Inaugural Housing Symposium unites statewide agencies

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Homeless and Special Needs Housing (OHSN) hosted the 2019 Housing Symposium in Savannah from Feb 4-6. The inaugural event brought together more than 300 state providers for training opportunities for their respective programs. They also received critical information to improve performance, collaborated with DCA program staff and other peers, and heard about the latest important federal updates.

The Symposium focused on the Homeless Management System (HMIS), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Continuum of Care (CoC), Housing Opportunities for People with AIDs (HOPWA), Shelter Plus Care programs (S+C), Rapid Rehousing (RPH), and Fair Housing and best practices trainings. DCA staff who manage and work so diligently with these programs provided training and workshops pertaining to application creation, program administration, financial management and compliance.

In addition to internal DCA presenters, the group welcomed many external speakers to the Symposium. Cindy Kelly, Executive Director of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, gave a warm welcome to attendees, presenters and staff. Ed Duda of Gilead Sciences led a breakout session highlighting trauma informed care in addition to sponsoring and speaking during one of the Symposium’s plenary luncheons. Jon Magee and Eric Wilka of Eccovia, Shari Fulmar of Action Ministries, Evan Mills of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, Tabitha Lawson of MUST Ministries, Dr. Terri Timberlake of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities, Cheryl Branch of the Georgia Coalition, and Susan Reif of Georgia Legal Services rounded out the list of Symposium external speakers who provided incredible insight and expertise. There was also a handful of attendees who volunteered to sit on panels focusing on topics such as landlord engagement and coordinated entry.

Overall, the 2019 Housing Symposium was a success. The OHSM Team is already looking forward to (and planning) next year’s event!