Opening Doors Works

In 2014 Lets Build on Our Success

HUD Secretary Shaun DonovanIn an end of the year message in Politico, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, spoke about the success of Opening Doors, national strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

Secretary Donovan highlights the success of Opening Doors:

Since we launched Opening Doors in 2010, chronic homelessness has dropped 16 percent; homelessness among families has declined 8 percent; and homelessness among veterans fell an incredible 24 percent.

Not only is the program successful, it’s a great example of cooperation. In this age of budget austerity, 19 different federal agencies are collaborating like never before to use innovative and effective tools to help the most vulnerable in society–and they are working.

One area that has received bipartisan support is the HUD-VASH program, which was revived in 2008. In recent budgets, Congress has appropriated $75 million for HUD-VASH vouchers, as President Obama requested. This funding has allowed HUD to award 48,385 housing vouchers to veterans since 2008.

One of the programs highlighted by Donovan.

We fully agree that HUD-VASH has worked. Why can’t we have HUD-VASH for everyone who is homeless not just veterans? It is a best practice that works and could prevent and end homelessness!

As they meet over the coming months, lawmakers should prioritize funding these programs at the levels President Obama has requested. We shouldn’t be cutting the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society—especially not when we know this is the right thing to do not just for the lives it will save, but for our economy too.

We have right programs. We have the right plan. Now we need the political will from Congress to get this done.

Donovan concludes with a reminder of the importance of advocacy to ensure we have the political will to prevent and end homelessness. Now is a good time to let NJ’s delegation know that with their help we have a plan to prevent and end homelessness.

Congressional Housing Staffers

Click here to read Secretary Donovan’s full article.