Consumer Engagement

Giving people who are experiencing homelessness a voice about the care and support they receive

Ellen Dailey Award

Ellen Dailey Award

Ellen Dailey was many things, including a person who experienced homelessness. Ellen used this experience to champion the unique voice of those experiencing homelessness and the right of all people to play a role in the decisions affecting their lives. She was instrumental in starting the Consumer Advisory Board in Boston and the National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB). The movement to involve consumers in the provision of services owes her much gratitude.

Ellen fought tirelessly for the rights of other people experiencing homelessness. Her commanding presence made it easy for people to get to know her and take her seriously. Ellen was one of the first people that consumers met coming to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council  Conference and made consumers feel welcome.

She encouraged consumers to share their experiences of homelessness, to improve services to fit the needs of those they served, and to advocate for accessible health care and affordable housing.

When Ellen passed, the NCAB Steering Committee felt that her legacy should continue. The award that bears her name is meant to honor her memory and her efforts advocating for persons experiencing homelessness.

To be considered for the 2024 Ellen Dailey Consumer Advocate Award, please complete the online nomination form and submit all required materials by February 29, 2024. If you have any questions, please contact Sandra Mooney, Consumer Engagement Coordinator, at

Previous Recipients



Valarie Dowell 2022 Conference

Valarie Dowell

Valarie Dowell has been a strong advocate and front-line worker for people experiencing homelessness for more than 20 years. She believes her personal experiences of being homeless and in recovery enable her to serve the homeless population with compassion, understanding, and empathy. Dowell was one of the first consumers to become a community health worker. According to her nominator, Dowell has fought the fight from both sides of the fence and is filled not only with innovative ideas, but possesses an in-depth knowledge of how to use lived experience as a tool for advocacy. “Her continued service and tireless dedication exemplify the very essence of the spirit with which the great Ellen Dailey served.”

2021: Chioke Perry (Atlanta, GA)

Chioke Perry is the chair of Mercy Care’s Client Advisory Council (CAC) and has served in this capacity for the last four years. He has created a safe place where the CAC readily shares their experiences with services received by Mercy Care and actively works toward improvements. Chioke is steadfast in his determination to reach those whom he encounters where they are and guide them to the next step. He is present in the early morning hours and late evening hours to walk someone through the process of gaining shelter, medical treatment, substance abuse treatment, and more.

2020: Florencio Rios (Palo Alto, CA)

Florencio Rios III is a veteran who had served in the United States Army Armed Forces and was deployed to serve in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and Somalia. After his service, Florencio experienced many years of homelessness, substance abuse, and incarcerations. He then used his experience as a volunteer and a mentor for other homeless veterans through the Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program (HVRP) at Palo Alto Health Care Systems. He donates time and resources to veterans coming into treatment at all different stages of readiness of change.


Joesph Benson

Houston, TX

Joseph has served on his local CAB for almost 20 years, on NCAB as a Member at Large and Chair, and currently sit on the Board of Directors for the National HCH Council. He also serves on the board of directors for two other organizations. He was part of a Community Health Worker research project, and afterward was hired as a CHW at his health center.

His nominator shared that “Clear, articulate, mischievous, and always endearing. Joseph is a healer who brings people together and celebrates the best in each of us while calling us to never forget the enduring tragedy of homelessness in our society.”


Jacquelyn Hardy

Birmingham, AL

A passionate voice for people, Jacqueline Hardy can usually be found on the streets of Birmingham, the chambers of the city council, or the halls of the Alabama state legislators advocating. As someone with in supportive housing and recovery, Jackie knew that her community needed love, support, and better public policy. She formed an organization, Action Changes Things (ACT) and began legislating the state of Alabama. Jackie organizing bus trips and spoke before members during sessions to ensure that ex-felons could receive food stamps.

Thanks to her work, that law is now in effect. As the founder of ACT she continues to provide education, resources, and support to her community. Jackie is also now working to “Ban the Box” in Alabama and continuing to provide support as a board member with Alabama Regional Medical Services.


