National Consumer Advisory Board
What Is NCAB?
The National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB) is a committee of people who have experienced homelessness and been clients of Health Care for the Homeless projects across the country and who are involved in the governance of those HCH projects.
NCAB is a standing committee of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and NCAB’s elected Chairperson sits on the Council’s Board of Directors.
To be the vehicle for consumers of HCH projects to become a collaborative voice on national issues. We hold central the priorities of assisting consumers in the development of CABs and serving as a clearinghouse for information and assistance to consumers.
To be able to participate and vote for committee members, you need to be a member of the council(free for consumers).
NCAB Steering Committee
Consisting of seven members (one chair, 2 co-chairs, a peer advocate, and 3 members at large) and 5 Regional Representatives, the NCAB Steering Committee is responsible for organizing HCH consumers to have a voice in national issues involving the health care of homeless persons. To accomplish this work, the committee meets monthly by teleconference and twice annually in person; once in October at the Council headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and once at the National HCH Conference.
Check out our newly created history of NCAB
Evolution of the National Consumer Advisory Board: A Case Study in Consumer Leadership
Consumer involvement in governance is a unique feature of the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) programs and other federally support Health Centers. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council acknowledged in its founding principles that all people have the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives. To this end, many HCH health centers designate staff members to coordinate and support consumer involvement in governance. This quick guide is for HCH health center staff members who are engaging individual consumers or groups of consumer leaders to meaningfully include consumers in health center governance.
- NCAB leadership works to develop relationships with consumers on HCH boards and CABs, and they facilitate communication between local sites and the national work.
- We are also interested in learning more about your consumer advisory board’s expertise and needs so NCAB can help further develop guidance and technical assistance for those wishing to advance consumer involvement in governance and CAB development. Please direct any technical assistance requests to our TA Request Form.
NCAB has revised and reformatted the CAB Manual to include more lessons on effective CAB management, as well as adding sample CAB documents and a workbook for CABs to develop their own structure and guidelines.
Due to the Coronavirus, many CAB meetings have had to adjust to video or conference call. These are some guidelines and suggestions from CAB members who have organized virtual meetings.
This guide provides practical tips for organizations in setting up effective, empowering consumer governance structures and supports. The ideas in this Quick Guide were developed through conversations with over 20 key informants: consumer leaders, consumer support staff, and executive leaders of HCH projects who have facilitated consumer leadership both locally and nationally.
Uplifting the Voice of Consumers
In order to share our work and the work of our consumers nationally, NCAB is reviving its newsletter.
This survey aims to engage people experiencing homelessness in an active discussion about issues important to them, gain insight into the concerns and needs of HCH clients, and gives consumers a platform to voice these concerns and share their experiences.
NCAB works to train and support consumers in telling their stories to challenge the stigma of homelessness and shed light on the reality. This storytelling manual talks about key components in developing your story and emotional considerations for storytelling. The manual also includes worksheets to be used in developing your personal story.
Promoting National Events
Along with the National Coalition of the Homeless, NCAB and the National HCH Council help communities come together and show respect for those who have died while experiencing the tragedy of homelessness while educating about the need to end these preventable deaths.
Counterpoised to Homeless Person’s Memorial Day, the Summer Solstice, a day filled with light, is a time to honor the strength and resilience of those who have overcome incredible barriers to end their individual experience of homelessness; while reminding us that together, we can find the strength to create the political will to end homelessness for everyone.
Each year consumers and staff at HCH projects celebrate the important work done at HCH projects in providing comprehensive and quality health care to people experiencing homelessness. These projects organize events that promote the services and programs at these projects, recognize the incredible work of the staff, and advocate for policies that can improve this quality of care and bring an end to homelessness.
Engaging in Advocacy
- NCAB members share powerful stories that demonstrate the importance of housing and health care policy.
NCAB works with the National HCH Council to promote voter registration at HCH projects in order to help people experiencing homelessness recognize their right to vote.
Honoring Consumer Leaders
Ellen championed the unique voice of those experiencing homelessness to play a role in the decisions affecting their lives. The award that bears her name is meant to honor her memory and efforts in advocating for people experiencing homelessness.
Individuals with the experience of homelessness who have received services from an HCH project are encouraged to become NCAB members. Membership is free. NCAB members are Individual Members of the Council, and the NCAB Steering Committee is a standing committee of the Council. To join NCAB, please apply.
For questions send an email to NCAB.