Ending Homelessness Today — Federal Plan to End Homelessness
How Would the President Fund Homeless Assistance in 2014?
April 11, 2013
The President’s budget proposal, released Wednesday, provides a detailed look at this Administration’s spending priorities for the next year and beyond. Right now you can find all kinds of commentary on the proposed budget, in terms of both policy and politics, about the big picture and larger items like tax and spending policies aimed at reducing the long-term federal deficit, as well as concessions by the President to Republicans in the form of proposals to reduce spending on middle-class benefit programs.
Today, however, I want to go over a few specific items, much smaller in scale, that would have an impact on homelessness.
One important piece of background information that’s important to keep in mind: This budget proposal is based on certain assumptions about how much money overall will be available for HUD programs. While those assumptions are certainly reasonable, not all members of Congress agree on them. The President’s budget is always “just a proposal.” This year there is more uncertainty than usual, but there is a greater need for Congress to enact it.
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VA Leading the Way
April 17, 2012
As we have discussed on this blog many times, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set a clear goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015.
The recent fiscal year (FY) 2013 VA budget proposal shows a strong commitment to this mission of ending homelessness among veterans. As part of a recent webinar on the budget proposal, I went over VA’s ask for a 33 percent increase in its budget for homeless veteran programs. This remarkable increase fully funds the transitional housing Grant and Per Diem (GPD) and permanent supportive housing (HUD-VASH) programs, as well as tripling in size the rapid re-housing and prevention model program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF).
This budget proposal takes a hard look at what it will take to end veteran homelessness over the coming years and lays out concrete funding recommendations for these programs at a scale that will accomplish this. VA is the only agency so far to so clearly lay out its year by year goals and propose funding to achieve those objectives. By expanding SSVF, this budget takes into consideration the large number of new veterans expected to return to our communities, and the resources needed to assist these returning heroes. By continuing to fund HUD-VASH, it also provides funding for chronically homeless and the most vulnerable veterans from previous conflicts.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the VA’s model consists of implementing a broad spectrum of programs directly thr... Read More »
Guest Blog: The Federal Strategic Plan and Youth Homelessness
April 13, 2012
Today’s blog comes from Jennifer Ho, Deputy Director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. She writes today about USICH’s initiative to update the Federal Strategic Plan to include further content on youth experiencing homelessness and educational outcomes of homeless or at-risk youth.
Almost two years have passed since we launched Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. With the help and support from thousands of stakeholders across the United States we have made progress against the bold goals of the Plan by increasing investment in solutions, adopting proven tools to prevent and end homelessness, breaking down silos, and improving data collection, analysis, and reporting. We remain committed to the goals of Opening Doors and to the comprehensive approach described in the Plan.
For this year's update to Opening Doors, we are responding to requests that additional content and clarity would be helpful in two key areas: early childhood learning and educational outcomes for youth and children experiencing homelessness; and broad strategies on unaccompanied youth up through age 24.
Barbara Poppe and I have toured many youth-serving programs across America since the release of Opening Doors. We have talked with many youth, as well as leadership from providers and advocacy groups. We have also convened an interagency dialogue across the many federal agencies that have youth-specific responsibilities. We have been focused on what is known about the magnitude of the problem and what interventions work best... Read More »
Alliance Releases Year One Progress Report of Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness
June 22, 2011
Today is the one-year anniversary of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. One year ago, the federal government committed to ending chronic and veteran homelessness in five years; homelessness among families, children, and youth in ten years; and moving the country toward ending all homelessness.
The Alliance released a Progress Report on the federal plan today; the Progress Report reveals that while there was a great deal of activity on the 52 strategies the Plan identified to meet the goals, measurable progress has been made on only 18 strategies. The two-part report assesses the Plan’s success on its own terms, measuring how much progress (none, some, or measurable) was made on each of the 52 strategies identified to achieve the goals. The second part of the report looks at a set of available local counts of homeless people to assess whether or not the number went up or down during the Plan’s first year.
