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Why pretend to be homeless?

A few months ago, I was invited to a homeless awareness event where people would be sleeping outdoors for the night in an effort to understand the plight of people experiencing homelessness. At this event, they would be giving out a prize for the “best makeshift shelter” and a prize for the best “street performance.” I was up front with this group and commended their desire to raise awareness about homelessness and the issues surrounding homelessness in West Virginia. Though their intentions were really good in that they were aiming to raise awareness about homelessness, homelessness is a traumatic event that should not be taken lightly.

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Judgment Goes Both Ways

I’ve learned a lot since my direct service days in a family shelter from 2003-2009. Fresh out of college with big ideas and a big heart, I put all of myself into my work as a case manager for children and adults, a Housing Counselor and a grant writer. Now, in hindsight, I will admit that I did a lot of my direct service work pretty poorly, though the best I knew at that time. I focused on housing readiness, I focused on life skills, I focused on stuff; I knew I needed to provide my clients with everything they needed to get back on their feet. I claimed to have a housing focus, but only after my families were "ready" for housing. What I did do well was love them. I followed up with them when they left. I did not want them to come back and my biggest failure was to see a family re-apply for my programs.

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More than Just Charity

I’m sort of a social-media-butterfly. I love Facebook to connect with our friends and family, Instagram to show off my wanna-be-photographer skills and I’m learning to Tweet with wit.

Always the shopper and always looking for a good deal, I follow (on Facebook) several [Insert County Here] Online Yard Sale pages; my home county, and a couple neighboring counties. Last Friday, I stumbled upon a post on a neighboring county’s yard sale site that gave a lot of details about a man who is living in an old travel trailer with no heat, water, or utilities. The closing line of the post was “he’s been building fires to stay warm.” There were 237 comments under this post of well-meaning citizens offering clothes, blankets, propane fuel, wood, food, and any other myriad of “stuff.”

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This is NOT easy work!!

I spent last week at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference and it was awesome to be surrounded by so many like-minded people committed to believing we can, and will, end homelessness. West Virginia is quite popular for our emerging methods of change, our involvement with 100,000 Homes, and our innovative uses of the VI-SPDAT in HMIS. I was on a high when I left DC, I was pumped to make some connections with the great speakers I heard, and was super excited to start planning. My mind was racing!...

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Making The Grade

This is my first blog. Ever. I’m not ashamed to admit that don’t like to write, I’d rather look at graphs and bury myself in an excel spreadsheet all day than sit down and write something. So needless to say, when Zach told me to blog, eh some 3 months ago, I had a minor whining meltdown. “I don’t know what to say.” “I’m not creative.” “It will come off sounding like a term paper from college.” Therefore, I’m sure, by the time you’re reading this, it’s gone through no less than 3 or 4 revisions.

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October 02, 2017
Around 2013, I wrote a Manifesto. I wrote it out of anger, at a time when I was done with other people, organizations, and entities constantly definin...
February 15, 2017
What is Housing a First? Why should I (or my agency follow it)? Where is proof that Housing First works? But, Michael...it's really hard to implement?...
August 31, 2016
A few months ago, I was invited to a homeless awareness event where people would be sleeping outdoors for the night in an effort to understand the pli...

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Don't forget that today is the last day to apply for a scholarship through WVCEH to attend the National Alliance to… https://t.co/BirN22Fpvo

Early-bird registration is still open for the 2018 Cohort of the OrgCode Leadership Academy!! https://t.co/96Dt2pik5R

Tonight is the PIT Count in the Balance of State CoC. Volunteers across WV will canvas the streets and backwoods... https://t.co/zLrKeQ0vfQ

There is still a limited number of seats available in each of our Regional SPDAT trainings coming up. Advance... https://t.co/kt9LcDNx1e

WV Coalition to End Homelessness | PO Box 4697, Bridgeport, WV 26330 | 304-842-9522 | info@wvceh.org | website by brickswithoutstraw