The 2018 NCHV Annual Conference took place May 30 through June 1 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The event’s theme, Progress. Practice. Perseverance., represented remarkable collective progress in ending homelessness among veterans in communities across the United States; focus on continuing that progress by continuing to identify proven strategies and policies to put into practice; and persevering to ensure that ending veteran homelessness remains the urgent national priority that it has been over the past nine years.
The event drew over 650 attendees, mostly service providers who work with homeless veterans, for three days of networking, training sessions, and keynote speakers. The conference featured sessions across six focused tracks: Innovations in Practice, Housing, Systems Coordination, Working with Special Populations, Employment and Income, and Latest Research. Attendees were able to participate in these as well as new Learning Institutes and incubator sessions to engage with experts and learn about the latest trends, practices, and research to take back to their communities and better serve the veterans they work with in the field.
Featured guest speakers included: Second Lady Karen Pence; Ruth Christopherson – Sr. Vice President, Citi Salutes and Citi Community Development; Heather Prill – Sr. Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Hometown Giving, The Home Depot Foundation; Ben Carson – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Ely Ross – Director of the DC Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs; and Thomas Bowman, retiring Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Other special events included an advance screening of the upcoming feature film, Unbroken: Path to Redemption (http://www.unbrokenfilm.com/), which was praised for its message of hope for veterans struggling with PTSD or other effects of war; and the 2018 Annual NCHV Awards, during which the Jerald Washington Memorial Founders’ Award – the highest honor presented in the homeless veteran assistance movement – was awarded to Mark Walker of the American Legion for his work and influence in making veteran homelessness an issue that the Legion not only recognizes, but prioritizes.
More information, the conference program, and presentation materials from the event are all available at http://nchv.org/index.php/about/about/annual_conference/.