This last week I was speaking at the 2011 National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness put on by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. It was an amazing event, with lots of information on the battle to fight homelessness, focused on the increasing number of homeless families. If you or your organization works to help people get out of poverty and homelessness, you MUST attend these events. The networking opportunities alone are invaluable. All of us need to work together as a team if we are ever going to have large impact on poverty.
The first time I met Barbara Poppe, Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, was earlier this year when I was asked to sign and become a stakeholder for Home For Good L.A.'s campaign. I have been around lots of famous people in my life -- I even produced a show with George W. Bush once -- but meeting Barbara Poppe felt like the first time I met Frank Zappa in the 70s. I felt like a groupie waiting for an autograph. I was almost even speechless, but thanks to Ed Cabrera, a mutual friend from the 100kHomes leadership team, I was properly introduced and gave Barbara a We Are Visible card. Well, I have to thank Ed once again for helping me connect to Barbara and even doing a professional job as cameraman. Truth is, Barbara is very down to earth and very nice. My nervousness was simply because I care so much and respect her and her position.
In this short interview, Barbara Poppe talks about President Obama's "Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness".The plan has 4 key goals:
- End chronic homelessness by 2015.
- Prevent and end homelessness among veterans by 2015.
- End family, youth and child homelessness by 2020.
- End all forms of homelessness.
I, for one, was very encouraged by Barbara's session and that the Obama administration is taking tangible actions to fight homelessness. Yes, I can hear people now saying it can't be done or pointing out the flaws. But instead of fighting the fight against poverty and homelessness, we need to forget our differences, silence our egos and just give the plan a chance. As I travel the country, the communities that have the most impact are the communities that work together well -- so let's do just that! The point is to save lives and get people into housing and the support they need.
We can do this! We can end homelessness!