Ultimately, we find that while the member agencies of the USICH have clearly been active, results have not yet started to emerge from the activity. External factors such as the economy and the budget deficit played a role in deterring progress on the Plan but they were hardly the only factor; an emphasis on coordination and information strategies rather than more substantive housing, treatment, and jobs strategies has also hindered progress.
Finally, data show a potential increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness since the... Read More »
Researchers Have Fun Too
December 07, 2010
As the only non-researchy member of the Homelessness Research Institute at the Alliance, I felt especially privileged to be a guest at today’s meeting of the Research Council – a gathering of the leading thinkers on homelessness. I was lucky to be seated at a table with Dennis Culhane, Jill Khadduri, Mary Beth Shinn, Bob Rosenheck, and representatives from a smattering of federal agencies: HHS, Commerce, HUD, Census, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
And after a morning spent going around the table to discuss everyone’s latest research efforts, those agency liaisons took their turns. We eagerly anticipated learning what, if anything, our federal partners are doing to advance the research necessary to end homelessness. What projects are they initiating? What questions are they asking and answering? What are they doing to bring us closer to a country where everyone has a place to call home?
This and that, it turns out.
By far the most impressive agency was the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They’re pursuing a number of reports and studies to examine the effects of some of the most promising strategies to end homelessness, including: research on the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration, research on youth aging out of foster care, and research on the effectiveness of prevention (to name just a few). What’s admirable about the array of research topics is not how widely varied they are – but how they re... Read More »
It's Election Day - Go Vote!
November 02, 2010
It’s election day, people.
When Congress comes back – whatever the election results – the men and women we elect will be facing appropriations season; they’ll be trying to determine how much money to spend on which programs. Ask any staffer on the Hill and they can tell you it’s always a rigorous and deliberate process – and passing a budget is one of the most important things that Congress does all year.
And that’s not all. We at the Alliance set policy priorities every year that we work toward with Congress and the Administration.
Right this very second, we're working hard on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and - as always - the McKinney-Vento. But this year, we also aim to:
Increase access to permanent, affordable housing for extremely low-income families by funding new Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers and supporting the capitalization of the National Housing Trust Fund.
Increase the capacity of the VA and HUD to prevent and end veterans homelessness by enacting S. 1547, the Zero Tolerance for Homeless Veterans Act and supporting funding for additional HUD-VASH vouchers.
End youth homelessness through supportive housing, rental assistance, and services specific to unaccompanied youth by supporting a baseline youth count in 2011 community homeless counts and increasing funding of the Family Unification Program
And really, that’s not all. Remember the whole federal plan to end homelessness that the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released last June? Remember the youth homel... Read More »
Examining The Federal Plan: Objective 2 – Increasing knowledge
September 16, 2010
And it’s back! I’m picking up where Marisa dropped off in learning about the ten objectives of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.
Today we’re looking at objective two.
Objective 2: Strengthen the capacity of public and private organizations by increasing knowledge about collaboration, homelessness, and successful interventions to prevent and end homelessness.
As the communications arm of the Alliance, this objective is really important to us. One of the goals outlined in the HRI mission is to build and disseminate information about homelessness and engage the public and the media.
And to that end, we’ve tried to adopt the technologies that make the most sense to us. You’ll find us on Facebook, you can follow us on Twitter, you can check out our videos on YouTube and see our pictures (from our photo contest on Flickr. (And of course, there’s this blog). Through these avenues, we aim to engage supporters and disseminate information about homelessness – and solutions to homelessness.
Of course, the primary vehicle to do just that is our website. There, you’ll find factsheets, solutions, strategies, community snapshots, research, and an oft-visited and very helpful section called About Homelessness. The website is regularly updated with new information about the wide range of issues that intersect with homelessness: health care, veterans affairs, welfare, violence, substance abuse, and the like.
Our challenge is always in reaching the people that need us. Our last us... Read More »
Examining the Federal Plan: Objective 6 – Mainstream Programs
August 12, 2010
Today I have another installment of our series “Examining the Federal Plan”. In this series, we look at the ten objectives of the new federal plan to end homelessness Opening Doors.
