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Lived Experience Training Academy (LETA)

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LETA is a program developed by NCH to equip people with lived experience of homelessness to embrace leadership roles and transform public policy to be more inclusive.

Soon we will be launching a curriculum for People with Lived Experience and Expertise (PLEE) of homelessness to more fully participate in advocacy work to end homelessness.

Lived Experience is defined as “personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people.” It is also defined as “the experience of people on whom a social issue or combination of issues has had a direct impact.” (SPRC, 2022)

LETA topics and themes were developed after a series of national focus group interviews with PLEE. These topic areas include:

  • Technology Literacy
  • Wellness and Self-Care
  • History of Homelessness
  • Communication
  • Financial Literacy
  • Organizing and Advocacy

Interconnected themes are woven into each core topic:

  • Transformative Leadership
  • Legal Connections
  • Trauma-Informed Care and Healing
  • Public Policy
  • Key Vocabulary
  • Extended Learning Resources

Keep an eye out here to learn more or take part when the curriculum is available.

Steve Thomas Guaranteed Income Project

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Guaranteed Income: A Way to Eradicate Poverty in America 

In 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr boldly proclaimed that: in order to address poverty in America, we must provide citizens a guaranteed income.

In February 2019, 125 random Stockton, CA residents were selected to receive $500 a month for 24 months with no strings attached. Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs is credited with this bold program that led to the creation of a national organization, Mayors for Guaranteed Income. In the last 3 years since, there are now over 80 known similar pilot programs in the United States, and growing.

Known as “The Political Capital of the World” Washington, DC has one of the highest per capita homeless rates in the nation with 9.3 citizens per every 1000 people. While much has been done to solve the problem, the city can go even further. 

  • Adjust the housing cost so that someone making the $15 minimum wage can live in the city
  • Make seized asset forfeiture housing available to the homeless
  • Exclude guaranteed income in social benefit programs
Homeless advocate Steve Thomas sitting in a walker flexing his muscles as he speaks to a group of students

The National Coalition for the Homeless is introducing the Steve Thomas Guaranteed Income Project. A tireless housing, and poverty advocate, the program is named after our former speaker’s bureau coordinator who passed away in 2022. We want to honor his legacy by providing a simple solution to end poverty: no strings attached cash payments as a supplement to help end homelessness. 

We have a unique approach. By combining direct cash payments, and housing, this project is one of the first in the nation to offer and execute this concept to end homelessness. Our first participant was selected at random and will receive $1,000 a month for 12 months followed by 99 selected participants over a period of time that will receive the same benefit from a focus group consisting of our city’s homeless population. Participants have the luxury to spend the money as they wish.

Here’s how guaranteed income will help restore people to healthy living

  • Improves chances of returning citizens to have a home
  • Protects people from being in hot & cold weather elements
  • Children will have an opportunity to concentrate on social and educational opportunities
  • A physical address allows people to improve employment opportunities 
  • People will no longer have to resort to naturally relieving themselves outdoors

Why Guaranteed Income is Important

  • Provides supplemental income to those making minimum wage
  • Allows those living below the federal poverty guideline to take care of their families
  • Can provide a path to mental and economic security

Guaranteed Income is a part of our Bring America Home Now campaign that focuses on how stable income helps people exit homelessness. The National Coalition for the Homeless will evaluate the impact of financial stability through an evaluation process by dedicated team members of our Lived Experience Training Academy. Each recipient enrolled in our program will be paired with a peer support specialist through the duration of the project. 

Jeff Olivet has been named as the New Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

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The National Coalition for the Homeless enthusiastically supports the appointment of Jeff Olivet as the New Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).

We at NCH always aim to amplify the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness, and Jeff’s tireless advocacy to bridge racial disparities and end homelessness are nothing short of extraordinary, and we are elated that Jeff was appointed this position as USICH Executive Director. We strongly believe that Jeff will use his position to develop a partnership with the advocacy community and those with lived experience homeless in our country.

Jeff has worked in the field of homelessness services in various capacities, and has proven a powerful advocate in each. His experience in outreach and executive levels give him the extensive background he needs to be successful in his new role.

Jeff Olivet, now Director of the UISCH, with NCH Director Donald Whitehead and colleague Kavita Singh Gilchrist

Jeff’s work with NCH’s Bring America Home Now (BAHN) campaign and Lived Experience Training Academy (LETA) has brought irreplaceable knowledge and value to the progression of each. His knowledge of the lived experience is critical to effective advocacy in the movement to end homelessness.

Here are some words from Olivet that exemplify his character and passion for the work:

I believe down to my core that we can end homelessness in America if we come together to scale what is working, eliminate racial disparities, lift the voices of those who have experienced homelessness, and work across sectors to create meaningful upstream solutions,” said Olivet. “I am deeply grateful to Secretary Fudge, Secretary McDonough, the members of the council, and the president for the trust they have placed in me. I look forward to working across the entire federal government and with national, state, and local partners to redouble our commitment to the vision of an America where no one has to experience homelessness.

-Jeff Olivet, USICH Press release

As the fight to end homelessness pushes on, NCH will miss Jeff’s powerful advocacy with the Bring America Home Now campaign, but wish him nothing but success, and look forward to the value and change he will continue to add to the movement as ED of the USICH. 

“I am very excited by the appointment of Jeff Olivet as Executive Director of the Interagency Council.  Jeff’s appointment speaks to the administration’s commitment to the core values of peer involvement and centering racial equity”. said Donald Whitehead,  Executive Director of NCH.

The USICH spent much of 2021 soliciting feedback from the country about the Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. Click here to see what they heard from folks like you!


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