Friday, December 4 in Tallahassee.  Read more about Florida and the Campaign.


November 15: How You Can Help Homeless Children Thrive

Click here to read the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, "How You Can Help Homeless Children Thrive", featuring Dr. Ellen Bassuk, President of The National Center on Family Homelessness.


November 6: New Mexico Campaign Update

Jeff Olivet of the Campaign to End Child Homelessness facilitated a strategic planning meeting in Albuquerque with children's advocates, homeless service providers, and state and elected officials from across New Mexico.  Thirty-five attendees met to plan and implement the New Mexico Campaign to End Child Homelessness.  The Campaign's next step will be to join with partners to plan a statewide summit on child homelessness for the spring.  Learn more about New Mexico and the Campaign.


November 3: Georgia Homeless Youth Summit

Christina Jordan Murphy of the Campaign to End Child Homelessness was a featured speaker at the 2009 Homeless Youth Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The Summit, sponsored by the Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness, focused on the plight of homeless children and youth in Georgia, and provided an opportunity for providers and advocates to share strategies for action.  Christina presented the data from our report, America's Youngest Outcasts, and collected information and suggestions for the Georgia Campaign from participants.  We look forward to being part of the Coalition's statewide summit in March.


November 3: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Veteran Summit

Risa Greendlinger of The National Center on Family Homelessness participated in a poster session at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Veteran Summit.  She presented information on a clinical intervention that pairs returning war veterans with a parent, sibling or partner to help veterans and their families strengthen communication and enhance their relationships.

This national multi-site project builds capacity among community social service providers to fill a major gap in services for veterans' families.  The creation of this initiative was underwritten by the Walmart Foundation and the demonstration sites are supported with funding from the Walmart Foundation and Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of Major League Baseball and the McCormick Foundation.

The National Center on Family Homelessness is proud to support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and this effort to end veteran homelessness.  Read the press release.


November 2: Website Re-Launch

The Campaign to End Child Homelessnesss celebrated the re-launch of our website, www.HomelessChildrenAmerica.org.  Reorganized to better reflect our state-based work, it is now easy to learn what is going on in your state to end child homelessness and keep track of the Campaign's national activities. 


October 26: Massachusetts Campaign to End Child Homelessness

Last month, the state of Massachusetts announced that it faced an estimated $600 million budget gap for FY10.  The Massachusetts Campaign to End Child Homelessness sent a letter to Governor Deval Patrick on October 26, 2009,  urging him to keep the needs of children and families who are homeless in mind while reviewing FY10 spending reductions.  With more budget cuts expected before the end of the year, the Campaign will continue working with our Massachusetts partners to highlight the importance of shelter and services for homeless children and families.  Read the letter.


October 26: The Campaign Travels to Florida

Christina Jordan Murphy of the Campaign to End Child Homelessness presented at the 3rd Annual Florida Homeless and Supportive Housing Conference sponsored by the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition and the Florida Coalition for the Homeless.  During the conference, Christina collected Campaign ideas and suggestions from homeless service providers, children's advocacy organizations and community leaders.  She also presented recommendations related to homeless children to the Florida Council on Homelessness.  We congratulate the Council on its on-going work and its new Children's Committee.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Council on behalf of homeless families.  Learn more about Florida and the Campaign.


October 26: The National Center Provides Testimony to United Nations

The Campaign to End Child Homelessness gave testimony to Raquel Rolnik, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Housing in Washington, D.C.  The Special Rapporteur was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to examine housing in the United States.  Ms. Rolnik has been traveling across the U.S. to learn from organizations, advocates and officials and will make recommendations based on what she learns.

The National Center's testimony focused on homeless children and families.  Children experiencing homelessness are more likely than their peers to be sick, struggle in school, and experience high rates of violence and trauma.  The testimony recommended that all levels of government work together to provide adequate, affordable housing and address issues of income, trauma, health care, education and support services, along with research and planning.  Read the testimony.


October 21: New Research on Parenting and Homelessness

According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, family homelessness in America increased by 9% in 2008.  This highlights the urgent need for effective policy and quality programs to best support parents and children coping with homelessness.

The Homelessness Resource Center (HRC) recently guest-edited a Special Section on Parenting and Homelessness, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. This Special Section fills a significant gap in understanding the challenges of family relationships in the context of homelessness.  Articles include recommendations for policy, practice and research to support parents as they stabilize their lives, care for their children and move out of homelessness.

The HRC is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The National Center on Family Homelessness collaborates with its sister organization, the Center for Social Innovation, to operate the HRC.


October 16: Massachusetts Campaign to End Child Homelessness

Leaders from the Massachusetts Campaign to End Child Homelessness gathered to urge continued state and federal support for critical housing and supportive services for homeless families.  With more than 17,500 children already homeless in Massachusetts annually, further spending cuts due to the state's budget shortfall could increase this number.  National advocate Diane Nilan of the HEAR US Learning Curve Express joined the Massachusetts advocates as part of her national tour to raise awareness about homeless children and families.  The Massachusetts Campaign to End Child Homelessness is a coalition of organizations that includes The National Center on Family Homelessness, Homes for Families, Horizons for Homeless Children and the Massachusetts Coalition for the HomelessRead the press release.  Watch the NECN media coverage.


