Champions of Change Honored at White House

Mercer County’s Frank Cirillo Among Honorees

Frank Cirillo at awards ceremony

On July 12, 2012, the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) recognized 13 leaders at an event, “Champions of Change in the Fight Against Child and Youth Homelessness.” The Champions of Change event is part of the Obama Administration’s Winning the Future initiative.

Frank Cirillo, Director of Mercer County’s Board of Social Services, was honored for his role in the region’s rapid re-housing initiative. On the Board of Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and MCBOSS, Mr. Cirillo encouraged and supported the testing of rapid re-housing, a new approach to responding to family homelessness in Mercer County. In partnership with the Mercer Alliance, he approached the State and received permission to use TANF resources to support a rapid re-housing pilot.

“The efforts of these Champions, and others like them across the country, are critical to achieving our goal of preventing and ending homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020, and ensuring that every child has a safe and stable place to call home,” said USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe.

The honorees shared promising practices they have utilized in their communities to better serve children, youth and families, and discussed barriers such as limited federal dollars and a lack of coordination between government agencies at the federal, state and local levels. They also discussed the importance of “right-sizing” interventions, and ensuring that efforts to increase incomes and jobs are not left out of the equation. The conversation was held over two panel discussions, one hosted by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The federal government established the goal of ending family, youth and child homelessness in the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and Homelessness, Opening Doors. In June 2012, USICH launched a new framework for ending youth homelessness to establish a more concrete roadmap for meeting this goal.

Also in attendance were House Financial Services Chair Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Congressional Caucus on Homelessness Co-Chair Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

Click here for a bio for Cirillo and the other winners.

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  1. Frank we are very proud of you. Your award is a reminder to us that we can, we must and we will end homelessness. Congratulations!