Kelvin was raised in a middle class family in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Life challenged him early. The death of his mother sent Kelvin into a very dark space fueling a drug addiction. Nearly three years of homelessness challenged him further. Just when Kelvin considered giving up, a minister entered his life that believed in him and decided to help him. Reverend J.C. Melvin worked with Kelvin and helped him with recovery. In 2009, Kelvin began his homeless advocacy with the National Coalition for the Homeless. He also wrote and self-published two self-help books. Kelvin and his wife of 15 years currently reside in Washington, DC.
December 20, 2022, Washington, D.C. – The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) expresses its enthusiastic support for the newly-released U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) report, All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.
NCH has long believed that ending homelessness requires a strong coordinated effort by the US Federal government, as well as the USICH. Being led and governed by those with previous experience of homelessness, we appreciate the USICH’s emphasis on genuine partnerships with people experiencing homelessness, as well as the need to address structural racism.
We believe the initiatives outlined in All In will provide the administration a springboard for more robust condemnation of the efforts to make homelessness illegal, along with clear refocusing on the affordable housing crisis in the United States. It is past time that we focus anti-poverty efforts and solutions to homelessness on structural change instead of perceived individual failures.
USICH is the only federal agency with the sole mission of preventing and ending homelessness in America. It coordinates with 19 federal member agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector to create partnerships, use resources in the most efficient and effective ways, and implement evidence-based best practices.
Donald Whitehead, Executive Director of NCH, said, “the federal government must ensure that all citizens have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the belief of the National Coalition that housing must be included in the fundamental rights for those living in the richest country in the history of the world.”
All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness is a well-designed strategic, measurable and inclusive plan that restores the true role of the USICH to that of a leader in federal policy to end homeless. “Homelessness is solvable. We believe that the Federal Strategic plan provides a roadmap to realize the end to homelessness that motivated our founders, including Michael Stoops, buddy grey and Mitch Snyder” said Donald Whitehead.
Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown, President of the National Coalition for the Homeless Board and Professor and Distinguished Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University stated, “The USICH Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness provides a strong start to ending this humanitarian crisis. Housing is a human right. To live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world with millions of individuals, families, children and youth without housing is unacceptable. People with lived experience and expertise must be part of creating solutions. Racial equity and intersectionality must be intentionally prioritized, particularly given persistent and growing disparities — racial, ethnic, gender, LGBTQIA+, disabilities, and historically and socially marginalized communities in the U.S.. We are long overdue to be all in and to genuinely advance housing justice.”
“NCH and the Bring America Home Now Campaign strongly support Housing as a Human Right and it is critical that people that have experienced housing crises are at decision making tables in designing and implementing the responses that meet their needs and wants. To implement this plan we need the equity in resources we provide to homeowners and people’s housing needs at 30% median income and below. (Homeowners receive at least 4x’s the subsidy as people with lowest income in our country),” added Sue Watlov Phillips, NCH Policy Committee Chair and Executive Director of MICAH (Minnesota).
The National Coalition is the oldest national advocacy organization around homelessness and is pleased to see a plan that focuses on data driven solutions and moves away from the disastrous policy promoted by the previous administration.
Many people in communities across the country work each and everyday to support people who are identified as homeless or at risk of homelessness. The work, for the most part is heartfelt, often perceived as never-ending due to among other things, the overwhelming need for safe, secure, low-cost affordable housing. However, another related reality exists. That is, the hundreds of people who die every year, named and unnamed without a place to call home. As we enter the winter and holiday season, and near the end of 2022, this year will be no different and again, we are called to remember, honor, and unit in community for Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, December 21.
This year the national observation will be via Zoom and is framed in partnership by the National Coalition For The Homeless, National Health Care For The Homeless Council, National Consumer Advisory Board, and the National Alliance To End Homelessness (click here for more details or to register). This marks the 32nd year bringing deeper awareness, knowledge, understanding, and advocacy to housing, homelessness, and emerging issues connected to both in the United States. Among people experiencing homelessness, too many continue to die on our streets, in encampments, in the woods, and other uninhabitable places and spaces. We must be able to see an end to this. We cannot continue to accept what is unacceptable.
As we prepare to remember and honor the people that we have lost around the country both nationally and in our local communities, let us push forward in our advocacy and envisioning of the day where we will not have to remember any human being who has died without a place to call home. You are welcome to check our Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day page for events happening across the country. If you are planning an event or would like to plan one in your local community, we offer our organizing manual to support you in your work.