Our Summer Interns Say Goodbye

written by naehblog
August 16, 2013

As we near the end of summer, we must bid a fond farewell to our hard-working summer interns. They have done so much for the Alliance, and made all of our lives so much less stressful and more productive than they would otherwise be, while also somehow managing to be fun about it. Goodbye guys! We will miss you.

Meghan Foley, Communications and Development Intern 

For the last three months, I’ve had the (absolutely wonderful) opportunity to serve as the Alliance’s Development and Communications intern. Today is my last day so, along with revisiting the neighborhood burrito cart once last time, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on my time here. I remember during my very first staff meeting, I was introducing myself to Steve Berg and he asked, “So, you’ve been here a day already. How many fewer homeless individuals are there because of you?” He was joking, of course. But looking back, it strikes me as being an accurate description of the approach the Alliance takes. There is a great sense of optimism. Yes, this is a complex and challenging problem. But we learn a little more every day about how it can be ended.

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite moments from the summer was our annual conference in July. Until this summer, I never quite “got” Twitter. That may be an unlikely statement from someone interning in communications, but it was true. But after spending weeks formulating the social media strategy for our conference and then our Twitter feed explode over the course of the conference, I’ve been converted. We had people following who were unable to attend the conference from all over the country, tweeting about how much they were learning just sitting at their computers.

I also had the opportunity to attend Hill Day with the Virginia delegation. As a Public Policy major, I was geeking out. As a citizen, however, I was absolutely inspired by the work of service providers in my home state and the positive response we received from our lawmakers. Few things are coming easily for us now - both economically and politically - but, despite all that, I still left the Hill with a feeling of hope. I’ll miss the Alliance and all the staff, but I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Sydney Frattura Kampschroer, Federal Policy Intern

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to be the Federal Policy Intern this summer at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. I came to the Alliance with a general interest in social policy and find myself leaving with knowledge of how specific social policies serve everyone from veterans to youth to those who are chronically homeless.

I learned this summer that the Housing First policy is not only the solution to ending homelessness but that it is also the most effective way to prevent homelessness. At its core, Housing First really just makes sense - once you have a place to call home your other needs become more addressable. I have also learned the importance of understanding the unique needs of each population (youth, veterans, people with mental illness, and those who are chronically homeless), in order to make housing and services both stable and accessible.

I honestly could not imagine a better way to have spent my summer. I learned so much from the Alliance staff and enjoyed working with such a welcoming group of passionate advocates.

Rachel Goodling, Research Intern 

As my time here at the Alliance draws to an end, I have taken some time to reflect on my experience. The most exciting thing about working at the Alliance has been the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded colleagues who join me in my belief in the power of results-driven, coordinated, systemic solutions to social problems such as homelessness.  Speaking of excitement, I was delighted to be able to fully participate in the National Conference to End Homelessness. It was a great opportunity to network and learn about current issues and the up-and-coming strategies and programs to address homelessness.

I spent my time at the Alliance working with the Homelessness Research Institute researching the issues related to different subpopulations of individuals experiencing homelessness, such as rural homelessness, veterans, youth and chronically homeless individuals. In addition to maintaining and updating our national 2013 Homeless Counts Map, I also helped launch the 2013 Veterans Homelessness Counts Map, both of which are interactive tools that track changes in homeless enumeration in various jurisdictions around the country. Lastly, I was honored to be able to participate in the Institute’s strategic planning as we seek to build the Institute as a national resource for homelessness issues and as a driver of future research into ending homelessness. 

Jenny Lewis, Federal Advocacy Intern 

After two months at the Alliance, I’ve learned more than I thought I could in such a brief time. In addition to gathering more information about their work to prevent and end homelessness, I was also able to connect with people from all across the country who are working to accomplish the same goal. Through Capitol Hill Day, I had the opportunity to converse with people from a wide range of states. Even though their experiences differ state by state, they were able to coordinate with each other to educate Members of Congress and their staffers about their successes and challenges in ending homelessness.

Clarity of vision is the most important lesson I learned at the Alliance.  Maintaining a definitive goal, while not necessarily making it any simpler to achieve, serves to keep the vision consistent. The Alliance’s mission to end homelessness is specific and measurable, and they employ effective strategies—research, advocacy, and enabling others to implement best practices—to meet this goal and track their progress. Knowing that the work I did this summer was in some way helping to end homelessness was rewarding, to say the least. Even though it can be difficult to see instantaneous results from advocacy efforts, as I heard about the results of the Capitol Hill Day meetings I couldn’t help but be excited about all the people who learned about the nationwide effort to eradicate homelessness, so that they can join the cause as well.