All In to Ending Homelessness for All Americans

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
All In to Ending Homelessness for All Americans

June 5, 2015
The All In City Swing to End Veteran Homelessness brought together HUD Secretary Julián Castro, VA Secretary Robert McDonald, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and USICH Executive Director, Matthew Doherty to visit Houston, Tucson, and Las Vegas. Above, they are pictured in Tucson alongside Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Veteran Cliff Wade, and Pima County District 5 Supervisor Richard Elías.

All In on Ending Veteran Homelessness: We Stand Together
A Joint Message by USICH Executive Director Matthew Doherty, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, VA Secretary Robert McDonald, & HUD Secretary Julián Castro

Five years ago, the Obama Administration set an ambitious goal: to end homelessness among Veterans by the end of 2015. Many scoffed; many continue to scoff. In the face of such skepticism, we remain optimistic and focused, and know this is an historic opportunity we must seize. Veteran homelessness is not a reality we have to accept.
On Monday, the four of us took this message on the road in a three-city swing to connect with communities committed to ending Veteran homelessness. In Houston, we joined Mayor Annise Parker at a rally celebrating the creation of a system in her community which ensures that all Veterans who need assistance will be quickly linked to the supportive services and permanent housing. The progress made in places like Houston, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City inspires us and provides models and strategies - like "Housing First" - for every community in the nation.
What we have been able to achieve in partnership with each other- joining forces with state and local governments, the business community and non-profits-is nothing short of amazing. In fact, between the 2010 rollout of Opening Doors - the first-ever federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness - and the January 2014 point-in-time homeless count, homelessness among Veterans nationwide has been slashed by one-third. This progress is a testament to what our nation can do when we set the bar high, invest resources and effort, and refuse to scale back our vision. It's unacceptable that men and women who wore the uniform are returning without a safe, stable place to call home.  
Now, it's important to understand this doesn't mean that no Veteran will ever face a housing crisis in the future. But it does mean that communities like Houston, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City are leading the way in building systems that will prevent and address homelessness whenever possible. 
After leaving Houston we traveled to Tucson, where we continued to be inspired by the stories of selfless patriots who've used their grit and resilience to weather tough times and get back on their feet.
We met Veterans like Genevieve Yordani, a single mother who only a few months ago found herself homeless and with no job prospects. She was referred to the Sullivan Jackson Employment Center where she accessed short-term housing assistance, completed a skills training program, and enrolled in Pima Community College. As Genevieve noted, the services she received weren't handouts; they were a hand-up to help her turn her life around. They tapped into the tremendous skills and strengths that Genevieve brought to her service; qualities that she shares with every other Veteran.

The Connecticut Head Start-Family Shelter Partnership: Working Together to Meet the Needs of Families and Children
By Grace Whitney, Jamie Peterson, and Susan Compton Agamy

Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool
CT Head Start-Family Shelter Partnership used the ECAT as a guide to better meet the needs of families.
Surprisingly, we are more likely to find ourselves in a homeless shelter at age one that at any other age in our lives.  [2012 AHAR (HUD, 2012) and Census Data] This remains true through age five. Half of all children in family shelters are age five or younger. In order to address this, Head Start and family shelters in Connecticut have come together to combine resources so that they can better meet the particular needs of pregnant women, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families.
Through a partnership that has included the Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO), the state's HUD agency, which was formerly the Department of Social Services and is now the Department of Housing, and the state's network of local Head Start and shelter agencies, ongoing discussions are taking place to identify opportunities to align policies and practices that can overcome the shared challenge of serving this population of families. 
The goals of the effort have been simple: increase enrollment in Head Start, make family shelters more child-friendly, penetrate one another's local networks and councils to bring the children's voice to the housing community and the housing voice to the early childhood community. 
Click through to the full article to learn about specific efforts taking place in Connecticut to better serve children and families experiencing homelessness.

Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2017
By Lindsay Knotts

On any given night, we know that nearly 85,000 Americans with disabling health conditions who have experienced homelessness for long periods of time-some for years or decades-can be found sleeping on our streets, in shelters, or other places not meant for human habitation. These men and women experiencing chronic homelessness commonly have a combination of mental health problems, substance use disorders, and medical conditions that worsen over time and too often lead to an early death.
Without connections to the right types of care, people who are experiencing chronic homelessness cycle in and out of hospital emergency departments and inpatient beds, detox programs, jails, prisons, and psychiatric institutions-all at high public expense. Some studies have found that leaving a person to remain chronically homeless costs taxpayers as much as $30,000 to $50,000 per year.
Fortunately, there is a proven solution to chronic homelessness: supportive housing. Supportive housing has been shown to help people permanently stay out of homelessness, improve health conditions, and, by reducing their use of crisis services, lower public costs. In fact, numerous studies have shown that it is cheaper to provide people experiencing chronic homelessness with supportive housing than to have them remain homeless.
Ending chronic homelessness in 2017 is not only the fiscally responsible thing to do, it is the right thing to do. To learn more, read USICH's recently released fact sheet Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2017: No one with a disability should have to experience long-term homelessness.

