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Consumer Engagement in Governance

Consumer engagement with organizational governance and advocacy is important because they help decision-makers understand the needs of consumers on the ground, provide a unique perspective in monitoring project performance, and enable us to meet our goal of client self-determination and engagement with care. In addition to the importance and impact of this feedback, HRSA also requires health centers to engage consumers in their governance structures.

Consumers can be involved in the feedback process in a number of ways including surveys, focus groups, feedback boxes or consumer advisory boards.

View Our Consumer Advisory Board Directory

Find a listing of Consumer Advisory Board contacts that have engaged with the National HCH Council.

Consumer Advisory Boards

A Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) is a group of people with the experience of homelessness, providers, and community members brought together to positively affect change at their local Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) project. CABs advocate for consumers with respect to services at the HCH project, advise on policies and practices, assist consumers in navigating service delivery systems, and represent the consumer viewpoint to keep governing boards focused on the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

CABs also serve an important function in helping consumers develop leadership skills, provide a safe forum for the expression of consumers’ views, and are a mechanism for exercise of consumer power. Many CABs develop projects of their own, such as health fairs, consumer surveys, voter registration efforts, or Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council recommends CABs as an important tool for consumer engagement in governance and advocacy. The National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB), an entity within the National HCH Council, participates in the Council’s consensus decision-making as a fully equal component of the organization, and is considered critical to the Council’s success. NCAB has published a Consumer Advisory Board Manual for HCH Projects and other relevant resources.

Let the National HCH Council know if you have a Consumer Advisory Board so we can be supporting your work and connecting you to our leaders in the National Consumer Advisory Board.


Consumer Governance Resources

Other Consumer Materials 

  • Consumer Employment
    • This report highlights employment strategies that six organizations apply in hiring individuals who have experienced homelessness and received health services. The case studies reveal mission-based hiring practices that recognize the unique assets and needs of employees who are or have been consumers. Their approaches to hiring and managing a consumer-inclusive workforce demonstrate a commitment to their employees and their conviction in the unique value a diverse workforce brings. Their stories demonstrate the impact of consumer employment, not only on the lives of individual employees, but on the institutions that hire them.

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