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Transatlantic Exchange: Out of office is on and passport is packed!

On Sunday 9th May, our System Broker Alex will be heading off to LA as part of Homeless Link's Transatlantic Exchange. She'll be meeting Brilliant Corners, which is a nonprofit supportive housing agency serving people with developmental disabilities and other special needs in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County, including individuals transitioning from homelessness, institutional settings, and homeless Veterans. Here, Alex tells us how she's feeling ahead of her journey:

I am currently ticking off the last tasks on my to-do list before I shut down for two weeks from my role with Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead.

On Sunday, I’ll be starting my journey to America for Homeless Link’s Transatlantic Exchange.  After a short flight from Newcastle to Heathrow, I’ll be strapped in for an 11 hour flight to Los Angeles, arriving Sunday evening to get settled into my Downtown apartment.

With an 8 hour time difference, my host, Brilliant Corners, are being very kind and allowing a midday start on Monday so I can try and adjust to West Coast time.  I can’t wait to meet the team working on the Breaking Barriers 24-month Rapid Re-Housing programme to learn all about the amazing work they are doing in LA.

The programme provides housing, case management and employment services for offenders who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and I can already see lots of parallels to the work we are doing here in the UK through the Fulfilling Lives Multiple Complex Needs programme.

The main focus of my research trip is to learn about the Critical Time Intervention (CTI) model, which is a relatively unknown intervention to the UK. CTI is designed to support vulnerable people during periods of transition and I am excited to see how we can use this model in the UK. Further information about CTI can be found here.

In addition, I’ll be doing plenty of sight-seeing and have already booked tickets to see Piano Man himself, Billy Joel!

I’ll be blogging throughout my trip via the Fulfilling Lives website and you can also see updates on Twitter by following @AlexLSmith1983 and looking out for #homelesslearning. So keep in touch!