Letter From Our CEO: The Power of Our Conference | May 2017

Bobby Watts

Bobby Watts, CEO of the National HCH Council

Dear Colleagues,

According to Encarta Dictionary, two definitions of “Conference” are:

  1. Meeting for lectures and discussion: a meeting, sometimes lasting for several days, in which people with a common interest participate in discussions or listen to lectures to obtain information.
  2. Meeting for serious discussion: a meeting to discuss serious matters such as policy or business.

While these are accurate descriptions of what occurs at our annual National Health Care for the Homeless Conference & Policy Symposium, they are also inadequate. At HCH2017 from June 21-24 in Washington, D.C., you can expect to learn critical information in important workshops at the intersection of homelessness and health care. But you will also have the chance to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and come away recharged and rejuvenated for our common work to end homelessness and ensure comprehensive health care for all Americans.

We in Health Care for the Homeless sometimes find ourselves straddling two worlds (at least), which can be uncomfortable, and sometimes tiring. In the health care field, our primary concern is bettering the health of those experiencing homelessness. Our mission is critical, but our focus is not always—or even often—shared by the mainstream health care system (except to control costs). Similarly, many agencies that serve people without homes don’t have a health-informed perspective. Our presence in those worlds serves to enhance them and bridge those divides, but providing that perspective can sometimes be draining. But at the Conference, you’ll be with 1,000 other people who “get it”—who understand why Housing Is Health Care, and why health care is important to get and keep people in housing. How refreshing!

If you have registered for HCH2017, I look forward to seeing you there and learning with you. If you and others from your organization have not registered for the Conference, do it today!

The power of our Conference comes not only from the information that is presented, but also from the full spectrum of viewpoints and approaches it presents from clinicians, consumers, outreach workers, administrators, and advocates, all working on an equal footing with a common goal—to improve the health of people living without homes through effective services and through advancing health care and housing as human rights.

The power of the National Health Care for the Homeless Conference is like nothing else.

Thank you for making the Conference and our Council powerful!

In Solidarity,

Bobby Watts

Chief Executive Officer
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
(615) 226-2292