Ellen Dailey Award 2013
Ellen Dailey was many things, including a person who experienced homelessness. Ellen used this experience to champion the unique voice of those experiencing homelessness and the right of all people to play a role in the decisions affecting their lives. She was instrumental in starting the Consumer Advisory Board in Boston and the National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB). The movement to involve consumers in the provision of services owes her much gratitude.
Ellen fought tirelessly for the rights of other people experiencing homelessness. Her commanding presence made it easy for people to get to know her and take her seriously. Ellen was one of the first people that consumers met coming to the National HCH Conference and made consumers feel welcome. She encouraged consumers to share their experiences of homelessness, to improve services to fit the needs of those they served, and to advocate for accessible health care and affordable housing.
When Ellen passed, the NCAB Steering Committee felt that her legacy should continue. The award that bears her name is meant to honor her memory and her efforts advocating for persons experiencing homelessness.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council would like to congratulate the 2012 winners: Cary Carner and Sue Campbell!
Cary has many identities. He is a percussionist. He is a recovering alcoholic. He suffers from severe and persistent mental illness. He has at several points in his life lived on the streets. But his strongest identity is one of being a beacon of hope for others with similar struggles. His heart and spirit are more important than his head. His message is that no barriers need to hold anyone back from hope for a better future.
Cary is a Peer Advocate at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and uses his experiences to help people get what they really need more than even housing and health care – hope and a home. His work emphasizes that obtaining housing is not the end goal, but is the chance for a new beginning that cannot happen without compassion, caring, understanding, empathy, and community.
He considers the work he does to be a privilege and enjoys being able to support and encourage people. His joy comes from seeing others take steps, even if they are baby steps, toward their own recovery.
A layoff in 1997 began Sue’s complicated downward spiral into homelessness. She had been one of the first employees at the IT firm Intel, but like so many others, unemployment and mental illness led her to life on the streets.
After two and a half years, Sue was able to get back on her feet with the help of Mesilla Valley Community of Hope in Las Cruces, NM and has since been a phenomenal advocate and case manager at Mesilla Valley for 14 years.
Sue has been a member of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness board for nearly 8 years, a board member of the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the local NM Behavioral Health Collaborative. She speaks regularly to New Mexico State University students and has testified at the New Mexico State Legislature. “Mama Sue” as her clients call her is an excellent advocate and a case manager extraordinaire.
How far NCAB has come; Ellen would be proud!: A reflection by Marion Webster Walls on server as a mentor at the 2012 National Conference