We’re looking at Objective 6: Improve access to mainstream programs and services to reduce people’s financial vulnerability to homelessness.
To learn more about this objective, I turned to Sharon McDonald, Senior Policy Analyst at the Alliance (who will be writing about rapid re-housing as a way to relieve growing shelter populations tomorrow – stay tuned!) .
The first thing I wanted to know was what was meant by “mainstream programs”.
Mainstream programs are those not specifically designed to aid the homeless population or to tackle homelessness issues, but the bigger programs that can help people before they become homeless (and after, if need be), such as those that deal with jobs or income. We’re talking about things like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Unemployment Insurance (UI), and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), which is currently in real danger (we did a whole WEEK of posts about saving TANF.)
These programs are meant to reach large portions of the population with lower incomes. These programs are the first lines of defense for preventing people from becoming homeless by providing cash assistance, job placement aid, and other critical services.
The federal plan aims to improve access to these programs. If these mainstream programs could serve more people, we could stop homelessness before it start... Read More »
Last thoughts on the 2010 National Conference on Ending Homelessness
July 15, 2010
So it’s all over.
The 2010 National Conference on Ending Homelessness is behind us.
And – even from a non-expert standpoint – I have to say that it was a pretty incredible experience. From the industry luminaries that graced the stage at plenary sessions to the incredible workshop speakers to the [really outstanding] hotel staff, I really felt that the last three days were both educational and inspiring.
Alliance staff are all encouraged to attend [and staff] workshops, so I had the opportunity to learn about a lot of things that I don’t encounter in my communication-and-social-media-days in the office. I learned about the role rapid re-housing can play in the life of domestic violence survivors, I learned about the implications of the HEARTH Act in ending family homelessness, I learned how much interest there was in communications and social media, and I learned a lot – a ton! – about the federal plan to end homelessness and HPRP.
I learned a lot about people! Our field is full of such wonderfully different, quirky, and committed practitioners and advocates! Walking around with an Alliance nametag gave me an avenue to introduce myself to folks – and every time I turned around I had the opportunity to meet direct service providers, advocates, government employees, and real, true experts in the field. And every so often (I think I mentioned this before), I got a chance to meet Twitter friends and Facebook buds that I had chatted with ... Read More »
Understanding the Federal Plan: Day 2 of the Conference
July 13, 2010
Hello everyone, I’m so excited to be blogging from my first Alliance conference! Already it has been such a wonderful two days, I have been overwhelmed meeting so many people who are all committed to ending homelessness!
Undoubtedly the highlight of the day was the keynote address by none other than Secretary Shaun Donovan of Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sec. Donovan has been a force in advancing the goal of ending homelessness. In his speech, Sec. Donovan went into greater detail about the new federal plan to end homelessness, Opening Doors, and the ways he envisions turning the goals outlined in the plan into action.
But first, the Secretary generously offered his thanks to the National Alliance to End Homelessness and, specifically, to our president Nan Roman, for her leadership in bringing the movement to end homelessness where it is today. He announced that Nan has worked with five (5!) HUD Secretaries and that he intended on being the very last one that Nan works with to end homelessness – as he intends on finishing the job!
Then the Secretary expressed how excited he was about the new federal plan. He offered a feeling of optimism and achievement, comparing the fight to end homelessness to America’s landing of a man on the moon. Like the moon landing, many people see the goal of ending homelessness as impossible or unrealistic, but also like landing on the moon, we enter this ... Read More »
Examining the Federal Plan: Objective 8 –Youth Homelessness
July 08, 2010
The new federal plan to end homelessness has set 10 objectives to guide us on the path to ending homelessness.
And the bait was just to good to pass up.
On the blog, we’ll examine each goal, what’s known, what isn’t, and what we’re going to do moving forward on that goal. We’ll call the series, “Examining the Federal Plan.”
This week we will be looking at objective eight, “Advance health and housing stability for youth aging out of systems such as foster care and juvenile justice”.
