The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.
We envision a world where everyone has a safe, decent, affordable and accessible home. We are committed to creating the systemic and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent and end homelessness. We take as our first principle of practice that people who are currently experiencing homelessness or have formerly experienced homelessness must be actively involved in all of our work. Our programs are centered around public education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing, and are focused on the issues of housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights.
When modern homelessness first emerged in the late 1970s, hundreds of thousands of homeless were forced to fend for themselves with little emergency assistance from governments and communities. The roots of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) begin in 1981 when the founder, Robert Hayes, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man experiencing homelessness in New York City. The lawsuit was settled out of court, and people experiencing homelessness won the right to shelter in New York City. The Coalition for the Homeless in New York City formed as one of the early community-based coalitions. With the development of other local and statewide homeless coalitions, the National Coalition for the Homeless was formed in 1982 and incorporated in 1984, and was recognized as a tax-exempt, not for profit organization under the 501(c) (3) internal revenue code in 1988.
Over the last 30 years, NCH has been a leader on the forefront of emerging issues relating to poverty and homelessness. NCH was the first national advocacy organization to involve homeless/formerly homeless people in leadership positions, take on the issues of the educational needs/rights of homeless children and veteran homelessness, first to convene a national homelessness conference, and the first to have a website. NCH staff has helped to draft federal, state and local legislation, like the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. The organization has long advocated for addressing the root causes of homelessness, including the lack of affordable housing, through policy advocacy (supporting efforts like the Bringing America Home Act), grassroots organizing (building a national movement led by people who have been un-housed), and public education (dispelling negative stereotypes and preserving civil rights of people experiencing homelessness).
NCH's board is diverse ethnically and geographically. Members include service providers, academics, and organizers; at least one quarter of the board are homeless/formerly homeless men and women; all are advocates. (*denotes honorary Board Members)
|Barbara Anderson, Secretary
Haven House Services
Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless
|Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown
Stetson University, Department of Education
COSAC Foundation, Inc
|Bob Erlenbusch, President
Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness
|Brian Levin, Esq.
California State University, San Bernardino
Department of Criminal Justice
San Bernardino, CA
Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
Formerly Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
House the Homeless, Inc.
|Sue Watlov Phillips, MA
Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
Integrated Community Solutions, Inc.
St. Paul, MN
People for Fairness Coalition
Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Inc
Megan Hustings, Interim Director
Ms. Hustings came to NCH as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer in 2006. After her year of service she was hired as Development Director, moving on to be the Director of Operations before stepping into the interim director role. She has moved NCH into the 21st century, spearheading social media and website development, as well as membership development and base building activities. Megan grew up in Kansas, playing card games with nuns and visiting family in Wales. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa and moved to Baltimore. She has worked for a variety of anti-poverty efforts since childhood. In previous employment, Ms. Hustings provided case management and life-skills training for individuals with developmental disabilities, and managed electronic journal and database subscriptions for university libraries. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and crafting.
Annie Leomporra, Grassroots Analyst
Annie Leomporra came to NCH as a civil rights intern in 2014 while pursuing her Master's degree in Urban and Regional Policy with an emphasis on homelessness, from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. After completing her Master's degree, Ms. Leomporra continued working with NCH on our anti-discrimination campaign and various other projects as a contract worker. In January 2016, Ms. Leomporra began working part-time and transitioned into a full time position in April. Annie has been working on the issue of homelessness for many years as a volunteer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Leomporra brings a unique skill set to NCH, with her knowledge on strategizing policy, program evaluation, grassroots mobilization, and extensive research skills which will contribute to furthering the mission of NCH. In addition to her interest in policy and grassroots mobilization, Annie loves spending time with her dog.
Doreatha Washington, Administrative Assistant
Steve Thomas, Public Education Coordinator
A native Washingtonian, Steve enlisted in the Air Force at 21, traveling around the world before returning home in 1984. After returning, Steve continued travelling working as a truck driver. Throughout this time he struggled with addiction, and eventually lost his home. Steve ended up back in Downtown DC where, “as I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, I saw people on every single bench, and then it hit me: ‘They’re homeless, and I am too.’” One day a volunteer doctor working on a Homeless Care and Outreach Van asked Steve, “Would you allow me to help you?” Steve said yes. He moved into transitional housing, where he met a member of NCH Speakers’ Bureau. Steve has spoken with NCH ever since. He took over managing the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau and other public education programs at the start of 2017.
We are proud to be members of the Coalition on Human Needs, Coalition for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and many other working groups on issues relating to poverty, housing and homelessness.