UNITY Annual Meeting Will Feature Keynote Address from USICH Deputy Director

Ways to combat the increase in homelessness that New Orleans has experienced since Hurricane Katrina will be the topic of a keynote speech by federal expert Anthony Love, Deputy Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, at the annual meeting of the UNITY of Greater New Orleans homeless services network on Thursday, March 24. The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Holy Angels Concert Hall, 3500 St. Claude Ave.

Mr. Love, who formerly served as CEO of the homeless services network in Houston, will ask the New Orleans area community to join other communities around the nation in implementing the new federal plan to end homelessness, which calls for the utilization of best practices proven to end the homelessness of families, unaccompanied young people, veterans, disabled adults and other subpopulations.

The Annual Meeting will also feature an update on the performance of the UNITY collaborative of 63 agencies working together to end and prevent homelessness. Several persons who have overcome homelessness in the past year will speak.

The following persons will be honored:

• Tyrone Keelen of the Drop-In Center will receive the Charles Johnson Memorial Award for Outstanding Service to Homeless People. Mr. Keelen works with homeless youth. The award is named in honor of Charles Johnson, a formerly homeless person who served as an outreach worker for Volunteers of America and was an integral part of UNITY’s street outreach team. Mr. Johnson died in Hurricane Katrina.

• Nicole Sweazy of the state Office of Community Development will receive the Outstanding Public Sector Leadership in Housing the Homeless Award. Ms. Sweazy heads up the state’s new Permanent Supportive Housing initiative.

• Responsibility House, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Jefferson Parish, will be honored as the Outstanding Homeless Program of 2011. Responsibility House provides Permanent Supportive Housing, transitional housing, and substance abuse and mental health treatment.

• The Advocacy Center will be honored for Exemplary Advocacy on Behalf of Homeless People with Disabilities.

• Brenda Richard-Montgomery will be honored in recognition of Extraordinary Leadership of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, and Tyra Johnson-Brown and Dr. Kevin Stephens will be honored for dedicated service to UNITY.

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