ARC 2013


Wednesday, March 27
8:00-8:30 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
The HHS/ASPR Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience (ABC) and the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) began a joint effort to explore ways that people experiencing homelessness could be better integrated into disaster planning and response. The work began with a panel at the 2011 Comprehensive Emergency Management Program Evaluation and Research (CEMPER) conference, and continued with a discussion group on Emergency Preparedness for Homeless Populations in 2011-2012 that included participants from multiple federal agencies as well as academic and non-governmental partners. We open with a brief overview of activity to date and the key themes, objectives, and guiding questions for the three areas to be addressed during the workshop.
Aram Dobalian, Director, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Daniel Dodgen, Director, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience, US Department of Human and Health Services
8:30-9:15 AM Risk Factors for People Experiencing Homelessness
People experiencing homelessness can be particularly vulnerable to disasters’ adverse impacts due to both structural and individual factors, such as lack of access to housing and other resources, dependence on trusted agents, extreme poverty, and prevalence of chronic health conditions. Communities are not always well prepared to meet the disaster-related needs of homeless individuals, who are often excluded from emergency planning activities. This presentation will outline the risk factors people experiencing homelessness face, setting the stage for a discussion of how needs might be addressed.
Sabrina Edgington, Program and Policy Specialist, National Health Care for the Homeless Council
9:15-10:30 AM Session #1: Communication and Coordination
Additional planning considerations may need to be given to ensure emergency communications are accessible to homeless populations, given many mainstream and emergency information outlets’ reliance on modern technology. Homeless individuals will likely depend on trusted agents such as non-profit service providers and outreach professionals with whom they interact daily prior to a disaster. In turn, service providers often face challenges in developing and executing better coordination plans with each other and with local emergency management for disaster information and recovery services and resources. This session will explore the range of entities that must communicate and coordinate to ensure adequate disaster management and service provision, and how coordination among them, and with homeless people, can be strengthened.
Aram Dobalian, Director, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Bret Atkins, Health Communication Specialist of Division of State and Local Readiness, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lisa Brown, Associate Professor, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida
Clifford Spencer, Director, Emergency Disaster Services, Maui Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service Team
10:30-10:45 AM Break
10:45-11:30 AM Session #2: Training and Technical Assistance for CBOs/NGOs
Non-profit community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve homeless individuals daily constitute a safety net for caring for the homeless and representing their needs during disasters. However, CBOs are often inadequately prepared to address the demands that disasters can place on their services. Training and technical assistance have been cited as avenues for increasing CBO preparedness and improving their capacity to work with emergency management and public health entities. This session will explore ways of improving CBO coordination and readiness.
Kevin Heslin, Research Health Scientist, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
David Canavan, Consultant, Canavan and Associates (Boston, MA)
June Gin, Research Health Scientist, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Tammy Hopper, Director, Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center
11:30-12:30 PM Lunch
12:30-1:45 PM Session #3: Guidance for Health Care Providers—Identifying and Understanding Homeless Health Needs During Disasters
Chronic physical and behavioral health conditions are prevalent within the homeless population, contributing to health care needs that may be exacerbated by, during, and following disasters. Clinicians with experience caring for homeless individuals will be critical resources during disasters, but pre-event training and just-in-time guidance for general providers could also enhance the preparedness of non-specialty care clinicians. This session will explore these needs in greater depth and the systems and best practices that can be leveraged to optimize health care provision for homeless populations during disasters.
Karen Ricci, Clinical Health Services Researcher, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center
Thomas O’Toole, National Director, Homeless Veterans Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) Program, Providence VA Medical Center
Samantha Williams, Behavioral Scientist, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
1:45-3:00pm Where Do We Go From Here?
Given the needs, gaps, and promising strategies identified during the day’s listening session, what are the priority next steps for research, programs, and policy to more effectively serve homeless populations during and after disasters and public health emergencies? This session includes perspectives from government, non-profit, and academic research sectors.
Daniel Dodgen, Director, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience, US Department of Human and Health Services
Dennis P Culhane, Director of Research for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, US Department of Veterans Affairs
Eric Grumdahl, Policy Director, US Interagency Council on Homelessness
Ian Lisman, Program and Policy Analyst, National Alliance to End Homelessness
Ann Marie Oliva, Director of Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs, US Department of Housing and Urban Development