Homelessness Is Solvable if We Have the Political Will

USICH Coordinates 23 Programs and 9 Federal Agencies to Fight Homelessness

The Urban Institute has posted a useful digital feature, Homelessness is a Solvable Problem.

The digital feature highlights progress on ending homelessness and the good work of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which the Trump Administration has proposed to terminate for fiscal year 2018.

On any given night, almost 550,000 people, including parents, kids and veterans, are homeless.

USICH released its Opening Doors plan to end homelessness in 2010. Opening Doors is the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness by the end of 2020.

Ending homelessness is a community does not mean that no one new will experience homelessness. What it does mean is that homelessness is happening rarely. And that when people become homeless, their homelessness is short in time and they are able to become re-housed immediately.

We strongly support the Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 Reintroduced by Representative Waters that would build on the success and ensure we finish the job.

“Progress has been mixed—some communities have ended veteran homelessness, while others still struggle—but it’s clear that ending homelessness is only achievable if resources are committed to evidence-based programs.”

Homelessness is a solvable but complicated problem.

  • USICH coordinates 23 programs in 9 federal agencies whose funding touches the social issue of homelessness.
  • Many of these agencies send money to combat homelessness at the local level.
  • Their work to end homelessness needs to be coordinated to ensure that their combined $5 billion in funding is working effectively.
  • The USICH does this with only a $3.5 million budget.

The Urban Institute endorses and supports the work of USICH.

“That’s where USICH and Opening Doors come in … Though it has taken different forms, USICH has been reauthorized under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Currently, with a staff of about 20 people and a budget of just $3.5 million, USICH coordinates work across several agencies, such as the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs (VA), and—through regional coordinators around the country—is a liaison between the federal government and people doing work on the ground. The Urban Institute recently conducted interviews with federal and local stakeholders who described the critical role of USICH in efforts to end and prevent homelessness.”

“Ben Carson has said he plans to build on USICH’s progress, but questions abound as to whether USICH, HUD, and other agencies that work to end homelessness will have the money to continue their progress. It’s critical that they do. Homelessness can only be solved through continued investment in strategies that work for veterans, the chronically homeless, and children and families.”

Homelessness is a Solvable Problem

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