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Region IV 2020 Homelessness Virtual Conference is Overwhelming Success
[Screen shot of some of the Region IV 2020 Homelessness Virtual Conference presenters, partners and organizers.]
Screen shot of some of the Region IV 2020 Homelessness Virtual Conference presenters, partners and organizers.

As over 1150 registrants participate in the conference

Region IV recently hosted the 2020 Homelessness Virtual Conference bringing together over 1150 virtual attendees from throughout the southeast to learn about and share the latest innovations and developments concerning reducing and ending homelessness in the region.

"The extraordinary interest and importance of reducing and ending homelessness is evident in the unprecedented turnout of over 1100 attendees to the virtual regional conference," said Denise Cleveland-Leggett, Regional Administrator. "It is imperative that we continue to collectively work together to eliminate homelessness for those we mutually serve so they may have hope of a brighter and more fulfilling future."

The conference was organized and made possible by Shea Johnson, Director of Georgia Operations, Sernorma Mitchell, Tennessee Field Office director, their staff as well as the support provided by other HUD state field office directors in the region, panel members, speakers and attendees.

"This event illustrated the strength of collaboration and the importance of coming together to share resources and best practices to address homelessness. We will continue our momentum by holding additional outreach events to assist communities in need," said Shea Johnson, Director of Georgia Operations.

The day's program consisted of panel discussions followed by questions and answers and were focused on Preventing Homelessness for our Youth: HUD's Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, Addressing Homelessness: Solutions for Serving Metropolitan and Rural Areas, HUD VASH National Panel: Collaborative Efforts, HUD VASH Utilization Regional Panel: Moving Past Barriers and Sharing Best Practices and Resources for Veterans.

Going forward Region IV will continue to work with stakeholders to increase HUD VASH utilization by building on the regional conference and developing partnership by reviewing the feedback from attendees and by conducting additional outreach sessions to increase awareness, access and improve services for those experiencing homelessness in rural areas.

Kicking off the conference was a lively panel discussion on Preventing Homelessness for our Youth: HUD's Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, which was moderated by Alesia Scott-Ford, Jacksonville Field Office Director and panel members Dr. William Myles, Chief Executive Officer, Albany Housing Authority (GA), Dontrelle Young Foster, Interim President/CEO, Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (AL), Kangi Drake, Vice President of Assisted Housing, Department of Leased Housing and Section 8, Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (AL) and Ken Armstrong, Executive Director, Alachua County Housing Authority (FL).

We would also like to thank and recognize our panel moderators and panelists below:

Addressing Homelessness: Solutions for Serving Metropolitan and Rural Areas: Moderator Erik Hoglund, HUD TN Community Planning and Development Director; Joe Savage, Regional Coordinator, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Amy McDonald, Executive Director, Tennessee Homeless Solutions, Jackson/West Tennessee Continuum of Care (CoC) and Michael Thomas, Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

HUD VASH National Panel: Collaborative Efforts Moderator Erin Silanskis – Veterans Affairs, Molly Allen, Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD HQ,, Mandy Griego, Program Analyst, Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD HQ, Teresa S. Pittman, HUD-VASH Region 1 Coordinator, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC.

HUD VASH Utilization Regional Panel: Moving Past Barriers and Sharing Best Practices Moderator Carol Spencer, HUD Public and Indian Housing and La Ticia Wilson, HUD Division Director, Office of Public Housing, HUD Greensboro (NC), April Edwards, Homeless Programs Chief, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Atlanta (GA) , Ashley Chaky, Finance Coordinator, and Myrtle Beach Housing Authority (SC), Carol Hall, HCD-VASH Specialist, Myrtle Beach Housing Authority (SC) and Brandy Marenco, Housing Manager, Carrollton Housing Authority (GA).

Resources for Veterans: Moderator Sherrill Dunbar – HUD GA Public and Indian Housing, Wendy Harrison, Tennessee State Director, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, U. S. Department of Labor (DOL), Tracy Roberts, Community Employment Coordinator, Atlanta Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System, Eric Terrell, Senior Area Manager Tennessee District Office, Memphis, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Jamie Urban, Program Manager, Project Community Connections Inc., James (Jim) Harbison, Private Consultant & former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA), Nashville, Rico Thompson, Army Veteran and Chris Oldham, Army Veteran.

View the recorded event on Microsoft Teams at: HUD Region IV Virtual Homelessness Conference