News, Resources, & Happenings at TAC — December 2022

TAC staff group photo, December 2022

It’s Our Birthday!

Did you know that TAC celebrated its 30th anniversary this year? The inspiring and important policy work and technical assistance that TAC provides to our nation’s housing, homelessness, behavioral health, and Medicaid systems isn’t always flashy — but our focus, commitment, and longevity have garnered TAC a reputation as a go-to leader for policymakers, advocacy groups, philanthropy, and clients across the country. TAC has grown steadily in our three decades, continually striving to deepen our impact and extend our reach while bringing a racial equity and social justice lens to every engagement. Now, with 44 staff members based in 14 states and the District of Columbia, a deep bench of partners and collaborators, and expertise in six robust focus areas, we look forward to 30 more years of working with you to implement policies and practices that empower all people to live healthy, independent lives in the communities they choose.

Innovations in Systems Alignment

TAC is excited to announce the commencement of plans for the Systems Alignment Innovation Hub (SAIH), a nationwide project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to help social service, public health, and medical providers in low-income and BIPOC communities dismantle inequities and improve health and well-being for all.

With the support of RWJF’s Systems for Action program, and our partners at the Human Services Research Institute, TAC will work directly with “practice-based organizations” (PBOs) — entities that have firsthand knowledge about coordinating health and social services for populations that experience inequities, but that may lack resources to develop and implement strong research designs.

TAC’s SAIH team — LaMont Green, Francine Arienti, Nastacia’ Moore, Lamar Polk, and Rachel Post — will help PBOs prepare their systems alignment ideas for rigorous, research-based testing, while also making use of existing studies. These shifts will help position community-based organizations to receive targeted research funding and expand the evidence base for solutions that improve health outcomes and reduce racial and social disparities. Look for news of the SAIH launch in January 2023!

Emergency Housing Vouchers — A Key Homelessness Prevention Resource

As described in a recent U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) fact sheet, the Emergency Housing Voucher program “provides communities new flexibilities and resources to help individuals and families with higher barriers successfully use housing vouchers.” As a lead HUD TA provider, TAC has been closely involved in helping the program prevent more than 35,000 households from becoming homeless as of October 2022, helping to produce Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV): A How-To Guide for Public Housing Agencies, a series of EHV Roadmaps, and ongoing “Office Hours” webinars for providers working to distribute the vouchers. Senior Consultant Liz Stewart has led the team which includes Senior Associates Nicole LiBaire, Alison Korte, and Emila Sutton; Directors Marie Herb and Lisa Sloane; and Communications Designer Jeff Nguyen.

Intensive Training for Veteran-Serving Program Managers

TAC and its partners held a series of in-person Program Manager Academies for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. These events brought together nearly 300 program managers for two days of intensive training on how to use SSVF services and funding to assist homeless and at-risk Veterans in obtaining or maintaining housing. The Academies are part of a larger TA strategy supporting SSVF as the program implements new services including shallow subsidies, client and landlord incentives, diversion and rapid resolution techniques, and dedicated housing navigation services. Director Jim Yates, Senior Associate Douglas Tetrault, Associate II Phil Allen, and TA & Training Coordinator Kyia Watkins were all key in ensuring the continuing success of these events and other TA support for programs serving Veterans.

TAC Staff in Action

Senior Consultant Rebecca Boss and TAC subcontractor John O’Brien supported a yearlong policy academy with three states and one territory to help their systems of care address stimulant use disorders, culminating in a Wrap-Up Meeting on State Strategies to Improve Care for Stimulant and Polysubstance Use hosted by the National Governors Association; TAC Senior Associate Ellen Fitzpatrick and Associate II Téo Ortega presented their “Assessment of Youth Needs” report at the Southern Nevada Youth Homelessness Summit in Las Vegas; Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion LaMont Green copresented on “Authentic Community Engagement” at this year’s Engage & Excel mental health policy conference; Managing Director Marie Herb and filmmaker Josh Hayes attended the U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS in San Juan, Puerto Rico to screen a sneak preview of the documentary TV series Homecoming: Life after Incarceration and accompanying new edition of the book From Locked Up to Locked Out: Creating and Implementing Post-Release Housing for Ex-prisoners, both to be released in January 2023; Senior Associate Amy Horton recently joined TAC’s work in Illinois, coordinating training related to the state’s implementation of 1915i services for children, youth, and young adults; With support from the HUD Rural Capacity-Building program, Senior Associate Nicole LiBaire, subcontractor Darlene Mathews, and Senior Consultant Melany Mondello cofacilitated a webinar on “Affordable Housing: Preparing for Disaster Response”; In November, Senior Associate Ashley Mann-McLellan was a guest teacher in two Northeastern University human services classes focused on how to address complex social problems; Executive Director Kevin Martone, Project Support Specialist Ari Rogers, Amy Horton, and LaMont Green all participated in the annual conference of the National Association for Rural Mental Health, an event cosponsored by TAC and held in Boulder, CO; Kevin also copresented on “Behavioral Health Trends in Crisis Response and Treatment” at the National Conference of State Legislatures “Achieving Affordable Quality Health Care Systems: Health Legislative Staff Seminar” in Atlanta; and on a recent webinar for recipients of Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) Model funding from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Senior Consultant Dayana Simons presented on “Strategies to Effectively Leverage Food and Housing Measurement”; Dayana is also now a subject matter expert on the Center for Health Care Strategies team working with the Missouri Children’s Division (with the support of Casey Family Programs) to improve access and outcomes for children and youth with behavioral health needs.

Staff Transitions

We are delighted to welcome Matt Leslie, M.S.W., our newest Senior Associate with the housing and homelessness team, who brings over 15 years of experience developing, evaluating, and leading state-level housing and service programs, with a focus on preventing and ending Veteran homelessness. We are also happy to announce that Amy Horton is now a Senior Associate, while Téo Ortega has advanced to become an Associate II. Congratulations, Amy and Téo!

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