Farewell from an Alliance Staff Member

written by Andre Wade
March 7, 2013

Today Alliance Policy and Program Analyst Andre Wade shares a few thoughts about his time working to end youth homelessness at the Alliance. We are sad to lose him, but eager to see him continue his very important work in his home town of Las Vegas.

Over the past two and a half years I’ve met and worked with some incredibly smart and passionate people who have dedicated their careers to ending homelessness and with whom I hope to maintain an ongoing and close connection. From these individuals I’ve learned a great deal and, as a result, I’ve grown immensely over this time. I look forward to using what I’ve learned in other contexts as I continue to work on behalf of children, youth and families. 

The end of my time with the Alliance is not the end of my work, which will continue with a new beginning at the place where I began it – in Southern Nevada. There I will be creating, developing, and managing a strategic initiatives and community partnership program with the goal of decreasing child maltreatment in Clark County (Las Vegas.)

I’m proud to have contributed to advocacy efforts and the promotion of emerging strategies and best practices to end youth homelessness. I’m most proud of the work I’ve done on family intervention, which I believe should play a significant role in prevention. Family intervention should be a part of concurrent planning and ought to be available to all youth regardless of their age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or parenting status.

The following is a bit of what I’ve learned during my journey at the Alliance:

  • The fact that so many people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness, with so few resources to help get them off of the street and into housing, is ridiculous. Especially when it comes to youth.
  • At this moment, advocates, researchers, and providers know how to prevent and end homelessness. All they need is the appropriate level of support from foundations and federal and state governments.
  • We must think systemically about the issue of youth homelessness. It is imperative that we understand the scope of the issue, its root causes, and its effects. This will translate into policies and practices that tear down silos between systems and allow us to approach the issue holistically, so that we can help homeless youth quickly bounce back from crises.
  • To end youth homelessness we need better data, a more robust crisis response system, increased attention to family intervention, and expanded housing resources.
  • We should be encouraging systems such as child welfare, juvenile justice, and schools to work collaboratively with youth homelessness providers to coordinate services and resources. By leveraging these mainstream resources, we can decrease barriers to eligibility for services for youth experiencing homelessness.
  • We all have a role to play in ending youth homelessness. Through our collective efforts, our sharing of ideas, our collaboration, we can fight complacency and produce real change for those at-potential youth and their families.