Launched in 2013, the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services (the National Center), is a consortium of schools of social work that collaborates with providers, policymakers, and other social work programs to strengthen services that transform the lives of all homeless children and adults. We emphasize:
- Increasing homelessness content within social work curriculum;
- Expanding field placements to provide more students with experience working in homeless services;
- Educating policymakers and advocating for evidence-informed policy;
- Supporting leaders in the homelessness field.
The National Homelessness Social Work Initiative
We lead the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative (NHSWI), a multi-year effort funded by the New York Community Trust. The NHSWI aims to resolve curricular gaps and empower the social work profession to lead in ending homelessness. The NHSWI’s overarching aims are to:
- Support implementation of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge to End Homelessness (GC2EH).
- Advance the agenda of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to end homelessness; and
- Engage social work programs across the country in a coordinated effort toward the elimination of homelessness.
These aims are pursued through three primary strategies. First, we work with partner schools to increase attention to homelessness in the social work curriculum, expand homelessness research, and advance effective homeless services and policies. Second, we support regional hub leader schools to address local priorities and coordinate regional networks of schools of social work. Third, we partner with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to engage HUD, other government agencies, and additional schools of social work.
Now in Year 3 of the NHSWI, our primary goals are to:
- Support and sustain regional hub leaders and partner schools as they forge new university-community partnerships, implement curriculum integration strategies, and develop practice, research, and policy innovations.
- Support regional hub leaders in developing local networks of schools, using the New York-New Jersey Regional Network as a model.
- Disseminate innovations in partnerships, curriculum, and knowledge development.
- Continue to partner with CSWE to engage schools and further the profession’s adoption of addressing homelessness.
- Advance and accelerate policy partnerships by strengthening government agency relationships and engaging new policy partners.
Our blog, newsletter, and social media (Twitter and Facebook) feature periodic updates on grant activities and partner school accomplishments. CSWE also includes spotlights on partners’ innovations in homelessness in their monthly newsletter.