Health centers were built on a foundation of social justice. Over the past 50 years, health centers have emerged not only as important venues of care for underserved people, but also as advocates for social change. We cannot improve our patients’ health unless we change the broader communities where they live, work, and raise families. As unsheltered homelessness reaches a crisis point in many communities across the country, health centers are well-positioned to be strong voices for constructive, evidence-based public policy responses. In doing so, we elevate our profile, invite new funding opportunities, and open possibilities to create new lines of service that advance our mission (such as partnering with developers to build housing).
This workshop will address how health centers can fulfill the mission by framing advocacy efforts in a public health context and be active partners with local officials to bring humane and dignified solutions to homelessness. Health center leaders will present their approach to homeless advocacy and public health, and discuss how their focus on mission only adds to their financial margin and overall effectiveness as community leaders.
Identify public health issues associated with homelessness.
Identify advocacy strategies that align health center mission with public health issues.
Identify ways that advocacy can promote the value of health centers.
Senior Director, Policy,
National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc.