Calling for Your Voices: Strengthening the Federal Strategic Plan through Confronting and Addressing Inequity

August 18, 2017

The current federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness built upon strategies and actions taken across multiple administrations. The original plan and its amendments also reflected your expertise, your recommendations, and your lived experiences, gathered through conversations in communities, listening sessions at national events, and on-line opportunities.

It's time again for us to revise and strengthen the federal plan. As we begin, we know we have a lot of work to do to drive greater progress, including a profound and urgent need to end racial inequities and other disparities in the risks and experiences of homelessness in our country.

We're turning to you again for your insights and expertise. We've just launched a page on our website where you can give us your recommendations for revising the plan and for tackling the hard work ahead of us. In the months ahead, we'll also be hosting in-person input sessions in many communities across the country. Within these processes, we are committed to discussing these issues and to bringing forward and listening to the voices of people who have experienced homelessness and people directly engaged in the delivery of housing and services.

In my remarks at this year's National Conference on Ending Homelessness , I spoke about the essential values and truths that have helped to drive the progress we've been seeing and that we must remain focused on. For the team at USICH, that includes staying focused on the truths about the systemic inequities that cause stark and unacceptable disparities in people's experiences of and risks for homelessness.

We are committed to doing more to understand and to take actions to address how biases and prejudices, overt discrimination, systemic and institutional racism, and many other related and intersectional forces impact our responses to homelessness and collectively help cause and create homelessness in our country.

For example:

  • We know that African-Americans and Native Americans are at much higher risk of homelessness and that we must do much more to address the causes head-on. We must confront racism within ourselves and within our communities, we must diversify representation in leadership and staffing, and we must address the inequities and failures within public systems that can feed into and perpetuate homelessness.
  • We also know that LGBTQ youth are also at much higher risk of homelessness. We must continue to tailor and target our strategies for these young people, and we must ensure that LGBTQ people can find support no matter where they live or to whom they turn for assistance.

But we also know that we've not done nearly enough to act on this knowledge to date - and that we must do much, much more moving forward. And we know that we can strengthen the federal plan, and increase its impact, through bringing a much greater focus on actions that address such inequities.

We want to learn about the work you are doing in your communities to address these and other issues, and what federal agencies can do to support more action and to help drive greater progress toward ending homelessness. Please share your input, ideas, and recommendations with us.

Thank you in advance for your guidance, your wisdom, and your continued partnership.

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