Amber gray

San Francisco, CA

Amber Gray has spent the past 16 years working as a counselor with LGBTQ high-risk youth without homes, a health educator with a mentoring program, a prevention case manager in a residential housing program, and now in a senior program management position with HIV Education and Prevention services for transgender women of color and their partners.

She is also a group facilitator for “Transgender Tuesdays” at the Tom Waddell Health Clinic and mentors youth around principles of independence and empowerment. Amber’s dream is to reduce the stigma that continually plagues her community. She is committed to encouraging, motivating, and empowering transgender women of color.


Joanne Guarino

Boston, MA

Joanne is a speaker, a counselor, a supporter and a true champion. Joanne joined the Boston Consumer Advisory Board over ten years ago and supports all aspects of the CAB’s activities including Health Fairs, Patient Satisfaction Surveys, and Voter Registration. Joanne worked with the Respite Care Providers Network Steering Committee and the National Consumer Advisory Board.

Joanne’s most recent pride and joy was working to develop the “Housing Guide” for newly housed patients to share skills, tools, and tips to manage the independent life in their apartment and have a successful housing experience. Joanne is single-minded in advocating bringing compassion and humor to all.

Art Rios Sr.

Portland, Oregon

Art Rios, a 20 plus year advocate works tirelessly engage and help all human beings in any situation. He is active with city officials, political heads, community members, non-profit organizations, and people experiencing homelessness; talking about how to end homelessness, ensuring quality health care, safety on the streets, and workforce development. He has served on Central City Concern’s (CCC) Health Services Advisory Council for 4 years and works to ensure that all voices are heard.  Art is on the “Home for Everyone” Coordinating Board (Portland’s local “plan to end homelessness”), sits on the CCC Board of Directors, and is an advocate for Sisters of the Road and Right 2 Dream 2 (a self-organized housing alternative).

He is that voice at the table that makes people think how they can be better and more compassionate towards one another in any situation. His nominator says he has never met a more committed advocate for folks experiencing homelessness. He speaks at a high level regarding the politics of affordable housing but he never loses sight of the day-to-day needs and perspectives of homeless people. He possesses practical, on-the-ground insights and is a walking resource for the people he encounters on the street.


Mark Schumann

Baltimore, MD

Mark Schumann’s nominator says he exemplifies the melding of compassion and passion, and never permits negative experiences to burden his work and or darken his positive perspective. He is not only is active with the local CAB but also sits on the Board of Directors at HCH Baltimore, is the editor of the street newspaper, is active with local organizing groups, is a member with the Speakers Bureau, and sits on the City’s RAD Council (campaigning against the privatization of public housing from the inside).

Throughout all this Mark works to confront stereotypes about homelessness and challenges paradigms that reinforce structures of oppression that maintain homelessness and poverty.


Amy Grassette

Worcester, MA

Amy Grassette and her family experienced homelessness after 9/11, and even with limited options, she kept her family together and found housing with help from the Homeless Families Program at the Family Health Center of Worcester, MA. Amy gave back to the Family Health Center, beginning as a volunteer and eventually as a full-time employee. Her compassion and personal experience with family homelessness also gave her expertise to serve in various capacities including speaking at a joint congressional briefing on family homelessness.

Amy has served as National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB) Chair and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. She has also been involved with the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)’s campaign for enact a Homeless Bill of Rights in California.

2013: Marianne Malott (Eugene, OR)

2012: Sue Campbell (Las Cruces, NM) and Cary Carner (Denver, CO)

2011: Paul Boden (San Francisco, CA) 

2010: Ulysses Maner (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 

2009: James Crawford Jr. (Baltimore, MD) 

2008: Randle Loeb (Denver, CO) and Gary Cobb (Portland, OR) 

2007: Joy Bright McCorkle (Santa Cruz, CA) and Barbara Wade (Boston, MA) 


In Memoriam

Ellen Dailey, mother of the HCH Consumer movement, died on June 18. 2006. Her advocacy for justice continues. Read remembrances of Ellen from around the country.

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