The Regional Task Force on Homelessness is now the official name of the non-profit organization
SAN DIEGO, CA., July 27, 2021 – What may seem like a minor change is intended to send a very big message from the non-profit organization that leads, coordinates, promotes and advocates for innovative solutions to prevent and end homelessness in the San Diego region. The Regional Task Force on the Homeless has changed its name to The Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH), signifying the difference between who a person is versus the circumstance in which a person may find themselves.
“’The homeless’ sounds like an identity. ‘Homelessness’ is a circumstance,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO of the RTFH. “This is a small, almost unnoticeable change in our name. But the meaning is very deep, very powerful, particularly for the people we work to serve, those we work with and who’s dignity we hold dear. It is important for our name to truly reflect that homelessness is most often a brief situation in someone’s life, it’s not an identity it’s something people are experiencing.”
The RTFH believes that such phrases as “the homeless” or “homeless person” help to mischaracterize homelessness as a character trait, as opposed to a difficult, unexpected life event. People who become homeless, are just people experiencing a loss of housing. They are dealing with the trauma of circumstances and are mothers, fathers, families, veterans, students, teachers, seniors, a friend or family member. The RTFH’s mission is to ensure that person’s homelessness experience is brief and non-recurring and reducing any misconceptions of the experiences helps create clearer pathways to housing with better public understanding.
“One of the challenges we face in the work of ending homelessness is that often times people assume that those who are experiencing homelessness are in their situation by choice,” said Ray Ellis, Chair of the RTFH Board of Directors. “We want people to understand that homelessness can and should be a brief experience in someone’s life. We’re working to address the complex issues many of these individuals face so that they get through their period of homelessness.”
As the regional leader, RTFH establishes a regional community vision and goals for preventing and ending homelessness, promotes and funds innovative solutions, oversees the area’s homeless and housing system, collects important strategic data, supports and trains community agencies, and advocates for effective homelessness policies. Many in the organization have felt uncomfortable with the name for some time and have advocated to make the change.
The RTFH name change has been registered with the County of San Diego as a “Doing Business As” operational change (dba).