Simiriglia: Big Cities, Small World
I have worked with marginalized people for over 30 years. Much of that time has been spent creating services for people who have serious mental illness, and/or substance use disorders and are chronically homeless.
In 1992, I met David Wertheimer, currently with the Gates Foundation. David was working for King County and managing a federal ACCESS grant serving homeless people with mental illness. I was running a targeted case management program in Philly, under the same grant. We met in DC every year for a few days (with 100 others involved in that grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration - SAMHSA) sharing what we were learning, what was working and what wasn’t, and we went home with new ideas to try in our own communities.
I am excited to be attending my first GPLEX at the end of September, and absolutely thrilled that David is a plenary speaker!
Philadelphia and Seattle share an alarming similarity: we both made the top 10 list for cities with the most people homeless in 2017. I miss those days in DC with David and others, in a learning environment that moved us all toward results. We need that sharing to face our societal challenges more today than ever. I welcome the GPLEX opportunity to exchange ideas, and to come home with some new approaches to ending homelessness in Philadelphia (and to see David again)!
It really is a small country, and a small world.
Christine Simiriglia is President & CEO of Pathways to Housing PA