The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is in the process of creating a new Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.
We plan to publish it in 2022. Before that, we have a lot of work to do.
The first and most important part of our process has been listening. We spent hundreds of hours collecting feedback—online and in listening sessions. We received more than 1,500 comments online and conducted close to 100 listening sessions with people who represent nearly every state and groups that represent a wide range of perspectives. Our listening sessions have included: people experiencing or who previously experienced homelessness, Continuums of Care, leaders in racial equity, criminal justice, and health care; advocates for LGBTQ, youth, and people with disabilities; state, city, county, and tribal officials; Regional and State Interagency Councils on Homelessness, and so many more. Click here to read some of the key themes and common solutions we heard from you.
Our official public comment period closed in November, but our regional coordinators are always open for more feedback.
We're grateful to everyone who takes the time to share their thoughts, perspectives, and expertise because we know that the answers don't come from Washington, D.C.—they come from state and local leaders showing us the way. Not everyone agrees about the solutions, but we all recognize the problems and have the same goal: to prevent and end homelessness by providing people with safe and affordable housing, and the support needed to sustain that housing.
Now, we have the exciting but challenging job of turning your feedback into a roadmap for the federal government and communities across America.
To do that, we’re working closely with our council leaders; the 19 federal agencies that make up our council members; the White House; and national, state, and local stakeholders that play a role in homelessness and housing.
There are many unknowns about the next federal strategic plan, but a few things are clear: It will reflect USICH’s core values of racial equity, Housing First, decriminalization, and inclusion; and it will help maximize the American Rescue Plan, which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to significantly reduce homelessness in some communities and end it in others.
USICH launched the first Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in 2010. Since then, homelessness dropped nearly 10% overall, 50% among veterans, and 30% among families.
Our efforts prove that we can set big goals and make major progress on them. For example, using the federal criteria and benchmarks that USICH and our 19 member agencies created, more than 80 communities and three states built the strong systems needed to end veteran homelessness. Now, they’re prepared to prevent a housing crisis—and if it can’t be prevented, to ensure that veteran homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.
Unfortunately, progress stalled in the last few years.
Since 2016, homelessness has been rising, and other troubling trends have emerged. Last year, for the first time since the U.S. started collecting this data, more individuals experiencing homelessness were living on the streets and in cars than in shelters or other temporary housing; and, there was an increase in the number of unsheltered families with children.
We strive to not only get back the progress we previously made but get significantly closer to our goal.
Together, we can end homelessness.