I myself am still learning a lot about the different kinds of homelessness, but the Alliance is chock full of people who are each a wealth of information and more than willing to help me learn. Since this objective has to do with youth homelessness, I thought this week I could do a post about youth homelessness in general, since it is an area of homelessness that often goes unseen.
To learn about youth homelessness, I talked to LaKesha Pope, Senior Youth Policy and Program Analyst.
Here are some of the questions I asked her and what I learned:
What causes youth homelessness?
Youth can become homelessness for many different reasons, many of them the same factors that cause other groups to experience homelessness. However, the major factors that usually contribute to youth homelessness are family dysfunction and breakdown, specifically family conflict, abuse, and disruption. Many youth enter a state of homeless... Read More »
Examining the Federal Plan: Objective 10 – Crisis Response Systems
July 01, 2010
And we’re back!
The Alliance is examining all ten goals of Opening Doors, the federal strategic plan to end homelessness. You may remember that we took a closer look at Goal 8 – Ending Youth Homelessness a bit back.
As the Alliance’s new media intern, I’m really excited to be writing this series, because every time I examine one of these goals, I get to learn about a new aspect of homelessness and solutions to homelessness (and really, that’s what the Alliance is all about).
This week we’ll be looking at Objective 10: “Transform homeless services to crisis response systems that prevent homelessness and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing.”
To learn more about this objective, I talked to Norm Suchar, our new (!) Director of the Center for Capacity Building (formerly senior policy analyst at the Alliance).
The first thing I tried to wrap my head around was what this objective meant, and why it was part of the federal plan.
Right now, the “crisis response system” in place is shelters. When someone encounters an event that creates a situation where they can no longer afford housing, the first response is to put them in a shelter.
This shelter system, however, is not effective if we are to eradicate homelessness. The crisis response system for homelessness needs to be transformed, so that when someone enters a crisis situation and that person’s housing needs are addressed, we turn to... Read More »
Learning about family homelessness
June 28, 2010
When I came to the Alliance, I really did not know anything about homelessness, or those who were experiencing it. I think, like many people, my experience with people experiencing homelessness was only of those collecting change on the streets.
However, since coming to the Alliance and being exposed to the community dedicated to ending homelessness, I have come to understand that this is not a comprehensive picture of homelessness. I think I thought that all people who were experiencing homelessness fell into that category of what I now understand to be chronic homelessness. Turns out I was wrong - there are so many different types of homelessness, most of which aren’t chronic. One type of homelessness that I had not considered before was family homelessness.
Family homelessness has been in the news a lot lately, especially because of the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) which found that the number of families seeking shelter has increased in the last year. Also, the new Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, called Opening Doors, set a specific goal of ending family homelessness in 10 years. These developments have pushed the issue into the spotlight so, in an effort to educate myself more about this group, I asked around the Alliance and did some research to get a clearer picture of family homelessness.
