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Look back at our work in 2018 and learn what keeps us moving forward.
Look back at our work in 2018 and learn what keeps us moving forward.
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December 27, 2018 | Volume 22, No. 12 | Archives
Warm the Soul with a Steaming Cup of Justice
Looking back over 2018, we’ve covered a wide range of issues here in Mobilizer, including protecting immigrant rights, working in encampments, advancing an opioid agenda, fighting Medicaid work requirements, advocating for racial equity, ensuring voting rights, and promoting single-payer legislation. There’s clearly a lot going on in the policy world, and the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) community is already on the front lines every day providing care to vulnerable people. We are facing both the immediate need for our services and the broader need for our advocacy. Justice can feel elusive, and our work to realize health care and housing as human rights continues. It can be exhausting. But nevertheless, we persist in our struggle for Justice. Why? Because these are our values. Because we recognize that change is possible. Because we believe in a better community. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Justice doesn’t have to be elusive. Recently, I’ve been finding justice in a variety of places both small and large. Below are just five examples that warm my soul and give me hope for our mission in 2019:
  • Public advocacy: One in five Americans went to a political event or a march recently, and one in four participated in some other type of advocacy. Half of these folks say this is more than they’ve done in the past. Keep marching! Keep advocating! (And take a friend.)
Cheers to our work ahead—our work continues, and our spirit burns bright!
We Asked HCH Leaders “What Keeps You Going?”
“I find my main source of inspiration to come from the resilience that I see in the people that I work with. I am nourished by their strength, determination, and humanity in the face of incredible adversity, and hope that they gain strength and hope from my work as well.”
David Modersbach
Chair, NHCHC Policy Committee
Alameda Health Care for the Homeless (Oakland, CA)
“There are worse things in life than to be called ‘relentless’. When I hear that, I know that we’re making the status quo unacceptable, which is what leads to change.”
Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD
Chair, NHCHC Research Committee
Health Care for the Homeless (Baltimore, MD)
“Since I was a child, the lesson learned from my beloved grandmother which has become my life mantra is: "Go out and tell all the good you know, because you never know where the good will go!” In telling the story of our collective work, I get to live by this doctrine every day!”
Maureen Neal, CFRE
Chair, NHCHC Advancement Committee
Daily Planet Health Services (Richmond, VA)
“I’m grateful to the Council for opportunities to share and to provide leadership to the field. Our Administrators Committee attracts 20-to-25 HCH leaders to our monthly call, because we are hungry to learn from each other and provide mutual support! This year I’ve enjoyed getting to know our newer board members who bring their diverse backgrounds, skills, and hearts to our work, and are eager to share with others. What a blessing.”
Heidi Romans Nelson, FACHE
Chair, NHCHC Administrators Committee
Duffy Health Center (Hyannis, MA)
“I practice self-care through the art of photography and videography. It is always amazing to be able to capture other people’s experiences. Art can change how people view homelessness. When I look back at my photos and videos I can see the tangible proof of how things have changed over time. That change inspires me.”
Deidre Young
Co-Chair, NHCHC National Consumer Advisory Board
Health Care for the Homeless Houston (Houston, TX)
“I am inspired and invigorated by this work, not because I see myself as a martyr or savior of a downtrodden people. Rather, I am a member of a community full of kind, vibrant, talented, capable, dynamic souls. A difference between me and my clients is privilege and luck, and I’ve never known anyone who should be sentenced to the inhumanity of homelessness because they are poor or unlucky. This is why I show up.”
Lawanda Williams, LCSW-C
Chair-Elect, NHCHC Clinicians Network
Health Care for the Homeless (Baltimore, MD)
Third Episode of the Poverty Policy Podcast!
The Council’s new “Poverty Policy Podcast” released its third episode, featuring an interview with renowned expert and author Matt Bennett on trauma, self-care, and healing communities and special guest Paula Lamazzo, Director of the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, who provides words of wisdom and some motivation for organizing in the year ahead! Stay tuned. Our podcast episodes are currently available for free streaming on and will be available on standard podcasts applications soon.
Listen to the Episode
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Regina Reed, MPH
National Health Policy Organizer
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 
Take (Self) Care
As we prepare for another year filled with action alerts and policy perils, the most important thing advocates can do is take care of themselves. We task you to rest and rejuvenate before the new year. For inspiration, check out last year’s issue Self-Care Training Regimen for the Revolution (authored by this month’s podcast guest, Matt Bennett).
Read the Issue
Save the Date!
As you prepare your calendar for the year ahead be sure to add our 2019 National HCH Conference in Washington, D.C., on May 22-25th. This year’s conference theme is “Justice,” and the event will unite nearly 1000 providers, consumers, administrators, and advocates working at the intersection of health care and homelessness.
Please Donate!
This publication and all of the National HCH Council’s advocacy is funded by private donations. Private gifts allow us to advocate for policy changes calling for comprehensive health care and housing for all. Whether $5 or $500, your donation makes a difference.
Help Our Cause
Policy Updates
Remember the Dead and Fight Like Hell For The Living
On the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, we honored Homeless Persons' Memorial Day to remember our friends whose lives have been cut short due to homelessness. According to the WHO definition of violence, these are all violent deaths that are laid at our collective feet. However, they are not the only violence our community faces. The National Coalition for the Homeless has put together their annual Hate Crimes report on violence against those without homes. This year, let us commit to ensuring the humanity and dignity of all while working to ensure #NoMoreHomelessDeath.
Budget Agreement Not Yet Reached
Congress left for the holidays without finding an agreement on the remaining 2019 spending bills, leaving a quarter of federal programs unfunded, including HUD. Three quarters of the 2019 spending bills, including HHS, passed in September. Congress returns this week to continue negotiations, and it is unclear when or how an agreement will be reached with lawmakers split over President Trump’s demand for a Mexican border wall.
Criminal Justice Bill Passes
On December 21st President Trump signed into law the bi-partisan Criminal Justice Bill, the First Step Act. While further reform is still needed, the bill takes important strides forward on sentencing reform, undoing racist policies, and includes modest improvements for behavioral health care for justice-involved individuals (learn about the pros and cons). The Council supports the passage of this legislation and will work with the new Congress in 2019 to continue improving our criminal justice system.
Texas Court Case Rules the ACA is Unconstitutional
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the Affordable Care Act should be overturned because the requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. No immediate changes to the law will take effect, and this decision will likely be challenged in other courts. Read more about what this ruling means. 
The Good and the Bad Medicaid Waivers
Wisconsin is the 5th state to get approval from CMS to add work requirements to its Medicaid program (9 others still await approval). On a positive note, Hawaii had a waiver approved that adds tenancy support services to its Medicaid program (fun fact: Dr. Josh Green, incoming Lt. Governor in Hawaii, interviewed with us in February on this very topic). Read a report on Medicaid waivers from the Commonwealth Fund.
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
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National Heatlh Care for the Homeless Council
PO Box 60427 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
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