This past week, five Supportive Housing clients, and members of Housing Forward staff traveled south to Springfield for the Supportive Housing Providers Association (SHPA) 2018 Annual Meeting & Fall Conference.
SHPA is a statewide membership association of non-profit providers of supportive housing (affordable housing plus services for individuals and families who have been homeless and/or have special needs). SHPA’s mission is to strengthen the supportive housing industry, to enable the increased development of supportive housing, and to support non-profit organizations, like Housing Forward, in developing the capacity for providing permanent supportive housing. Members network with one another, access the latest information, and advocate at the state and federal levels, with the aid of Springfield lobbyists. Members connect with each other at quarterly membership meetings, like the one in Springfield November 7-8, 2018.
While at the conference, Armando Smith, Director of Operations and Client Services, Aaron Rapoport, Case Manager for the WIN 1 (Wellness Initiative Network 1) Program, and Elvis Lomeli, Housing Coordinator, reported that it was an extremely positive experience, and well worth the trip for the group representing the Housing Forward agency.
In addition to educational workshops and networking sessions, the trip included a private, early morning tour of the state capitol and a Supportive Housing Bus Tour with representatives from the Illinois Department of Human Services and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The full two-day agenda was a mix of socializing and learning. Included in workshop session was information about the new Coordinated Entry process, partnerships with the healthcare system, updates on the Integrated Health Homes, and specialized sessions for supportive housing residents to share programming ideas and feedback.
After attending an earlier SHPA conference, one Housing Forward clients was asked what meant the most to him. He said it was knowing “there are people on this planet that still care, and have compassion, empathy for others and are trying to make a difference. Also being around great people! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face!” Our thanks to SHPA for providing this opportunity, and for our team of attendees for making the trip downstate and sharing the ideas and enthusiasm they bring back.
Above: SHPA conference attendees posed in the chamber of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Illinois State Capitol. Pictured from left to right with the housing program they represented: Josephine H. (Open Door Housing), Arael E. (Open Door Housing) Aaron R. (Housing Forward staff), John M. (Open Door Housing), Brian F. (Open Door Housing) and Edward N. (Wellness Initiative Network 1)
Image Gallery: Views into resident workshop sessions.