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2021 Blanche Grosswald Memorial Endowed Lecture

Today, over half a million people are homeless in the United States. Most minority groups, especially African Americans and Indigenous people, experience homelessness at higher rates than Whites. Why do these disparities exist and what can be done to address housing insecurity and homelessness in this country?

Join us for a discussion on this critical topic between Ms. Taiisa Kelly, a Rutgers alumna and local non-profit CEO who is working with communities across New Jersey to address racial equity within the homeless service system, and Rutgers professors Drs. Emmy Tiderington and Joel Cantor, housing and health researchers who are examining the contribution of homelessness to race/ethnic healthcare disparities and the effectiveness of supportive housing in reducing those disparities. 

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Emmy Tiderington, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Associate Faculty at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University. Prior to this appointment, she served as a clinical supervisor and social worker working in housing and case management programs for individuals with serious mental illness and other complex needs. Dr. Tiderington’s research focuses on the implementation and effectiveness of permanent supportive housing, Housing First and Moving On initiative service models, best practices for facilitating transitions out of homeless services, and mental health and substance abuse recovery in homeless populations. She is currently a co-Investigator on Dr. Joel Cantor's NIH-funded study examining the contribution of homelessness to race/ethnic healthcare disparities and the effectiveness of supportive housing in reducing those disparities. At Rutgers, she proudly serves on the School of Social Work's Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity, and Advancement (IIDEA) Committee and on the Rutgers University Chancellor’s Task Force on Student Essential Needs.

Taiisa Kelly is the CEO of Monarch Housing Associates in New Jersey, a non-profit working to expand the supply, accessibility and variety of affordable, permanent supportive housing through development, planning, advocacy and partnerships. Prior to this, she received her B.A. in psychology and anthropology from Rutgers University. Working closely with local governments, non-profit agencies and other community stakeholders, Mrs. Kelly has facilitated the development and implementation of strategies to end homelessness, expand housing opportunities and create innovative programs targeting those most in need. With an eye towards moving communities in New Jersey closer to ending homelessness, Taiisa has assisted Monarch in expanding homeless planning services offered to include 10 year plan development, Continuum of Care grant writing and system oversight, project monitoring, CoC grant administration technical assistance and innovative program development. These efforts also include assisting communities in effectively using data for planning, coordinating & analyzing the statewide Point-in-Time Count, and conducting local analysis of HMIS data for CoC planning and program evaluation purposes. Taiisa has worked tirelessly for over 10 years in the field of homeless planning to ensure everyone has access to the basic human right of housing. Through intentional action, beautiful transformation is possible. 

Joel C. Cantor is a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and the founding Director of the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Established 1999, the Center is a leader in health policy research and development nationally, with a special focus on informing policy in New Jersey. Dr. Cantor is published widely in the health services and policy literature on innovations in health service delivery and the regulation of private health insurance markets. He serves frequently as an advisor on health policy matters to New Jersey state government, and was the 2006 recipient of the Rutgers University President's Award for Research in Service to New Jersey.  Dr. Cantor is presently leading a major NIH-funded study examining the contribution of homelessness to race/ethnic healthcare disparities and the effectiveness of supportive housing in reducing those disparities.  Prior to joining Rutgers in 1999, Dr. Cantor served as director of research at the United Hospital Fund of New York and director of evaluation research at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He received his doctorate in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health in 1988, and was elected a Fellow of AcademyHealth in 1996.

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