October 8: Campaign to End Child Homelessness Supports Establishing a California Interagency Council on Homelessness

Earlier this year, the Campaign, in coordination with Housing California, worked to support legislation in California to establish a California Interagency Council on Homelessness.  Efforts to pass the bill stalled in the state Legislature, and advocates are now working to convince Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to use his executive power to create the Interagency Council.  The Campaign believes a California Interagency Council is a critical step in demonstrating the state's commitment to ending homelessness. Learn more about Campaign activities.


October 5: Support for Veterans' Families Brings Critical New Services

The National Center on Family Homelessness, in collaboration with Willamette Family Treatment Services and with funding from The Walmart Foundation, provided training to local mental health clinicians in San Diego, California and Eugene, Oregon.  This new initiative, Community Circles of Support for Veterans' Families (CCSVF), is designed to prevent veterans and their families from becoming homeless.  These trainings are the first component in providing group therapy for military family members and combat veterans through the CCSVF initiative. 


September 24: The Progressive Media Project - Commentary: We Shouldn't Have Homeless Children in America

David A. Love of The Progressive Media Project expressed his dismay at the large number of homeless children in America.  Using data provided by The National Center on Family Homelessness, Mr. Love painted a sad picture of the average homeless student, noting that homeless children have more difficultly in school and score considerably lower than their peers in math and reading proficiency.  Love calls for federal action to invest in the future of America through increased funding for housing vouchers, child care vouchers and other programs aimed at ending child and family homelessness.  Read the article.


September 15: The Campaign Travels to Kentucky

Katie Volk of the Campaign to End Child Homelessness was invited to meet with the Kentucky Interagency Council on Homelessness and to participate as the keynote speaker at a statewide summit sponsored by the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky.  During her presentation, Katie discussed the findings from America's Youngest Outcasts and provided an overview of the Campaign to 250 summit attendees.  The Campaign will continue to partner with local community leaders in Kentucky towards our mutual goal of ending child homelessness.


September 10: U.S. Census Bureau Releases Report on Poverty Indicators

The United States Census Bureau released their annual report: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008.  This data is significant because it has been collected since the beginning of the current economic recession.  According to the report, the number of people living in poverty increased by 2.5 million, from 37.3 million in 2007 to 39.8 million people in 2008. During the same time period, the real median household income fell 3.6%.  Not surprisingly, these indicators correspond with reports of increases in the number of homeless children, as more families and individuals have had difficulty finding and maintaining housing over the past two years.  Read additional coverage on homelessness and the recession. 


September 9: Back to School Homeless - Not Nearly Enough to Keep Up with this Heartbreaking Problem

The National Center on Family Homelessness and America's Youngest Outcasts are featured in the Crosscut article, Back to School Homeless, by Judy Lightfoot.  The article highlights the difficulties school districts are facing in meeting the needs of increasing numbers of homeless students as classes start this fall.  It also looks at what federal mandates and stimulus funds are doing to help children who are homeless.


August 31: The National Center Awarded Department of Labor Grant: "In Their Own Words: Homeless Female Veterans Share Their Stories"

The National Center on Family Homelessness was awarded a grant from the Department of Labor Women's Bureau to develop and implement "In Their Own Words: Homeless Female Veterans Share Their Stories."  The National Center will conduct listening sessions in San Diego with homeless women and service providers in September.  The National Center will then compile and analyze the findings and translate this knowledge into a service model that will meet the needs of homeless female veterans. 


August 21: Chicago Parent - American Dream in Crisis

The National Center's Dr. Ellen Bassuk is quoted in the August edition of Chicago Parent.  American Dream in Crisis follows families who have become homeless due to foreclosures.  Dr. Bassuk comments that "Children without homes are on the frontline of the nation's economic crisis.  These numbers will grow as home foreclosures continue to rise."


August 17: Campaign to End Child Homelessness: Work Begins on the Ground in Mississippi

Christina Jordan Murphy of The National Center's Campaign to End Child Homelessness attended a conference in Jackson sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Innovative Support on August 17-18.  She presented data from America's Youngest Outcasts and collected ideas for the Campaign's work in the state.  She also met with homeless service providers, non-profit organizations and community leaders in the Jackson area to begin laying the groundwork for the Mississippi Campaign to End Child Homelessness.  Learn more about Mississippi and the Campaign here.


August 3: Health and Human Services Secretary Supports Ending Homelessness through a Combined Housing and Services Approach

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlights the importance of increasing "efforts to help the growing population of homeless children and families..." in her interview with the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  Read the interview here.


July 31: Heading Back to School - The Unique Difficulties Facing Homeless Children

The National Center's Dr. Ellen Bassuk is quoted in the July 31, 2009, edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article Groups Bridging Gap on Back-to-School Spending by Aileen Dodd.


July 30: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Commends The National Center's Dr. Ellen Bassuk

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan delivered a speech at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Annual Conference.  Donovan outlined the Obama administration's plan for preventing and ending homelessness and commended The National Center's Dr. Ellen Bassuk for her groundbreaking research on homeless families.  Read the speech transcript.


