USICH Increases Awareness, Improves Coordination and Ensure Capacity
Pam Kestner, Commonwealth of Virginia and Laura Zeilinger, District of Columbia
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) met in December to review the nation’s progress toward ending family homelessness and to recommend new strategies to achieve the goals set forth in the Obama administration’s strategic plan on ending homelessness called Opening Doors.
The strategies proposed build on USICH’s 2013 report that lays out the Administration’s vision for a coordinated community response to family homelessness.
USICH will focus its efforts on better coordinating homeless services systems with mainstream programs, such as early childhood, education, and welfare programs, to meet the broad array of housing and service needs of families experiencing homelessness.
To reach the goal of ending family homelessness, USICH and its member agencies have agreed to:
Increase mainstream programs’ awareness and understanding of families experiencing homelessness,
Provide federal guidance and technical assistance to improve coordination between homelessness assistance and mainstream programs, and
Ensure local communities have the capacity to provide the appropriate level of services tailored to meet the specific needs of families.
USICH is composed of the heads of 19 federal agencies. The current chair is Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.