I like Barbara Poppe. She's so genuine and down to earth I often forget she is the executive director of United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Last week, at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference, Barbara went out of her way to introduce me to a homeless man that received a scholarship from NEAH to attend the conference. As busy as Barbara must be, she always seems to find the time to talk to everyone. I attended one of her sessions at the conference, Designing a Community-wide Strategy for Ending Homelessness, and was as impressed as I was last year.
I first met Barbara last year. We taped a short interview about President Obama's "Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness" [PDF] initiative. This year we are joined by Laura Zeilinger, Director of National Programs and Field Support. Laura is responsible for the implementation of Opening Doors.
Whenever I start an interview like this I get nervous. Being honest, I don't understand government policy. I just know that our current system of fighting homelessness is broken. I also know we can end homelessness by all of us working together and working smarter. I know we are never all going to get along. We are never going to all sit in a room and sing Cumbayá. But if we forget our differences while sharing our resources and knowledge -- we can end homelessness! That is why I support campaigns like Opening Doors and Home For Good LA.