MVCH Exec. Dir. Nicole Martinez, St Lukes Health Care Clinic Board Member James Vonbehren, and MVCH Outreach Coordinator Matt Mercer were invited to Houston for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s Southwest Health and Housing Training to sit on a panel discussion about “Meeting Individual Needs”. This conference was held all day at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston on Monday Oct 28th and Tuesday Oct 29th and featured 6 workshops each day as well as a panel discussion. Experts from all over the country in various fields related to health care and housing for the homeless and spoke on a diverse array of topics such as Special Poulations Health, Medicaid Expansion,Trauma Informed Care, Cultural Competency, Integrating HIV Care Into Primary Care and Public Health,Consumer Skill Building, Outreach and Enrollment, Collaboration, and even Disaster Planning For People Experiencing Homelessness. It was such an inspiration to be a part of these discussions, and an incredible learning opportunity, and I was deeply moved to meet so many individuals who thanked us for the work we are doing with the homeless in Las Cruces and were really interested in our Camp Hope Program.
NHCHC has a longstanding legacy of recognizing homeless advocacy from formerly homeless people, our own Sue Campbell (SOAR Case Manager extrordinaire) was awarded the “Ellen Dailey Award” in 2012 by their agency. It was a real privilege to be part of this conference, myself having recently transitioned out of homelessness in Sept 2013, and I know James feels the same way, as he has been in MVCH’s ABODE housng program for about a year. We met some very devoted people there and got a chance to network and have started some new and exciting collaborations that I am sure will improve the quality of the work we all are doing to manage and end homelessness in our country.
Thanks to all the staff at NHCHC for organizing such a great training, and a heartfelt thanks for inviting us from Las Cruces to speak with all the amazing people coming together to improve our efforts working with the homeless.