|By PR Newswire||
|August 4, 2014 01:20 PM EDT||
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First Lady Michelle Obama was introduced by a graduate of Friendship Place's Veterans First program for her keynote address on Thursday, July 31, at the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. In her speech, which highlighted her initiative to end homelessness among veterans, Ms. Obama thanked Friendship Place for the organization's outstanding work in ending and preventing homelessness for veterans and their families.
U.S. Army Veteran Leon Drake was selected for the honor of introducing Ms. Obama in recognition of his 21 years of military service and his successful journey of overcoming homelessness with the help of Friendship Place's Veterans First program, a VA-funded program that has received national accolades for its effectiveness. Veterans First will prevent or end homelessness for 400 veteran households this year.
Prior to her address, Ms. Obama met with Mr. Drake and three other graduates of the Veterans First program, as well as with Friendship Place Executive Director Jean-Michel Giraud. "We are extremely grateful for the support of the First Lady," said Mr. Giraud. "Her presence at the conference highlights her commitment to ending veteran homelessness at a key time in the process; the next two years are critical in the campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness."
The three-day conference, organized by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, brought together more than 1,600 people from across the country, including federal, state and local officials, policy experts, homeless advocates, and direct service providers.
During the conference, Friendship Place's innovative "rapid solutions" were presented by Mr. Giraud on a panel about best practices for serving non-chronic homeless adults and by Jermaine Hampton, director Friendship Place's job placement program, AimHire, in a workshop on integrating employment strategies into the rapid rehousing model.
Mr. Drake and the other veterans who represented Friendship Place at the conference, as well as Mr. Giraud and Mr. Hampton, are available for interviews.
Friendship Place – FriendshipPlace.org – empowers individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness to rebuild their lives with the involvement of the community. Through innovative leadership and community engagement, we provide effective, customized programs, including street outreach, shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, health care, job placement, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, and specialized services for veterans and youth.
SOURCE Friendship Place