PHILADELPHIA — The Office of Homeless Services announced Tuesday that Philadelphia’s homeless services community elected a new board tasked with implementing the office’s new strategic plan, “Roadmap to Homes.”
The board includes members with firsthand, lived experience with homelessness, including Liam Spady, Nafeesa Boswell, and Broderick Green.
“We’re heartened that we received so many nominations to serve, from grassroots activists to nonprofit executives,” said OHS Director Liz Hersh. “We’ve committed to make our system as effective and efficient as possible for those we serve and our partners providing services. The new strategic plan and its board is how we follow through on that commitment.”
Hersh is a non-voting member serving as board co-chair alongside 21 voting board members.
The five primary goals of “Roadmap to Homes” include: expanding homeless housing resources; coordinating across and integrating systems; implementing a transparent and inclusive quality improvement process; communicating more effectively; and, connecting people to employment and workforce development.
The new board will track and report on Philadelphia’s progress in those key areas along with incorporating regular, meaningful input from people with lived experience and service providers into important decisions.
OHS worked with the Young Adult Leadership Committee and other City leaders to appoint 11 members, with the community voting on the remaining 10. They each will serve one year.
Along with implementing the office’s new strategic plan, the board works with OHS to provide oversight for the homeless services system and other matters relating to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funding.
OHS asked for nominations from over 2000 experts, workers, organizations, volunteers, and activists in November, then presenting the community with a final slate of candidates in December. Community members could cast ballots until mid-January with hard copy forms dropped off or mailed to the Office of Homeless Services, using an online form, or by emailing.
The board meets bimonthly at the Municipal Services Building in Center City and will hold public community meetings, announced online and by email. People can sign up for updates online through the Office of Homeless Services.
The first board meeting is Thursday, January 31. The “Roadmap to Homes” kickoff and community meeting is on February 4. People can find more information and register for the community meeting online.
The voting members of the board include:
- Liam Spady, Young Adult Leadership Committee.
- Chris Strom, Corona Partners.
- Azucena Ugarte, City of Philadelphia, Office of Domestic Violence Strategies.
- Ayana Allen-Handy, Drexel University.
- Nafeesa Boswell, JBJ Soul Foundation.
- Janel Davis, Public Health Management Corporation.
- Kathy Desmond, People’s Emergency Center.
- Broderick Green, Stenton Family Manor.
- Michael Hinson, SELF, Inc.
- Latoya Maddox, Liberty Resources, Inc.
- Rasheedah Phillips, Community Legal Services.
- Habibah Sulayman Smith, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Syreeta Vereen, Action Wellness.
- Jocelyn Arnold, City of Philadelphia, Office of Grants.
- Paul Beideman, Avenue of the Arts.
- Melissa Long, City of Philadelphia, Division of Housing and Community Development.
- Evangelina Manos, City of Philadelphia, Managing Director’s Office, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
- Laura Morris, City of Philadelphia, Department of Human Services.
- Stephanie Pastula, Philadelphia Housing Authority.
- Teresa Araco Rodgers, Harp-Weaver, LLC.
- Joyce Sacco, City of Philadelphia, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.