Aligning Efforts to End Chronic Homelessness and Implement Olmstead

USICH Offers Guidance

USICHThe U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has released new guidance on how states and local communities can better align their efforts and strategies for ending chronic homelessness and for complying with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which held that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits unjustified segregation of individuals with disabilities.

The guidance notes that these two efforts often attempt to expand housing opportunities and community supports for populations that overlap. However, states and local communities often focus on one issue and not the other, leading to:

“inconsistent policies, funding requirements, and program strategies, as well as competition for resources, political support, and policy attention. . . . States and communities can more effectively assist individuals with disabilities by approaching these efforts through a unified strategy, guided by a single vision of expanding housing and services (e.g., permanent supportive housing) to support community living.”

To help better align efforts, USICH suggests a number of strategies that should be included in community action plans:

  • Engage in interagency efforts and collaborative planning, including meetings, trainings, and shared strategies and protocols;
  • Develop a plan for housing and supports, including the resources needed to serve people with disabilities;
  • Increase housing resources, both private and public, and coordinate investments;
  • Design and implement services and supports that use Medicaid and behavioral health resources;
  • Remove barriers and streamline access to housing and services through coordinated entry systems;
  • Build community-based provider competency capacity to help address diverse housing and service needs; and
  • Develop a shared understanding of what constitutes quality supportive housing in an integrated setting.

USICH Guidance

Olmstead and New Jersey