The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has partnered with the Corporation for National Community Services (CNCS) to expand and run Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureaus along the East seaboard. Established as one of the War on Poverty programs in the 1960’s, today’s AmeriCorps*VISTA program is a project of CNCS that provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies who create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.
Six years ago, NCH expanded its Speakers’ Bureau program to Florida to deal with the growing prevalence of hate crimes and violence against homeless people in the state. NCH continues to take proactive and positive steps by establishing local Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureaus in cities across America. The project since has expanded to include five states and the District of Columbia (see map). Listen to Project Director Michael Stoops talk about AmeriCorps*VISTA here at NCH in this video interview.
Capacity Building Model
By using VISTA resources for community education (Faces of Homelessness Speakers' Bureaus), capacity building, resource mobilization and outreach to special segments of the homeless population (e.g. veterans, LGBT, homeless children/families), local agencies will be able to meet the increased need, take on new initiatives, build capacity and mobilize additional resources.