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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Newsletters | October 10, 2006

October 10, 2006    

    POLICY  \|  DATA + RESEARCH  \|  TOOL + TRAINING  \|  NEWS + MEDIA Forward Editor: Samantha Batko    
Spotlight On...

Homelessness and Prison Reentry


In their article on housing, homelessness, and the returning prisoner, researchers Caterina Gouvis Roman and Jeremy Travis ask the question, “Where Will I Sleep Tomorrow?” The authors examine the major obstacles to housing returning prisoners face, including criminal justice policy and practice, housing policies (both the scarcity of affordable housing and PHA policies that may limit eligibility), community obstacles, and fragmentation across systems. The authors conclude by examining emerging policies and programs that could help prisoners reentering society to access housing. The Second Chance Act (H.R. 1704 / S.1934), a new bill introduced in both the House and Senate, outlines a number of provisions, including authorizing money for states to provide post-release housing and establishing an interagency task force on reentry. The article also discusses new programs, new funding streams, and new partnerships that have the potential to increase resources.



On Friday, September 29, 24 House Members, led by Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH), sent a letter to Representatives Regula and Obey, Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, in support of increased funding for services in permanent supportive housing. In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed providing $15 million in homelessness grants from the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). The level is $10.56 million above the level requested by the Administration. The Senate Committee also included language that would target the funding to services in permanent supportive housing, including those programs that were originally funded in 2003 under the HUD/HHS/VA Chronic Homelessness Initiative. This funding could be enacted later this year if there is enough support from House and Senate leaders.

Ten Year Plan Highlight: Anchorage, AK

In January of 2004, the Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska developed a task force consisting of 24 individuals representing various stakeholders in the Anchorage community. This task force was charged with studying homelessness in Anchorage and then developing a tailored ten year plan to address it. On January 11, 2005 Anchorage unanimously voted on and finalized a plan to end homelessness by 2015. The vision, established by this plan, is that “In ten years, the homeless of Anchorage will be connected with a way to secure safe and affordable housing within three months of being identified by any provider of homeless services.” This vision includes the creation of 500 new housing units affordable to those at or below 50 percent of the area median income. The plan also calls for the elimination of barriers and the education of the public on homelessness, the promotion of prevention as the most effective and efficient path to ending homelessness, the provision of targeted support services, and the development of a comprehensive information management system. Though ambitious, both the municipality of Anchorage and the Mayor’s homelessness task force are certain these steps are plausible and will aid in the ending of homelessness in ten years.

National Housing Conference This Week

On October 11-12, the National Housing Conference (NHC) will host its National Policy Summit at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL. The event, Fulfilling the Dream: Shaping Housing Policy for Future Generations, marks the 75th anniversary of NHC’s Policy Summit. Distinguished speakers and panelists – including HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, former HUD Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Jack Kemp, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, PolicyLink C.E.O. Angela Glover Blackwell, and others – will discuss housing trends at the federal, state, and local levels. In addition, panels will address the linkage between housing and other important issues, such as healthcare, transportation, education, and other aspects of family well-being. Housing advocates, realtors, developers, and many more from all around the country will be present at this year’s Policy Summit.

Upcoming Audio Conference

On Thursday, October 12 at 3 pm EST, the Alliance will host “Texas Youth Transitions Center,” an installment of the Leadership to End Homelessness Audio Conference Series sponsored by the Sara Lee Foundation. Youth aging out of foster care are at high risk of homelessness. In Texas, the state Department of Family and Protective Services – Family Focus division of Child Protective Services is working to expand and improve services offered to older youth in foster care and preparing to age out of care. One tool they are using is Community Based Transition Centers. The Transition Centers are one- stop centers that offer access to affordable housing, livable wage jobs, educational advancement, and numerous other services that target young adults as they transition out of foster care. These centers are community collaborations stemming from government, public, and private partnerships. They are designed to further strengthen the system of services and supports for transitioning youth, helping them achieve self-sufficiency. This audio conference series will feature representatives from three central Texas Transition Centers:

  • Terri Hipps, Baptist Child and Family Services PAL Youth Center, San Antonio;
  • Pam Walker, Houston Alumni and Youth Center, Houston;
  • Jennifer Grant, Transition Resource Action Center, Dallas; and
  • LaKesha Pope, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Washington, DC.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Child Protective Services division is currently working to expand transition centers and/or networks of services in regions where none currently exist. A Guide for Community Planning, Development and Implementation of Transition Youth Programs and Transition Centers in Texas will be released later this year.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

Take a five minute break from whatever you are doing to hear about emerging issues, new research, and personal stories from experts and leaders in homelessness and housing policy. This month's expert is Dennis Culhane from the University of Pennsylvania.

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