USICH Releases 2015 Amendment to Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

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

June 22, 2015

USICH Releases 2015 Amendment to Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Read through the newly amended Opening Doors.
On the five year anniversary of the launch of the first comprehensive Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, USICH is pleased to release Opening Doors, as amended in 2015. This amended version sustains core elements of the original Plan, reflects what we have learned since 2010 when Opening Doors was first launched, and includes new strategies to drive increased progress. Our intention remains to ensure that the Plan serves as a living blueprint, containing the latest knowledge and best practices to prevent and end homelessness.

The Obama Administration launched Opening Doors based upon the vision "no one should experience homelessness, no one should be without a safe, stable place to call home." Over the last five years, we have seen tremendous progress toward this but much work is left to be done.

This Amendment has been informed and shaped by valuable stakeholder input gathered through many different forums. USICH is thankful for the continued partnership with stakeholders across the country in ensuring we all remain focused on the most effective and efficient use of resources, employ proven strategies, and continue our research to gain greater understanding where needed. While Opening Doors is a Federal plan, it sets national goals. The continued partnership between all levels of government, philanthropy, non-profits, and the private sector are necessary to prevent and end homelessness in America.

As amended in this document, the Plan sets, and remains focused on, four goals: (1) prevent and end homelessness among Veterans in 2015; (2) finish the job of ending chronic homelessness in 2017; (3) prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children in 2020; and (4) set a path to end all types of homelessness.

The most significant changes include:
  • The inclusion of an operational definition for an end to homelessness;
  • Updating the timing of the goal of ending chronic homelessness from 2015 to 2017, which reflects the need for additional resources to achieve this goal nationally;
  • Clarifying the role of Medicaid in financing services in permanent supportive housing, including the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid expansion as a state decision;
  • Providing clearer guidance and adding new strategies to support the retooling of homelessness programs into effective crisis response systems; and
  • Adding emphasis on the uses of data in decision-making and performance management to prevent and end homelessness.  
In addition to these changes, the Plan is thoroughly updated to include current data and to reflect the present context. The newly amended Opening Doors also fully incorporates the changes made in the 2012 Amendment.

You can read through each change in the section-by-section summary of changes or view the full Plan here.

USICH and the 19 member agencies of the Council remain fully committed to implementation of the Plan. We look forward to continuing to work toward making our vision of an end to homelessness across all populations a reality.

A message from Matthew Doherty, USICH Executive Director 

On behalf of the entire team at USICH, the teams at our Federal member agencies, and our many dedicated state and local partners working tirelessly to prevent and end homelessness, I am thrilled to share with you this updated version of Opening Doors, as amended in 2015.

This document is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by countless individuals who contributed ideas and information through online forums, in meetings, and by analyzing their agencies' programs and policies, helping to identify best practices and lessons learned from their years of experience. That collective wisdom has shaped and strengthened this amendment and its focus on objectives and strategies informed by data, research, and results.

The release of this amendment could not be more timely. We have made great strides toward the goals established in Opening Doors, but there remains a large amount of work to be done. Today, on the anniversary of the original publication, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving an end to homelessness in America, with even greater confidence in our collective ability to solve this problem.

Together, we are proving that homelessness does not have to appear in the pages of American history as a permanent fixture, but as a problem the American people overcame. It is my hope that the release of this amendment to Opening Doors will help move us closer to the lasting solutions that we can and must implement.
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