Driving Progress in the Year Ahead: Our Top Priorities for 2019

February 27, 2019

Home, Together , the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, provides a roadmap of objectives and strategies that we are pursuing over the next four years to help ensure that, in every community, homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.

During 2019, the team at USICH and our federal partners will be implementing activities across the full range of strategies in Home, Together , and will be especially focused on several overarching priorities that are foundational to our future success and that reflect priorities identified by our state and local partners:

  • Identifying and implementing strategies to better align affordable housing with efforts to end homelessness
  • Supporting communities to test and scale the strongest practices for addressing unsheltered homelessness while retaining focus on permanent housing outcomes
  • Strengthening skills and capacity to center racial equity across efforts to prevent and end homelessness, both within USICH and in communities
  • Strengthening connections and coordination between homelessness services systems and workforce systems and employment opportunities
  • Supporting increased access to and retention within high-quality education programs, including quality child care and early childhood education through elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education
  • Expanding our efforts to partner with and learn from the expertise of people with current and past lived experiences of homelessness
Population-Specific Priorities

As we implement our population-specific work this year, we’re prioritizing progress and impact within the following activities:

Ending Homelessness Among Families with Children

  • Completing the piloting of the criteria and benchmarks for ending family homelessness
  • Disseminating lessons and promising approaches identified through the pilots, including strengthening partnerships between educational systems and homelessness crisis response systems
  • Creating awareness of promising approaches to prevention
  • Promoting strengthened rapid re-housing practices, especially in challenging housing markets

Ending Youth Homelessness

  • Completing the piloting of the criteria and benchmarks for ending youth homelessness
  • Disseminating lessons and promising approaches identified through the pilots, including how best to serve the needs of youth of color and youth who identify as LGBTQ
  • Supporting communities participating in demonstration and challenge projects to expand the evidence base of strong and innovative practices
  • Working with stakeholders to identify federal policy options to better address the full range of needs of youth experiencing homelessness identified through research and data reports

Ending Veteran Homelessness

  • Sustaining and increasing momentum, including through continued confirmation of communities’ success and lifting up communities’ strategies for sustaining their success
  • Advancing and strengthening diversion and rapid re-housing practices for Veterans, and applying those lessons to strengthening such interventions for all populations
  • Strengthening the implementation of HUD-VASH and other federal programs for Veterans within high-cost housing markets
  • Supporting the continued transformation of the Grant and Per Diem program and the implementation of new program models within the program

Ending Homelessness, Including Chronic Homelessness, Among Individual Adults

  • Increasing the availability and awareness of data and evidence regarding the individual adult population, including deeper understanding of unsheltered population’s characteristics and patterns of homelessness
  • Supporting communities to test and scale the strongest practices for addressing unsheltered homelessness
  • Building awareness of the criteria and benchmark for ending chronic homelessness and partnering with communities who are ready to have their progress assessed
  • Implementing opportunities to scale permanent supportive housing through expanded Section 811 resources and to support services through Medicaid-focused activities
Priorities for Strengthening Components of a Coordinated Community Response

We will also be pursuing activities that continue to strengthen crisis response systems and cross-sector partnerships, including:

Strengthening the Capacity of Communities to Implement Effective Crisis Response Systems

  • Describing and advancing the role of diversion within efficient crisis response systems
  • Promoting promising practices for the roles of law enforcement within local responses to homelessness
  • Promoting strengthened coordinated entry practices across entire systems and for specific subpopulations

Strengthening Connections to Mainstream Systems

  • Providing guidance and examples of how communities can better align affordable housing strategies and resources with efforts to prevent and end homelessness
  • Encouraging stronger partnerships, coordination, and integration of activities between mainstream systems and coordinated entry systems

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