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 prevent and end 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.
Haven House Services
Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless
BRIAN DAVIS, Vice President
Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless
BOB ERLENBUSCH, President
Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
LAURA HANSEN, Secretary
Coalition to End Homelessness
Fort Lauderdale, FL
TINA HAYWARD, Treasurer
Mountain of Faith Ministries
The King’s Outreach
New York, NY
Retired, Women’s Resource Center of North Central Washington
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Retired, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
House the Homeless, Inc.
SUE WATLOV PHILLIPS
Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
Honorary Board Members:
Retired, Primavera Foundation
Retired, La Fondita de Jesus
San Juan, PR
Retired, Phoenix Consortium for the Homeless
Matias J. Vega, MD
Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless
Michael Stoops, Director of Community Organizing (currently on leave)
Since 1972, Mr. Stoops has been working full-time (primarily as a volunteer) with homeless/formerly homeless people and homeless advocacy groups. He was a founding board member of NCH, and joined NCH's staff in 1988. Since 1988, he has worked to establish and provide ongoing support to local/statewide homeless/housing coalitions, and homeless self-help and social justice/action groups. In 2004, Mr. Stoops took on the role of Executive Director of NCH. Working to mobilize NCH’s grassroots network, Mr. Stoops travels nationwide giving workshops, providing technical assistance, and testifying before state and local legislatures. Mr. Stoops is one of the founding members of the North American Street Newspaper Association and serves presently on its board of directors. He has a bachelor's degree in social work.
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. Ms. Hustings is a 2001 graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa. 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 oddities.
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.
David Pirtle, Public Education Coordinator
David has worked with NCH in a variety of capacities over the past decade before assuming his current position in 2015. Formerly homeless, David believes the most important voice in any conversation about the issue comes from those who have experienced it. He also collects bugs.