Resources for CoCs
Helping Prepare for the 2015 CoC Competition

On Tuesday, April 28, HUD released the 
FY 2015 CoC Program Registration Notice. The registration notice provided communities with the information needed to register and prepare for the upcoming HUD CoC competition and includes information on the registration process, HUD's policy priorities, and considerations for CoC Program implementation. Through the competition, CoCs will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate that they are advancing both HUD's Strategic Plan goals as well as the goals and objectives of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Registration closed on May 18.
In the registration notice, HUD outlines six policy and program priorities: 
 1) strategic resource allocation,
2) ending chronic homelessness,
3) ending family homelessness,
4) ending youth homelessness,
5) ending Veteran homelessness, and
6) using a Housing First approach. 
USICH's CoC Resources provides a gathering of messages, documents, and tools that will assist communities in planning and implementation as it relates to each priority area. Visit the USICH webpage to access helpful resources, and check back, as this page will be updated with additional resources soon.

News from Our Partners
VA Announces Rule Increase in Eligibility for HCHV Programs

In a
message from Secretary MacDonald, VA announced a change in rules governing eligibility for VA's Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program. Previously, VA could only enroll Veterans who were diagnosed with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder into HCHV. As of June 1, Congress granted authority to make this program available to all Veterans who qualify for VA health care.

HUD Announces Issuance of the ESG Notice for Additional Public Comment on the Interim Rule
HUD recently announced the issuance of the ESG Notice for additional public comment on the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: Emergency Solutions Grants Program and Consolidated Plan Confirming Amendments (interim rule), entitledEmergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program; Solicitation of Comment on Specific Issues. After reviewing input from the first comment period that closed on February 3, 2012, HUD is opening up a second comment period that will close on Monday, August 3, 2015.


We Stand Together
Connecticut Head Start-Family Shelter Partnership
Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2017
Resources for CoCs
News from Our Partners
Fully Utilizing HUD-VASH

460 mayors, 7 governors, and 137 county and city officials have committed to end homelessness among Veterans in their communities by the end of 2015.
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Webinar Recordings now Available

Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Shelters: Success in Practice
The tool, developed by the Administration for Children and Families at the HHS, is intended to help shelter staff ensure their facilities are safe and appropriate for the development of young children.
Follow the link to view the webinar & presentation slides.

The Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (SHOP) Tool: Setting a Path to End Chronic Homelessness Locally
The SHOP tools helps communities identify the specific set of strategies, such as increasing the prioritization of existing turnover units and creating new supportive housing, needed to achieve the goal of ending chronic homelessness in 2017 or earlier.
Follow the link to view the webinar & presentation slides.

And stay tuned for more webinars from USICH and our partners and in the coming weeks, keep an eye out for an upcoming webinar on youth housing.

Fully Utilizing HUD-VASH to Achieve the National Goal of Ending Veteran Homelessness

By Peter Nicewicz

he HUD-VASH program has been a vital tool in our national efforts to end Veteran homelessness and since 2008, has assisted over 90,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness by providing rental assistance with case management and clinical services. In order to help communities achieve the goal of ending homelessness by the end of this year, HUD and VA have worked to ensure the timely deployment of HUD-VASH vouchers. In April, HUD and VA announced over 9,300 new tenant-based HUD-VASH vouchers, for a total of 79,000 HUD-VASH vouchers now allocated to VA Medical Centers and Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the country.
Now it is up to partners at the community level, with Federal support, to put them to full use. Doing so requires communities to identify all eligible Veterans with high service needs, especially those experiencing chronic homelessness, and refer them to the HUD-VASH program. It entails engaging Veterans and helping HUD-VASH applicants through the voucher application and approval process. It entails PHAs quickly processing and issuing vouchers. It entails community partners assisting Veterans to find apartments that can be rented with the HUD-VASH voucher. And, it entails case managers providing ongoing service support so that Veterans receiving assistance through HUD-VASH can remain stably housed.

Read on to see the two specific strategies PHAs and community partners can implement.

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Financial Implications for Health Centers Working with Frequent Users

June 11, 2015

Save the Date: Upcoming Webinar on PSH for Youth

June 29, 2015

2015 National Conference on Ending Homelessness
July 15 - 17, 2015; Washington, DC
Check Out Additional Events on our website


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