Grateful in 2017

It is the time of year to reflect on the past 12 months. I am grateful for many things this year. Here is my list:

1. Leadership

The importance of leadership development in ending homelessness really took a huge leap this year. I had the chance to facilitate three Leadership Academies - Grand Bend, Winnipeg, and Hawaii - as well as the Master Class in Arizona. I am so grateful that several hundred people participated in this professional development opportunity. And I am so very grateful that Ann Oliva is spending part of her time with the OrgCode team to advance leadership development within the homelessness and housing service sector.

I am already looking forward to the next Leadership Academy in October in West Virginia. You can get more information and register for that here.

2. Communities Making a Difference

There are several communities we have been working with that are making a huge difference in ending homelessness, and 2017 is when some saw huge leaps forward in their progress. I would like to make a special shout out to Bridging the Gap (Big Island, Maui and Kauai) who all saw reductions in homelessness and are proving it is possible to shift program delivery towards ending homelessness in markets that are highly unaffordable and have scarce housing options. They are proving that determination, creativity and leadership make a huge difference in ending homelessness. 

3. My Home and Native Land

Big things are afoot in Canada and it is exciting. The 20K Homes Campaign is in high gear, pushing the envelope in the pursuit of housing 20K of Canada's most vulnerable homeless individuals. The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness put on a stellar conference this year. Federal funding is aligning to Housing First in a way it never has before. And there is a huge investment being made by the Federal government of Canada to increase housing options and end homelessness. 

4. Conferences

2017 was a great year to be part of conferences where the content seems to be getting better and better in the pursuit of ending homelessness. Florida, Michigan and Iowa were standout excellent state conferences this past year. The National Alliance to End Homelessness did not disappoint again in 2017. And as previously mentioned, the Canadian Alliance conference was top notch.

5. Overcoming Depression Again

2017 was a horrible year in my ongoing battle with depression, especially spring and summer. It was the worst it has been in many years. But focusing on wellness, being open with others with what I was working through, and staying the course helped me slowly but surely make my way out of it again. I am grateful to all of the support I received along the way. 

6. The OrgCode Team

The band of merry misfits keep me going. They are smart and cheeky and so passionate about ending homelessness. They challenge me and inspire me. Look out 2018 - we will soon be planning for what we bring to the table. 

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.


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