Laura Zeilinger Driving Toward Zero

USICH’s Director on Ingredients for
Success in Ending Chronic Homelessness.

Laura Zeilinger Driving Toward ZeroOn March 18, 2014, Laura Zeilinger, the new Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness gave keynote remarks to an audience gathered in Hartford, Connecticut for the forum, “Driving Toward Zero: Ingredients for Success in Ending Chronic Homelessness.”

Zeilinger, who took on her new leadership role about two weeks ago, gave an overview of the President’s FY 2015 budget and the importance of interventions that have proven to be best practices in ending chronic homelessness.

Zeilinger began her remarks by saying, “Everybody deserves a place to put their head down at night.”

The President’s FY 2015 budget proposal fully funds Opening Doors – the national plan to prevent and end homelessness. It is critical that this funding be used on interventions that we know work to prevent and end homelessness.

Zeilinger stressed the importance of data saying that we “can not solve a problem that we can not see.” She emphasized the need for coordinated entry systems that “connect people with what they need in a person centered way.” Said Zeilinger, we “don’t want people in crisis to have to navigate multiple doors on their own.”

Across the country, communities implementing Housing First are making the greatest progress in decreasing homelessness. She highlighted the great progress being made in Phoenix and New Orleans.

Another key to ending chronic homelessness is connecting people to mainstream benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid and any other available resources. Said Zeilinger, “Nobody actually chooses homelessness when they have other viable options to meet their needs.”

The forum was sponsored by the Partnership for Strong Communities, a statewide nonprofit policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ending homelessness, expanding the creation of affordable housing, and building strong communities in Connecticut.

Click here for Zeilinger’s bio.