As 2022 comes to a close, here at the National Alliance to End Homelessness we are thinking about all of the things we are grateful for – but also about the work ahead of us. We want to share a little about both with you, our supporters and partners.
2022 brought a host of changes to the Alliance and to our field.
First and foremost, the Alliance is grateful for the leadership of Nan Roman and celebrated her legacy as she transitioned out of her role as CEO in July. And while Nan left the entire team well positioned to move our collective work to end homelessness forward, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank her one last time in 2022 and celebrate the lasting and positive impact she has had on both this organization and our field.
Leadership change was not the only transition the Alliance made in 2022: we are grateful to be together in person again, in a variety of settings. After two years of remote work due to the pandemic, the Alliance staff began a slow return to our offices in March. We also brought back our in-person conferences for the first time since February 2020, and it has been fueling our work these past few months. More than 1,200 people from across the country – including people with lived experience of homelessness, service providers, housing providers, and other leaders in our field – came together in Washington, D.C. to talk about the challenges of the pandemic, learn about innovations and promising practices, and to share information about integrating justice and equity into our work. We are so grateful for their work and their input, and for the ability to come together again.
We are also deeply grateful to all of our supporters and partners that made these transitions possible, and to the thousands of people who do the work to end homelessness across our nation. I’d also like to thank the dozens of providers, system leaders, people with lived experience, and advocates who have met with Alliance staff over the past few months to share their time, stories, and expertise in listening sessions. You’ve helped to shape the direction of our work, and I can’t thank you enough.
This work is difficult, and knowing there are thousands of people across the country who support what we do makes all the hard work worth it. Ending homelessness is challenging – but it can become easier, bit by bit, when we have a strong community behind us. We couldn’t do it without our supporters and their dedicated commitment to our mission.
As many wonderful things as this year brought, 2022 held a number of challenges that we are working hard to address. Now is the time to double down, work harder, and do more with our resources so that we can have the positive impact we want – and need – across our nation.
We heard the great news that homelessness among veterans dropped 11 percent between 2020 and 2022. This decrease is in no small part due to the hard work of providers across the country, and a commitment to methods that work. But we suspect that this is a bright spot in the data that will soon be released by the federal government about homelessness in 2022.
Unsheltered homelessness continues to increase, and as pandemic funding runs out, communities report that the number of people and families entering homelessness (often for the first time) is also beginning to rise. Marginalized people – including people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people – continue to be disproportionately impacted by homelessness. On top of this, homelessness among older adults is higher than ever. And our partners in communities are combatting efforts to criminalize people experiencing homelessness simply for existing in public spaces.
We have to do more. And we will do more. And we can do it with your help and dedication.
In spite of these challenges, we at the Alliance have hope. And that is because we have seen our field mobilize in new and exciting ways at both the national and local levels. Communities are working with new partners – including people with lived expertise – to lead with equity and compassion. We have learned of amazing work and innovations that are saving lives and getting people into permanent housing and services every day.
It’s because of you that this work continues. I know that we can end homelessness one day – for good. It will take political will, and funding, and lots of effort. But it will also take the commitment of our community of supporters, who continue to show up for people experiencing homelessness year after year. I’m grateful for all that we’ve accomplished in 2022, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together in 2023.