A Way Home America Leadership Body Call for Applicants

Register for AWHA Leadership Body Informational Webinars

A Way Home America [AWHA], a national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among young people, is currently seeking dedicated individuals to join our Leadership Body. 

Context / Background

In February 2019, AWHA announced our transition into the next phase of our work: reconstitution of our leadership to empower even greater youth voice and to place racial and LGBTQ equity at the forefront. Over much of 2018, the AWHA Steering Committee explored how our initiative must shift to most effectively launch the work in front of us. As part of that process, we returned frequently to our Racial Equity & Justice Core Principles (https://awayhomeamerica.org/coreprinciples/), and themes around making space for greater leadership from young people and leaders of color. Although vested stakeholders – including the members of our founding Steering Committee – will continue to be key voices in our collective work and may serve as part of our new leadership body, we also understand that to guide the work ahead, those most impacted by the crisis of youth homelessness must have primary influence. 

This decision resulted in the following new structure: a Leadership Body of 15 national leaders, eight of which are young people with lived experience of homelessness. These “Founding 8” young adult members of the new AWHA Leadership Body were brought on board in September 2019. You can read more about these members here (https://awayhomeamerica.org/announcing-the-founding-8-young-adult-members-of-the-new-awha-leadership-body/).

The Founding 8 will review applications and select leaders for the remaining seven positions of the AWHA Leadership Body. They have developed the following criteria (see below) – characteristics they seek in their fellow leaders. 

This announcement comes with continued and deep appreciation to all leaders in the youth homelessness movement, past and present, who have helped us arrive where we are today – centering race equity, LGBTQ equity and youth leadership in our work.  We all move forward together.

Overview of How You Can Be Involved

We are seeking individuals who embody the characteristics described to play a central role in inspiring the direction of the movement to end youth homelessness as AWHA Leadership Body members.   

The primary responsibility of the Leadership Body is to steer the overall policy and strategic direction of AWHA – building the movement to end youth homelessness – in accordance with our core values. The primary day-to-day operations are performed by the A Way Home America staff team. 

As a movement that centers the voices and expertise of LGBTQ+ Young People and Young People of Color with lived experience with homelessness, over half of our Leadership Body is composed of young adult national leaders with lived or living experience with homelessness. The remaining seven members of the Leadership Body are not required to have lived or living experience with homelessness, though they may. The ideal candidates are committed to this approach toward leadership and movement building.

As you consider this opportunity, please review the criteria below. We expect the Leadership Body to be active and dynamic.

Leadership Body Criteria/Eligibility

We seek individuals who embody the following traits: 

Innate Qualities

  • Belief it can be done
  • Dreams BIG, pushes for it
  • Belief in Racial and LGBTQ+ Equity
  • Likes and respects young people
  • Self-awareness
  • Open to understanding young people
  • Is comfortable with ambiguity
  • Able to give and receive feedback with love, rigor, and respect
  • Reality-checker and truth-teller

Practical Qualities

  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Willing to teach and willing to learn
  • Holds white people accountable
  • Holds all accountable for anti-black racism and colorism
  • Policy enthusiast
  • Movement-oriented
  • Actively supports youth collaboration
  • Able to amplify messaging and disseminate information

Exceptional Qualities

  • Excellent public speaking skills
  • Excellent facilitation skills

AWHA Core Values

Youth homelessness exists today largely due to America’s long history of structural racism and systemic inequities. In order to end youth homelessness, we will work to ensure our systems work for all youth. We see equity as providing opportunities and resources based on need, realizing not everyone starts in the same place. Justice takes this concept a step further by removing the barriers that impede equal rights and self-determination; it seeks to overturn oppression at its roots. The AWHA Leadership Body members will strengthen their knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal competency to address inequity and injustice, internally and in AWHA external efforts through continual practice of these core principles (https://awayhomeamerica.org/coreprinciples/).

