Over One Thousand Gather for Nation’s Largest Annual Conference on Ending Homelessness

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Press Releases | August 12, 2008

July 25, 2008

Contact: Lauren Wright
202-942-8246, lwright@naeh.org

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and HUD Secretary Steve Preston Join Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, to Address Latest Achievements and Challenges in Ending Homelessness

Washington, DC – On July 28-30, homeless advocates, government officials, agency leaders, and homeless individuals from around the country will gather at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC for the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ annual conference.

Sworn in last month as the 14th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Steve Preston will speak on the administration’s commitment to ending homelessness to a crowd of over one thousand during Tuesday’s plenary.

“With more resources, better reporting, and targeted housing programs, we’re making progress in reducing chronic homelessness,” Secretary Preston said. “There is a long way to go to find a more lasting solution. But working with our partners, we are establishing more permanent housing solutions for those who might otherwise be living on our streets.”

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a longtime advocate for homelessness issues whose work on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has helped secure housing and aid for thousands of homeless veterans, will speak during Wednesday’s plenary along with Fannie Mae Senior Vice President Jeffrey Hayward and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Through a series of workshops, open discussions, and seminars, homelessness experts and advocates from across the country will present emerging research and model programs in ending homelessness as well as detail how communities across the country can develop and implement plans to end homelessness.

“Despite rising consumer prices and a faltering economy, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in homelessness in many communities across the country,” said Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “However, significant challenges remain in efforts to end homelessness. The workshops we offer at our annual conference are led by experts who teach participants the strategies that have proven effective — with a focus on developing permanent, affordable housing as a solution to homelessness,” Roman said.

The conference will also feature workshops focusing on the largely unaddressed needs of specific homeless subgroups such as the elderly, youth, and re-entering prisoners.

Conference participants will be invited to visit three programs that have demonstrated success in preventing and ending homelessness in Washington, DC: the Latin American Youth Center, Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative, and Pathways to Housing DC.

At the federal level and in many communities across the United States, the homeless assistance system is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Over 300 communities across the country have adopted Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness, many with an emphasis on permanent, affordable housing. Most of these plans incorporate a Housing First philosophy. Housing First is an approach to homelessness that focuses on getting people off the streets and into permanent housing, and then, if needed, providing supportive services.

Several communities, like Portland Ore., have shown astonishing results. Portland and the surrounding area of Multnomah County recently experienced a record 70 percent drop in the number of chronically homeless people sleeping outside. Portland focused its efforts on adopting a Housing First initiative while improving discharge planning, outreach, prevention, and employment.

Denver, Colo. and Chicago, Ill. have also seen dramatic reductions in homelessness, with Denver experiencing a record 36 percent drop over two years in the number of chronically homeless people living on the street. Last month the National Alliance to End Homelessness highlighted a report on Chicago’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, which announced a 23 percent drop in the number of homeless families over the last two years.

This shift represents a growing national movement away from managing the problem of homelessness towards ending it. As a result of these efforts, homelessness is being prevented and homeless people are making their way back into stable housing.

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The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, mission- driven organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. The Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost- effective policy solutions. Working collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, the Alliance provides data and research that lead to stronger programs and policies that help communities achieve their goal of ending homelessness. For more information on The National Alliance to End Homelessness, visit: www.endhomelessness.org