McKinney Named to Gov. Cooper’s Council on Homelessness
In four years at Cone Health, Brooks Ann McKinney has been a tireless advocate for the area’s homeless population.
Greensboro – Brooks Ann McKinney, Cone Health’s director of vulnerable populations, will serve on a statewide council aimed at bringing an end to homelessness.
This work will be especially important in North Carolina, where a 2020 report by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness found an estimated 9,280 people are experiencing homelessness on any given day.
Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed McKinney to the 30-member North Carolina Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs. McKinney will represent hospitals and health systems on the council that includes individuals from public and private entities across the state. Together, members of the council will advise the governor, his cabinet, and other state agencies and partners, on strategies and policies to reduce and end homelessness in North Carolina.
“My hope is that we make real, system changes to homelessness in our state and also make sure we address the medical and mental health fragility of patients experiencing homelessness,” McKinney said.
McKinney was officially sworn into her new role by the city clerk in April.
McKinney has been an advocate for the homeless population for nearly 25 years. In four years at Cone Health, she has worked directly with these patients to address the social determinants that have been proven to impact people’s health, well-being and quality of life. Social determinants of health include things like housing, access to nutritious foods, transportation, education and more. On any given day, McKinney’s role could mean finding food or safe housing for a patient after their hospital stay, arranging transportation or connecting them with other support services. On top of that, McKinney seeks out partnerships with local, state and national organizations to improve systems and find solutions to homelessness in the community.
“I think [this appointment] really solidified that my gift is to bring system change, and to bring community providers and relationships and partnerships together so that we’re all working for one purpose,” McKinney said. “And I do feel like my purpose is to serve the homeless population.”
In 2019, McKinney received the Willie J. Mackey National Medical Respite Award from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council for her meaningful work with the organization over the years. She’s committed decades of service to this work, inspired by the people she encounters every day.
“Over the years, I just think it’s the individuals I’ve met on the street or in the hospital or at the shelters that have changed my life, and that’s why I do what I do,” McKinney said.