Monday, December 7, 2020, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) hosted the Annual Extra Mile Recognitions ceremony, broadcast from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Local, state, and federal stakeholders received acknowledgment for their work and, in turn, bestowed special recognition on others for their extraordinary efforts to support the USICH mission and improve homelessness outcomes.
During the event, USICH Executive Director Robert Marbut acknowledged the extensive coordination and communication efforts of The Salvation Army and Citygate Network in providing overall direction and specific guidance to their members over the past ten months as they delivered frontline services to homeless individuals across the country. Dr. Marbut stated his belief that without this coordination and communication, the loss of life in the homeless community from COVID-19 could have been as much as 40 times higher. Citygate Network President John Ashmen then co-presented an award to Dr. Emily Mosites (Epidemiologist and CDC Senior Advisor, Health and Homelessness) who has tirelessly served as expert counsel for Citygate Network members. She regularly participates in our network-wide calls, providing timely recommendations and insights on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In another segment of the ceremony, Citygate Network member Helping Up Mission (HUM) in Baltimore, Md., was selected for the top award in innovative engagement in the area of mental health and trauma-informed care. The award was presented by Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Bob Gehman, HUM CEO, and Dr. Denis Antoine, Director of the HUM Cornerstone Clinic, staffed by Johns Hopkins University, accepted the award on behalf of Helping Up Mission.
During his acceptance speech, CEO Gehman said, “We’ve developed a long-term residential faith-based recovery program that has all the support services (our residents) need right here on site. And there’s no way that Helping Up Mission could provide this comprehensive care that our residents need without strategic community partners. We believe that faith and medicine can and do play important roles in the success of our residents.”
Dr. Antoine added, “Our hope is that we not only are helping folks but can demonstrate to other areas, how we can continue this great work. And hopefully, [to] other portions of the country we can show examples of how this work could be disseminated more broadly … our hope is to continue this collaboration and move forward as we try to expand our services in the years to come.”
Emily, on behalf of our 300 member organizations in every major U.S. city, and a lot of cities in between, places that are providing life transformation services for tens of thousands of homeless people every day and night, thank you. You've saved lives and we don't want to go through another pandemic, but if we do, we certainly don't want to go through it without you.