Letter from Our CEO Bobby Watts: The Power of Membership | April 2017
“Thrilled” is the word I’ve used most often when people ask me how I feel about joining the National Health Care for the Homeless Council as CEO. I am extremely pleased and privileged to be working with all of you in this new capacity. As a long-time staff member of a large Health Care for the Homeless agency, and an active Board member of the Council for many years, I was somewhat familiar with the work that the Council did. However, in the past month, I’ve begun learning just how talented and hard-working our staff is, and I’m still learning about additional publications and resources that we produce. I find myself saying, “I wish I knew this before!” One of my goals is to make sure more of you know about the great resources of the Council.
John Lozier did not only leave a tremendous legacy—he also left a team that is probably the strongest in the Council’s history. Dr. Darlene Jenkins did a great job ensuring that the Council’s work continued successfully during the interim period of January through March. All of the Council owes her and our staff a debt of gratitude.
The Council is effective not only because of the hard, expert work of our staff, but also because of an active and engaged membership. Each month, you cumulatively devote thousands of hours of work, brainpower, and understanding shaped by your on-the-ground experiences as consumers, clinicians, administrators, and advocates in services for people living without homes. Our membership is the invaluable fuel of the Council. We need all of you to collectively power though these times of uncertainty and change so that the Council stays on its course of helping every member deliver excellent care and working for a society that meets the needs of all its citizens through equitable and just health and housing policies and systems.
In the April edition of Council News, you will find many resources from the NHCHC to help you do your important work. Read about our upcoming 2017 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference this June in Washington, D.C. Since the Council formally assumed planning for the Conference, each year’s Conference has been better-attended, and you’ve told us that the content has met your needs better. This year, we expect record attendance, so register now while seats remain.
Also featured is the work of our Policy Team led by Dr. Barbara DiPietro. The Council is staying on top of the issues that matter to you—and we’re producing crucial resources to help you understand what is happening in Washington, what to watch for in your state, and most importantly, how to educate others so that sound policies are enacted.
In these interesting times, I ask every member to consider doing more for our cause of ensuring comprehensive health care and secure housing for all. Be informed, and use that information to serve those living without homes, educate others, and help strengthen the Council. This year our Board of Directors has overseen and helped manage the transition from John Lozier’s historic stewardship of the Council in a superb manner. Consider nominating someone to serve on the Board, and/or consider serving as a Board member yourself.
We face great challenges, but I know that we can meet them successfully together.