The Emerging Leaders Program is a rigorous, nine-week leadership training program for individuals who have experienced homelessness and are seeking to take an active role in the movement to end and prevent homelessness in the Bay Area.

Our first Contra Costa County cohort graduated from the program in January 2024. We anticipate training at least two additional cohorts in the Bay Area later this year.

For updates when we’re recruiting future Emerging Leaders cohorts in your region, please fill out this interest form

If you work for a county agency or other stakeholder and you’re interested in bringing the program to your county, email us at [email protected]

About the program

Each Emerging Leaders cohort is limited to 12 individuals to promote genuine relationship-building. Cohorts meet once a week for two hours of in-depth training that combines group discussions, skill-building workshops, and educational presentations. Over the course of nine weeks, cohorts build community while exploring topics such as the Housing First model, Coordinated Entry, state and federal funding for homelessness services, the local history of housing as a form of racial injustice, and data-informed decision-making.

Graduates of the Emerging Leaders Program are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and relationships to confidently serve as decision-makers on civic boards, committees, and commissions. Through the Emerging Leaders Alumni Network, they are also a permanent part of a growing community of Bay Area residents with lived experience who share their commitment to ending and preventing homelessness.

This program was created by EveryOne Home in Alameda County in 2022. All Home adopted the program in May 2023 with the goal of bringing Emerging Leaders’ impact to all nine counties in the Bay Area. 

Application Process and Program Details

Recruitment occurs multiple times throughout the year. Applicants must live, work, or currently be displaced from the county where a cohort takes place. We are not currently recruiting for an upcoming cohort at this time, but we strongly encourage anyone interested in the program to submit this brief interest form.

During recruitment periods, we review and follow up on applications regularly—spots fill up quickly, as each cohort is limited to 12 participants. Applicants who submit applications after we reach capacity for this cohort will be notified shortly, and alerted to future opportunities to apply again for the next cohort in your area. 

Applicants who meet program criteria and apply while there are available seats in the upcoming cohort will be contacted for a brief follow-up conversation with program staff. This is an opportunity for us to learn more about you and what interests you about the program, as well as providing a chance for you to learn more about what the training entails. Interviews take place virtually using Zoom.  


What does it mean to have experienced homelessness?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines homelessness as “lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”  

If you think the term might apply to you, it probably does. Some examples of what homelessness can look like include: sleeping in places not meant for human habitation (such as parks, vehicles, RVs, abandoned buildings or encampments), living in an emergency or domestic violence shelter, living in a hotel/motel room, or “couch surfing” (staying temporarily with friends or relatives). 

Please note that lived experience of homelessness is a requirement for this program. Related but different lived experiences, such as having a very low income or residing in affordable housing, do not qualify. 

Do I need advocacy experience to apply? 

Emerging Leaders welcomes applicants who are new to advocacy as well as those who have years of experience and want to strengthen their skills and impact. The Emerging Leaders Program provides in-depth training on the regional and statewide policies and systems that shape homeless response and determine funding for services. The program makes these complex topics accessible to everyday members of the community who have been impacted by these systems. The goal of the program is to equip participants with the knowledge and skills it takes to confidently serve as decision-makers on regional policy-making boards and commissions, and speak confidently on these issues. The program also covers some of the root causes of homelessness and poverty, including our local and national history of race-based housing discrimination.

Emerging Leaders graduates have gone on to hold 43 seats on civic bodies in Alameda County – workgroups, committees, and boards where they have full voting rights or otherwise directly impact outcomes. 

This form of advocacy requires a significant time commitment and a willingness to build working relationships with a variety of people who do not have lived experience. Change takes time, but the impact of that change is far-reaching. If this is the kind of impact you want to have, Emerging Leaders may be a good fit. 

Can I apply if I don’t have reliable access to a computer or the internet? 

Yes. We are committed to ensuring that technology access does not prevent anyone from participating in the Emerging Leaders Program. We provide several options for technology support during the onboarding process, such as wifi hotspots.

Will this help me get housed or connect with housing resources?

Unfortunately, no. We welcome applicants who are currently unhoused, but this program is not directly affiliated with service providers and does not help participants find solutions to a current housing crisis.

What happens after the program ends?

Upon graduation, participants join the Emerging Leaders Alumni Network, a growing community of more than 50 community members with lived experience who remain connected and leverage shared wisdom that flows from a variety of different backgrounds, identities, and years of experience advocating for change. 

I don’t live in Contra Costa County, but I’m interested in the program. How can I participate?

Our goal is to bring the Emerging Leaders Program to all nine Bay Area counties, and even beyond. If you’re interested in participating and/or helping bring this program to your county, please fill out this brief interest form, and we will keep you updated about any future opportunities.


General questions about the Emerging Leaders Program can be sent to [email protected]

Anyone interested in participating in the program can fill out this brief form, and we will be in touch when applications open for a cohort in your area