July 29: Shelter from the Storm: Creating Trauma-Informed Homeless Services

Homelessness and trauma are inextricably linked.  Kathleen Guarino of The National Center conducted a session on this connection during July's National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference in Washington, D.C.  Learn more.  Read a live blog of Kathleen's presentation. 


July 21: PEACH Online Training Date Announced

The National Center on Family Homelessness offers free online trainings for PEACH. Future training dates include:

  • Thursday, September 24, 9:30am EST
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2:00pm EST

Each hour-long training will help familiarize you with the curriculum materials, discuss tips for success, and offer you the opportunity to ask questions about incorporating PEACH into your program. Learn more.


June 26: Strengthening At Risk and Homeless Young Mothers and Children -  Year 1 Evaluation Report Released

Strengthening At Risk and Homeless Young Mothers and Children recently released the Year 1 Evaluation Report for the project, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.  Download the Executive Summary.


June 12: Janice Bourque Named as New Chair of the National Center

The National Center on Family Homelessness announced on June 12th the appointment of Janice Bourque as Chair of the Board of Directors. Ms. Bourque most recently held the position of Senior Vice President and Group Head-Life Sciences for Comerica Bank. At Comerica, Ms. Bourque was responsible for leading the strategy for the life sciences where she positioned Comerica as the "Bank of Choice" by delivering value to the industry and generating portfolio growth through relationship development and creative debt financing. She has held several previous senior managerial positions, including President/CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC), CFO/controller of Cambridge Medic al Technology Corporation, senior public accountant for Coopers & Lybrand Emerging and Middle Market Group, and as a NASA Space Science grant project manager for the first satellite payloads to be repaired by the space shuttle missions.
 
Ms. Bourque sits on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including: the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Boston Museum, Xconomist (industry commentator) for Xconomy.com. She also serves as chair of the Boston History and Innovation Collaborative and is a member of the Women's Forum.  Over her career, Ms. Bourque has won numerous awards and was a Boston Magazine's 100 most influential woman. Ms. Bourque received her MBA degree in finance and accounting and her BS degree in veterinary science from the University of New Hampshire.


May 28: Community Circles of Support for Veterans' Families -- Third national site launched

The National Center is the recipient of $250,000 from the McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball to add a site in rural Illinois to the Community Circles of Support for Veterans' Families, bringing the total number of sites for this important project to three, with the other two sites in Eugene, OR and San Diego, CA.. This program addresses the educational, psychological, emotional, and support needs of returning veterans and their families. The program fosters collaboration between community-based service providers and public sector personnel to integrate family-based and specialized health services. Learn more.  


Local Artist Uses Art to Heal Herself and Confront Domestic Violence

Kara Nasdor-Jones, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, is an internationally recognized artist and animator. She shares that she is interested in using her art to explore serious themes and issues. "I feel like animation is a wonderful media," Nasdor-Jones says, "because it is sort of unexpected." She explains that her last project, "I Slept With Cookie Monster," was very much a "healing process" because she began the film while fighting to end an abusive relationship. "Forcing myself to dive into these extremely sensitive issues and visually work through them," says Nasdor-Jones. Making this film "helped me to understand many critical issues in the healing process."

"I Slept With Cookie Monster," is the story of one mother's experience with and eventual escape from domestic violence. It is the winner of two awards from the Ottawa International Animation Festival: Best Undergraduate Animation and the grand prize for Best Student Animation.

For more information, visit her website: http://www.karanasdor-jones.com


New Resource! - Developing Trauma-Informed Services for Families Experiencing Homelessness: An Interactive Training Video and Guide

This exciting new training video and guide is an educational resource for service providers.  This training package focuses on the relationship between homelessness and traumatic stress and how to apply trauma concepts to providers' daily work. Learn more.


April 20: Oscar Singing Sensation Jamia Dedicates "Time for Us" to Campaign to End Child Homelessness in America

Our new report finding that one in 50 children in America experience homelessness each year struck a deep chord with the public. In response, 12-year old Oscar singing sensation Jamia collaborated with her music label, The Popular Entertainment Group, to record "Time for Us" as a rallying cry for action. Jamia will debut the emotion filled song in her native Atlanta, GA on Global Youth Service Day to support the Campaign to End Child Homelesness in America.  Learn more.  Watch the YouTube video.


March 10: Report Card on Child Homelessness Released

The National Center on Family Homelessness kicked off the Campaign to End Child Homelessness to a standing-room only crowd at a March 10th Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC. Senator Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and Dr. Ellen Bassuk, President of the National Center on Family Homelessness, announced the release of America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness. Audience members included Congressional staff, government agency representatives, members of the philanthropic community, and advocates from around the country.

Dr. Bassuk encouraged people to join the Campaign to End Child Homelessness. "It is unacceptable for a child to be homeless for even one night. Ending child homelessness is within our reach but we must act now before it becomes a permanent part of our national landscape. Join the conversation. Be part of the solution."

To learn more, visit www.HomelessChildrenAmerica.org.



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