Letter from Our CEO: Pause to Reflect and to Prepare for Action | June 2019

Bobby Watts

Bobby Watts, CEO of the National HCH Council

Dear Friends,

I have been fortunate to be able to take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the tremendous information and experiences many of us shared at our recent National Health Care for the Homeless Conference & Policy Symposium (#HCH2019) from May 22-25 in Washington, D.C.

The theme of our 2019 Conference was “Working Together for Justice,” and we are pleased to have had 900 attendees join us in D.C. We are honored to have received feedback praising the quality of our presentations and the insights of keynote presentations by Catherine Lhamon, Chair of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights, and Leilani Farha, UN Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, as well as the rousing call to action at the privately-funded rally organized by our National Consumer Advisory Board.

At #HCH2019, we recognized that racism is a structural cause of mass homelessness in this country and that we need to undo racism and promote racial equity to eliminate homelessness. Multiple sessions addressed this topic, and we received feedback that some panels were not as diverse as they should have been. The Council is pausing to reflect how we can improve in this area. We are intentionally moving forward on this issue and hoping to provide the environment and tools to advance social justice, including racial equity. We have a long way to go as a Council—and as a nation—but we are walking the path and committed to keep moving in the right direction.

I invite you to take the opportunity to pause to prepare for action. I’ve found through my many years of attending National HCH Conferences that a key way to maximize its benefits is to review my notes shortly after the conference (preferably with others who attended) and take concrete steps to implement changes. Fortunately, whether you were able to be with your 900 colleagues in person or not, video from the #HCH2019 plenary sessions and materials from our workshops will soon be available on our website. I hope you will take time to review and reflect on them—and put some of their insights into action in your community.

Onward as we continue to work together for health care justice for all!

In solidarity,

Bobby Watts Signature

Bobby Watts

Chief Executive Officer
National Health Care for the Homeless Council