Recognize and Center Intersectionality

Name and Challenge White Supremacy

Engage in Principled Struggle

Practice Targeted Universalism

Generate Transformative Visions Towards Liberation

Create a Culture of Accountability

Budget & Time Considerations

  • While the Leadership Body, once fully constituted, will finalize their meeting schedule, AWHA anticipates the group will meet in-person four times annually for one day or longer. Meetings will occur at various locations throughout the country, dovetailing with existing national events or conferences where possible. Leadership Body members must be able to support their travel to these events, individually or through the agency they work for.
  • Calls will occur between in-person sessions; as such Leadership Body members should be comfortable with a variety of online meeting formats, including Zoom, Google Hangout, etc.
  • Anticipated time commitment involved is a total of 5 – 10 hours/month.

Application Process

Please note:  Individuals can apply directly AND/OR nominate others.

To Nominate Others:

If you wish to nominate a particular person who would be a strong member of our Leadership Body, based on your review of the criteria and characteristics above, please share with us the following information via this nomination link (https://forms.gle/Zfb6KdqFxbGJyu9x7):  

  • Name
  • Contact Info
  • Tell us why this person embodies the characteristics above

AWHA staff will reach out to them directly to communicate they have been nominated, and to ask for their application.

To be considered as a candidate:

  • To be considered as an AWHA Leadership Body member, this application form
    (https://forms.gle/HEPCQyB9ULXoppTh9) by 11/25 at 5pm PST. 
  • Submit a 1-minute video, introducing yourself and why you are enthusiastic to offer yourself as a leader in the movement to end homelessness. This can be emailed, posted or DM to https://www.instagram.com/awayhomeamerica/. [Videos do not need to be professional quality – cell phone videos are fine!]
  • Resume 
  • One Professional Reference
  • One Personal Reference 
  • In addition to basic contact information, the application form requires the following narrative responses, written and saved as one PDF, and attached to your Google Form submission. Your narrative response should not exceed 2 pages:
  • Interest & Experience 
  • Why are you interested in and passionate about participating in the AWHA Leadership Body at this point in time? 
  • A Way Home America strives to practice the following values. How have you demonstrated / applied these values (https://awayhomeamerica.org/coreprinciples/)?
  • Describe your ability/capacity to participate in the Leadership Body over the next two years and how that will overlap with and/or complement current work/interests? What concerns or limitations might you have regarding your participation?
  • Considering the overall direction of the movement to end youth homelessness, highlight how you see yourself adding unique value as a Leadership Body member.  Describe what you hope to achieve and contribute to through your participation on the AWHA Leadership Body.
  • What are your hopes for the movement to end youth homelessness in the years ahead?

A member of the Founding 8 members of AWHA’s Leadership Body will be in touch to discuss the position further. If you have any questions, please contact Megan Gibbard Kline, AWHA Director, at megan@awayhomeamerica.org or 206-605-5044 for more information.

Selection Process/Timeline

The selection process involves two phases.

PHASE I: OCTOBER 28 – NOVEMBER 25

  1. Nomination by others and self-nomination
    1. Opens 10/28 – Closes 11/27 = 4 weeks – nomination process open, outreach
    1. AWHA Leadership Body Application Support Webinar (same content to be shared during both webinars – Thursday, November 21 at 4PM EST and Friday, November 22 at 12PM EST.

PHASE II: DECEMBER

  1. Application review
    1. Founding 8 Youth Leadership Body members review applications and selects a pool of finalists
    1. Founding 8 Youth Leadership Body complete reference checks for finalists
  2. Video Interview
    1. Founding 8 members conduct video interviews with finalists, anticipated 12/10
    1. Founding 8 members select remaining 7 members of AWHA Leadership Body and notify all applicants

The first meeting of the full new AWHA Leadership Body will occur in person, likely January 2020 – dates to be finalized at the point that the body is constituted. Stay tuned for more detail on how to identify and raise your hand as a Co-Conspirator in early 2019!