NAEH Hosts Houston Mayor, Youth and Native American Leaders
Huffington Post Blog by Jean Michel Giraud
A leading voice in the effort to combat homelessness with innovative solutions, Jean Michel has been been a contributor for the Huffington Post for since 2012.
The City of Houston has made tremendous progress in its fight to eradicate homelessness in the last few years. This is due in large part to the commitment of past and current local leaders. Mayor Turner wowed the crowd in his address with concrete references to the homeless system buildup in Houston blended with personal memories of growing up in poverty in the city.
The Mayor exemplifies what local leaders can do all over the country to end homelessness in urban centers. Acting quickly and intentionally is crucial, along with deploying sufficient resources at the system’s level to stop individual cycles of poverty and homelessness. Mayor Turner also talked about the need to build “complete communities to support housing.” He was referring to the need to weave homeless services into the fabric of the community to maximize their impact. This is a great vision of communities taking ownership of the issues around homelessness and getting involved in finding solutions and supporting neighbors.
Alluding to his earlier experience fixing city streets, Mayor Turner commented, “we’re not fixing potholes… we’re reclaiming lives.” As it turns out, the Mayor has done an excellent job with potholes as well…
Reclaiming lives had to resonate with the youth of the National Youth Forum on Homelessness, a group comprised exclusively of young people with life experience in homelessness, sponsored by the True Colors Fund.
One after the other, the youth shared their stories and vision for a society where housing and opportunity would be accessible to all, stamping out racial disparities and bias against the LGBTQ community.
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