So what is family homelessness? It’s exactly what one would think: families who are not able to afford housing, and... Read More »
The Federal Plan to End Homelessness: Turning Plans into Action
June 22, 2010
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released a new federal strategic plan geared toward preventing and ending homelessness today. And it was quite the production. Not quite presidential, but the Secretaries of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (Shaun Donovan), Health and Human Services (Kathleen Sebelius), Labor (Hilda Solis), and Veterans Affairs (Gen. Eric Shinseki) all showed up to unveil Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness at a White House briefing this morning. And right they were to make a to-do. Opening Doors is the first comprehensive federal plan developed to prevent and end homelessness, laying out specific goals and clear timeframes. The plan even identifies the data sources (point-in-time homeless counts, to be exact) by which they’ll be measuring progress, allowing for real accountability. Opening Doors sets four major goals: Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness in five years;Prevent and end homelessness among veterans in five years;Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children in ten years; andSet a path to ending all types of homelessness.(Any of this sound familiar?) And while we’re very excited at the prospect of having a federal partner to help achieve our mutual goal of ending homelessness, we know that it’s not going to be easy. We know that the process of moving from plan to action will require more than good intentions.How do we know? Because this ... Read More »
News Alert: USICH extends comment period on FEDERAL PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS
March 09, 2010
A quick news update: the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) extends the public comment period on the FEDERAL PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS.Barbara Poppe, Executive Director of USICH offers her thoughts, goals, and perspective in a blogpost on the Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment (HUD) wesite.Make sure to read the post, and make sure to visit the and offer your thoughts and votes!Thanks!... Read More »
A Federal Plan to End Homelessness: The Alliance recommends
February 09, 2010
While yet another snowpocalypse hits DC, most of the Alliance staff has escaped to LA for our Annual Conference on Ending Family Homelessness. It starts unofficially today with an opportunity to give input into the federal government's plan to end homelessness. (As we've mentioned before, it's a pretty awesome opportunity.)Representatives from the U.S. Intergency Council on Homelessness and HUD are soliciting recommendations, and as required in the HEARTH Act, the plan should be finalized by May of this year.Here are some of the key points from our official recommendations. Do you have anything to add? For veterans:Deploy 60,000 units of permanent supportive housing, targeted to veterans experiencing chronic homelessness (30,000 already in the pipeline);Provide prevention and rapid rehousing services to 250,000 veterans per year;For families Equip publicly funded programs that serve families who are vulnerable to homelessness (e.g. TANF and child welfare) so they have the capacity (and responsibility) to respond, and resolve, their clients’ housing crises;Increase the supply of affordable housing to families with very low incomes through expanding permanent, short- and medium-term rental assistance; and For youth: Expand federal investment in youth housing services and infrastructure to serve an additional 50,000 homeless and street-dependent youth annually; Offer Congress and the Administration clear data on the incidence of youth homelessness, research on the extent of long-term homelessness among homeless youth populations, and identification of interventions targeted to specific typologies of homeless youth; and And this i... Read More »
Weigh in on the Federal Plan to End Homelessness at our Annual Conference
January 28, 2010
The federal government has never before had a plan to end homelessness but for the first time, one is in the works. What's more, attendees at the Alliance 2010 Conference on Ending Family Homelessness will be able to give input on the plan. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness will host a forum for audience members to offer comments and suggestions about what should be included in the Federal plan on Friday, February 12 from 7:30am-8:45am."It's a great chance for people to stand up and say something," says Norm Suchar, Alliance Senior Policy Analyst.The HEARTH Act, passed in May of 2009, requires that the Interagency Council develop a plan to end homelessness, which is scheduled to be submitted to Congress in May of this year. The conference forum is one of many listening sessions that the Council is conducting with service providers and advocates. The plan will be comprehensive, covering all federal agencies, particularly HUD, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education. It will pay particular attention to solving homelessness among four populations: the chronically homeless, veterans, families and youth.According to Suchar, in order to be successful, the federal plan must include measurable outcomes and goals, as well as accountability, so that people and departments know whether they are meeting those goals. What would you like to see in the federal plan to end homelessness?... Read More »
Annual Conference - Secretary Donovan's remarks
July 30, 2009
Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Annual Conference
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Thank you, Nan - for that introduction, for your remarkable leadership with the Alliance, and, above all, for the bedrock commitment to end homelessness you have impressed upon five different HUD Secretaries. I look forward to continuing our work together.
I want to also thank your board, particularly Co-Chairs Susan Baker and Mike Lowry. And I want to note the HUD team here helping us address homelessness - Mark Johnston, our Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, and Ann Oliva, who heads up our Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs.
And of course, many of you know Fred Karnas - Fred is a senior adviser and has been critical in our Recovery Act efforts, including working with Mark and Ann quickly distributing the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing funds that so many of you made possible.
Will all of you stand up?
I want to also acknowledge the work of the Pete Dougherty, the interim executive director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the USICH staff, many of whom are here today.
But most of all, I want to thank everyone in this room who labor day in and day out to help the millions of men, women, and children in our nation who experience homelessness.
In the best of times,... Read More »