2018 Horizon Ribbon Award Winner
Washington College Citation
Adrienne Nash Melendez ’05
More than a half-million people in the United States were homeless on any given night in 2017. About 40,000 of them were veterans—men, predominantly, who might also struggle with addiction, joblessness, or mental health issues. Even before the Veterans Administration announced its ambitious plan to end veteran homelessness nationwide, Adrienne Nash Melendez ’05 had been working toward that goal at the grassroots level. Today, as a program analyst with the VA, Adrienne is driving that national initiative by emphasizing the power of community to muster aid to those on the brink of homelessness.
Service to others comes naturally for Adrienne, who as an undergraduate was instrumental in establishing the Service Council and who helped launch the Student Environmental Alliance. Soon after graduation, the sociology major went to work for the Chester County Department of Community Development in Pennsylvania, where she designed, implemented, and supervised the first AmeriCorps VISTA program in the county to provide housing services, transitional housing, and emergency shelters for military veterans. As the community services team manager there, she played a key role in developing and implementing a 10-year community strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Since joining the VA’s Homeless Programs Office as a management analyst in 2012, she has demonstrated her unwavering commitment to the cause— and a knack for collaboration and leadership development. She is currently responsible for community planning to end veteran homelessness, VA integration into Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Coordinated Entry Systems, and support of joint federal partner initiatives.
Significant progress is being made on the homelessness front. Since 2010, more than 600,000 veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented from falling into homelessness through HUD’s targeted housing vouchers and VA’s homelessness programs. By the end of 2017, 60 communities have effectively ended veteran homelessness. In large part, our military veterans have a Washington College alumna to thank. In recognition of her effective leadership in response to this worthy cause, Washington College is proud to present to Adrienne Nash Melendez, Class of 2005, the Alumni Horizon Ribbon Award.
Washington College Alumni Association August 30, 2018