In Year 2 of the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative (NHSWI), the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services (NCEHS) selected the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) to be one of six Regional Hub Leader Schools.

The UMSSW, the largest school of social work in the region, is committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, including homeless families. The school is committed to using its partnerships and student internship placements with homeless agencies to support service delivery to homeless families. UMSSW is also committed to exploring data and tracking trends, causes, and solutions to homelessness – most notably through the management of the Thrive@25 program, a partnership to create an approach to preventing and ending homelessness for youth with child welfare involvement. Committed to advancing new models of practice and policy, the UMSSW recently collaborated with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and its stakeholders to apply for a Choice Neighborhood Grant as part of the Promised Heights Neighborhood Project.

Dr. Samuel B. Little, Assistant Dean and Director of Field Education, is committed to advancing students’ education in homelessness through field education. Field placements allow interns to have a role in housing and employment assistance, health interventions, behavioral health treatment, inter-agency collaboration, advocacy, and research. Dr. Little has also worked with municipal agencies, local shelters, and community-based programs to help homeless families access affordable housing. Throughout this work, he has forged relationships with key government agencies and advocated for effective supportive housing policies and programs. Dr. Little manages hub activities and serves as the primary faculty contact for the NHSWI. In this role, he collaborated on the preparation of a manuscript, Responding to the Grand Challenge to End Homelessness: The National Homelessness Social Work Initiative (Families in Society, 2016, 97(3), 153-159), and will participate in a panel discussion about the NHSWI at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting in November in Atlanta, GA.

The UMSSW has three main goals in its first year as a regional hub leader: 1) expand its already robust field placement offerings in and around Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, broadening the ability of the hub and its partner schools to deliver services to homeless families; 2) use data to track emerging trends, causes, and solutions to ending youth homelessness; and 3) advance new models of practice and policy, such as the Social Work Community Outreach Service and the Choice Neighborhoods Program, as an education partner to community schools and resource to social work programs.

This year, the UMSSW expanded field placement internships in the Baltimore-Washington region to serve homeless families. The number this semester is 137, up by 9 placements. Conversation is on-going with a new workgroup comprised of Department of Veteran Administration’s field instructors who helped shape the need for a Regional Hub, which includes expanding homelessness-related field placements within the VA.

In September, the school launched a 20-member Advisory Council to implement hub functions and special events at the SSW. The Council will help expand content in the curriculum, plan special events to engage with agencies that serve homeless families, and assist in the recruitment of new field placement agencies. A brochure was designed to promote hub goals and help recruit new placements to serve homeless families.

Like this post?

Check out this one for an overview of Dr. Samuel B. Little’s work in supporting homeless families.

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