Ann Oliva is OrgCode's Leader in Residence

At our first Leadership Academy in 2015, OrgCode brought together a cohort of professionals dedicated to ending homelessness to learn more about how to be authentic, thoughtful and successful leaders in their communities.  In addition to two days of content presented by Iain, we heard from a couple of guest speakers – including Ann Oliva, who took time away from her day job at HUD to talk to the cohort about her leadership journey. In 2016, Ann came back to talk to the new group, and in those two years she fell in love with the idea of helping other professionals hone their leadership skills and therefore get one step closer to reaching their goals.  Earlier this year, Ann announced she was leaving HUD to decompress and reflect for a few months before rejoining our collective work towards ending homelessness.

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An Alternative Perspective on Operation Rio Grande & the Criminalization of Homelessness

Anybody else remember when Utah was the envy of the country as they implemented Housing First? A relatively conservative state brought Housing First to life on scale. You may remember Lloyd Pendleton at national conferences touting their achievements and approach, or The Daily Show’s feature on Housing First in Salt Lake City. And while there has been healthy debate on whether Salt Lake and Utah as a whole was achieving what they said to have achieved, the progress they made and the strategy to get there was still enviable.

Those. Days. Are. Gone.

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Bigger Facilities or Better System?

I have been thinking about a question recently posed by Deb DeSantis, who is the President & CEO of CSH (which I am paraphrasing): How do we move the collective thinking from having bigger homeless facilities to better systems of care with housing at its foundation?

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Better By-Name Lists

This week's blog comes from David Tweedie on the OrgCode team ([email protected]):

If you're a street outreach worker, you've likely struggled to locate people referred to you through your community's Coordinated Entry system.  You have their name, and where they were last surveyed, but knowing where someone surfaced two or twelve or twenty days ago seems a lot less helpful than where they're staying now.

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Ending Youth Homelessness

Erin Wixsten is the youth lead with OrgCode and provides this week's blog. You can reach her at [email protected]

Can we get a collective ‘Huzzah!’ (sorry, it’s Renaissance Festival season here in Minnesota) for youth homelessness finally getting some attention -- and by attention, I mean new resources -- thirty three million dollars to be exact.  I know I’m not alone in my eagerness to see how the 10 communities who were recipients of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) funds are going to allocate their awards, and while likely not enough to end homelessness for all young people experiencing it in those communities, it represents a significant gain in what is needed to support systems planning, innovative solutions, and an increase in supportive services and programs that work to end youth homelessness.

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Car Dealerships & Homeless Facilities

Car dealerships try to get you to do three things:

1. Buy/lease from them

2. Finance through them

3. Service your vehicle with them

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Hurricanes Do Not Discriminate, but Others Do

The full extent of Irma's devastation at the time of writing is not known. I hope there are few if any fatalities. I want to focus on a couple of aspects of the hurricane as it relates to homelessness.

The first is that there were definitely two groups of people served in advance of the hurricane when it came to sheltering. Take a look at this story from Volusia County (Daytona) here

In a nutshell, those that were seeking shelter but had a permanent residence were offered one type of shelter. Those that were homeless were told that they needed to go to a homeless shelter.

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Tough Love Ain't Love

"Sometimes you gotta show clients tough love so that they'll get their act together."

That is a direct quote in a community I was just in, and the third time in just over a week I had heard a similar sentiment. 

Tough love ain't love. It's being a coercive, power-hungry jerk and convincing yourself that it is love. Tough love is so far from love that it is like saying your socks are a portable napkin stuck in your shoe.

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The annual conference of the National Alliance to End Homelessness is happening this week. For more than a decade I have been here presenting. I have seen the conference grow through several hotels that could accommodate the increased demand for the conference and what it has to offer. I have seen superstars within the sector stay with it as long as I have, and seen others come and go.

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This week marks another birthday for me. It isn't one of those milestone birthdays, and yet I have found myself more retrospective than usual for some reason. This blog is an attempt to share some of the lessons I have learned up to this point in my life.

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