PhotoVoice Learning Collaborative: Eliminating Stigma against People Experiencing Homelessness

Request for Applications

The application period has closed.

Overview Information

Health centers providing services to people experiencing homelessness have tremendous potential to directly affect the health status and influence numerous underlying societal inequities that contribute to health disparities and poor health. Over the next three years, the National Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Council will focus on developing Learning Collaboratives targeting health centers to improve their performance and practice in some of the area of trauma, behavioral health and addressing the social determinants of health.

One such initiative is the PhotoVoice Learning Collaborative to address the issue of stigma. PhotoVoice is a community research initiative in which participants recruited by health site coordinators document their lived experiences through photographs and journal entries that will be displayed in community and national exhibits. The goal of these exhibits is to not only increase knowledge and awareness, but also to empower participants to share their individual stories and to allow them to engage attendees in collaborative dialogue around issues and policies affecting community members.

The goals of this Learning Collaborative project are to:

  1. Increase community knowledge and awareness of experiences of homelessness
  2. Build capacity of health centers to engage with consumers who will be contributing to the project
  3. Build capacity to organize and exhibit materials produced throughout the project
  4. Cultivate community engagement within participants of the project
  5. Educate community stakeholders through demonstrated lived experiences
  6. Reduce stigma through shared stories, experiences and community discourse
  7. Develop training and technical assistance resources for outreach, engagement and community collaborations

In order to achieve these goals, it is important to understand that PhotoVoice entails much more than handing participants cameras to be sent out to take pictures or video. Therefore, site coordinators and participants in the Learning Collaborative will engage in virtual quarterly trainings led by faculty consisting of the Council, Health Outreach Partners, and other relevant Subject Matter Experts. These trainings will cover the basics of camera use and storytelling and discuss safe and ethical documentary practices. The Learning Collaborative will also include required monthly meetings for participants to share and discuss with site coordinators and faculty the images they’ve taken, and be able to state opinions and feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

Key capacity areas covered throughout the Learning Collaborative include:

  1. Strategies for effective storytelling
  2. Community outreach and engagement
  3. Photography and storytelling techniques and ethics
  4. Capacity to design and execute community exhibits

Participation in the PhotoVoice Learning Collaborative will be free. Selected applicants will participate in a three-year, interactive Learning Collaborative that includes community and national exhibits, monthly meetings with participants, site coordinators, and faculty and quarterly trainings via interactive webinar sessions, kicking off with the first two-hour training on Wednesday, October 25th.  Subsequent trainings and monthly meetings with the Learning Collaborative will be one hour each.  Site coordinators will also be expected to independently facilitate regular meetings for participants to share photos, stories, challenges and opportunities for questions. An evaluative component of the Learning Collaborative will also be required for site coordinators, who will work with the faculty to develop metrics and surveys to measure the impact of exhibits, as well as the impact of the Learning Collaborative as a whole.

The Council will select five (5) health centers in Year 1 for the pilot phase of the Learning Collaborative. Site coordinators will recruit 3-5 consumer participants per site. Participants in the first year of PhotoVoice are not required to participate each year of the three-year Learning Collaborative, but site coordinators are responsible for ensuring that 3-5 participates will be enrolled each year. Participants in Year 1 are encouraged to continue to participate in a mentorship role or as Subject Matter Expert in trainings in subsequent years. Disposable cameras and other necessary materials will be provided to successful applicants. Participants will be trained in PhotoVoice and will contribute photos and stories to be displayed locally and nationally during project exhibits. Community exhibits are not required in the first year, but will be required in Years 2 and 3.  The first PhotoVoice exhibit will occur at the 2018 National HCH Council Annual Conference in May 2018. See Key Dates and Participant Expectations for more detail. Applications for Year 1 are due Friday, October 6th, 2017, by midnight CDT.

Key Dates

  • Deadline for Applications: Friday, October 6th, 2017, at midnight CDT
  • Kick-off & Virtual Training 1: Strategies for Effective Storytelling – Wednesday, October 25th, 2017
  • Virtual Training 2: Community Outreach and Engagement – Wednesday, January 24th, 2017,
  • Virtual Training 3: Granular Photography Techniques and Ethics – Wednesday, March 28th, 2017
  • Exhibit at 2018 National Conference – May 15th-18th, 2017 (attendance not required)
  • Virtual Training 4: Putting Together an Exhibit – Wednesday, June 27th, 2017

Eligibility Information

Successful applicants will meet the following requirements:

  1. Receive 330 funding for special populations, or demonstrate that health center provides services for homeless populations
  2. Able to have at least 1 key staff member commit to participation as site coordinator to manage participants, equipment and projects
  3. Able to recruit 3-5 consumer participants in the PhotoVoice project
  4. Possess capabilities and infrastructure to support monthly meetings and quarterly virtual trainings with the Learning Collaborative
  5. Create one Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by all participants on the applicant team stating that they agree to commit the in-kind time required to participate in all trainings and PhotoVoice activities and can meet the expectations listed below. If participants have not been selected by the time of application submission, they MUST be selected and present by the time of Training 2 (See Plan and Approach in Application Form if participants are not yet selected).

Participant Expectations

Project participants will be expected to do the following:

  • Commit the participation of at least 1 staff member per site to manage participants, equipment, and projects throughout the entirety of the 3-year Learning Collaborative (Site Coordinator).
  • Commit to recruiting and maintaining 3-5 consumer participants for the duration of the Learning Collaborative. These participants agree to attend monthly meetings and quarterly trainings with the Learning Collaborative and meet regularly with their local site coordinators. Signatures of participants should be included in the required Memorandum of Understanding unless a plan to engage participants is otherwise outlined in the application (see Application Form below).
  • Actively participate in all trainings and virtual shared learning meetings, sharing their experiences, challenges, and lessons learned. This includes monthly meetings and quarterly virtual trainings hosted by faculty and regular local meetings hosted by site coordinators. Regularity of local meetings may be determined by each site. Attendance at the 2018 HCH National Conference May 15th – 18th is encouraged in order to represent the Learning Collaborative during its exhibit but is not required. Travel is not provided; however, consumer participants may and are encouraged to apply for subsidies through the Council to attend.
  • Provide photos and stories as required to the Council for duration of the Learning Collaborative.
  • Participate in an evaluation to understand and share best practices and lessons learned for future PhotoVoice or general Learning Collaborative implementation and training efforts.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of a survey to be administered before and after the exhibits to measure how effectively they address or reduce stigma.

Questions about eligibility, participant expectations, or application questions can be directed to Brett Poe at the National HCH Council at 615-226-2292, ext. 242, or at

Application and Submission Information

The application period has closed. 

Applications were due on Friday, October 6th at midnight CDT. Applications must be no longer than 5 pages (not including the 1-2 page Memorandum of Understanding). Download the application form.

Applicants may type their answers to the application questions from the above form in a Word or PDF document and submit to Katherine Cavanaugh at Be sure to use the subject line “PhotoVoice Learning Collaborative Health Center Application.”