Jean-Michel Giraud is the President and CEO of Friendship Place in Washington, DC. Since joining the organization in 2006, he has drawn on his 25 years of clinical experience in human services, his training in psychiatric rehabilitation, his expertise in recovery, and his commitment to person-centered programming to pioneer innovative program models that have moved DC’s entire homeless services system forward. In 2009 he was named to the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness and the board of the Coalition of Housing and Homeless Organizations (2009-2013), and in 2010 he received the Meyer Foundation Exponent Award for visionary nonprofit leadership.
Giraud’s focus on cost-effective, permanent and rapid solutions to homelessness has been lauded by the DC government, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and homeless service advocates. In the words of Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness and member of the Friendship Place board, “He has become a leader in efforts to transform the homelessness systems in DC, challenging the city to move from band-aid approaches to permanent solutions.”
Giraud began his career in human services in 1982 in Massachusetts, where he worked with self-injurious and aggressive young adults with intellectual disabilities. He has worked in a variety of capacities in community-based settings, including outreach, residential, social recreation, psychiatric rehabilitation, dual recovery and crisis stabilization. In his previous position as Senior Director of Baltimore and Frederick Behavioral Health Services for Alliance, Inc., he led a team of eight managers and 99 employees providing psychiatric rehabilitation and dual-recovery programs for adults.
Giraud holds a Master’s Degree and Doctoral Qualification (DEA) in American Studies from Montpellier University in France, undergraduate degrees in Translation from La Sorbonne Nouvelle and Paris X University, and a Master Certificate in Business Administration from Tulane University in Louisiana. He is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner and has a Co-Occurring Disorders Competency Designation from DC COSIG and The Danya Institute. He has served in two CARF-accredited organizations and on the Board of the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland. He is a member of the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.
During his tenure at Friendship Place, Giraud has revamped the organization’s entire spectrum of programming to enhance consumer empowerment by incorporating a person-centric service orientation and increasing consumer participation in governance and program development. He has also overseen the launching of nine major new programs based on state-of the-art program models:
- Neighbors First (2008), a District-funded “housing first” program serving more than 200 men and women and over 100 families (since 2014), which consistently exceeds national average outcomes for housing stability and consumer progress;
- Homeless Veterans Initiative (2009), a systems advocacy program that has contributed to a steady decline in homelessness among Veterans in DC;
- AimHire (2011), a privately funded job placement and rehousing program that is producing outstanding outcomes and forging completely new territory in the field of employment services for people experiencing homelessness in the DC Metropolitan Area;
- Veterans First (2011), a VA-funded homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing program that has become a key partner in the VA’s efforts to end homelessness among Veterans and their families in DC Metro;
- Direct Housing (2013), a privately funded prevention and rapid rehousing program addressing the needs of at-risk and vulnerable adults and families;
- Before Thirty (2014), a flexible solutions program for youth and young adults;
- Home Now (2014), a DC-funded rapid rehousing program for single adults;
- Families First (2014), a long-term program for veterans with dependents in Prince George's County funded by Maryland DHCD and the Freddie Mac Foundation;
- La Casa (2014), a DC-funded permanent supportive housing program for 40 men in a congregate setting in Columbia Heights;
- Youth Outreach Program (2015), a DC-funded street outreach program for youth experiencing homelessness.
Giraud advocates at the local and national levels. He has submitted written statements to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs.
He has presented field workshops on empowerment, organizational transformation, veterans services, Employment First, rapid rehousing and senior homelessness at the following conferences and colloquies:
Pathways Housing First Partners Conference, New Orleans, 2012, Chicago, 2014 & Los Angeles, 2016
National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference, Washington, DC, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016
Nonprofit Capacity Conference, Crystal City, VA, 2013
National Association of Workforce Development Professionals Conference, Denver, 2014, Las Vegas, 2015 & Orlando, 2016
The American Roundtable to Abolish Homelessness, University of Southern California & Harvard University, 2014
National Conference on Ending Poverty, Washington, DC, 2014 & 2015
NAEH Webinar on Rapid Rehousing (2015) & Shared Housing (2016)
Little Brothers & Friends of the Elderly International Congress, Cincinnati, OH, 2015
Operation Hope Global Forum, Atlanta, 2016
National Conference on Ending Youth and Family Homelessness (NAEH), Oakland, California, 2016
Friendship Place was founded in 1991 by a grassroots coalition of businesses, congregations and community activists in upper Northwest DC. Supported by more than 400 volunteers, 26 partner congregations and corporate partners, the organization now serves in the DC Metropolitan Area, and empowers more than 2,500 people a year. Offering a complete menu of homeless services — street outreach, hospitality and basic needs, free medical and psychiatric care, case management, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, transitional shelter, permanent housing, job placement, and specialized services for veterans, families, youth and young adults ― Friendship Place empowers men, women and families to rebuild their lives, find homes, get jobs and reconnect with the community, permanently.