Last month, 11 people who were formerly homeless were able to attend the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) conference thanks to a scholarship program by Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego. These 11 scholarship recipients won their awards because not only do they have experience of being homeless and understanding of the challenges, but they are now working in the field to end homelessness. These advocates are already doing great work in the community: some now work for homeless providers, one is a published author about his experience of homelessness, three serve on homeless advisory boards, and one is working on her degree to become a case manager. All of these winners found the conference to be incredibly educational and an empowering experience.
Award winner Mike Williams thoughtfully shared his experience:
“Thank you for the scholarship. I sincerely appreciate it. The experience was educational and provided growth and enlightenment. Most importantly are the things I discovered about myself. When I went into the orientation I had tears slowing coming within 5 minutes as I realized this woman was telling my story… What I learned was that being homeless was more traumatic than I had admitted and I am not yet healed. I suspect that concept may be an illusion anyway, I will never be over it; however I can positively integrate the experience into who I chose to be today and that is a good thing and the definition of healing.“
Funders Together continues to work with our awardees to connect them to other trainings, board opportunities, and advocacy opportunities – including connection to recipients of our advocacy grants.
For more information about this and other Funders Together projects, contact Amy Denhart.