These remarks were delivered by USICH Interim Executive Director Anthony Love at the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ “Ending Homelessness: A Virtual Conference” on March 8-10, 2021. His remarks were edited slightly for print.
I am Anthony Love, Interim Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness—better known to many of you as USICH.
First, I would like to thank Nan and the remarkable team at The National Alliance to End Homelessness for this opportunity to speak today, and for the incredible work they do every day to prevent and end homelessness in the United States. I would also like to thank the team at USICH and all of you, for your efforts and commitment around this critical mission.
Let me start my remarks by saying that the mission and purpose of USICH is to coordinate and catalyze the federal response to homelessness, working in close partnership with and across our 19 federal member agencies and with national, state, and local partners and stakeholders. USICH will fulfill this mission by supporting and encouraging the implementation of evidence-based practices which include Housing First strategies. The Biden-Harris Administration has been clear on their priority on ensuring that the necessities of life, including having a place to live, are expediently and adequately met.
In case there are questions, this Administration is committed to a Housing First approach to ending homelessness.
Additionally, USICH understands and believes that working to create structured, resourced partnerships between and among federal agencies is not only smart but necessary. We also recognize that by working with cities and states through our exceptional and capable regional team, who assist communities to use federal resources in the most effective and efficient way, we can ensure that our plans and actions are consistent with data, research, and local needs, setting the stage to ensure that homelessness consistently declines.
Moreover, years of data indicates that homelessness is disproportionately high among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Of course, these disparities look different across the many communities and populations being served; therefore, homelessness services systems must examine all policies, priorities, and strategies using a racial equity lens and ensure racial inequities do not continue. The Administration believes that we must focus on policy solutions at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as within homelessness services systems, in ways that address structural racism and actively dismantle disparities.
I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge and recognize the extraordinary efforts that you in the field have put forth to help those women, men, and children who are homeless during this pandemic. Thank you for your commitment, your compassion, and the care that you have given to those individuals and families who are struggling with the dual crises of homelessness and the Coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than half a million Americans.
So, I want to say thank you and acknowledge the incredible work being done by Continuums of Care and homeless services organizations across the country—from engaging with your public health authorities, local VA medical centers’ homeless staff, and building other health care partnerships, to creating non-congregate shelters and isolation facilities at hotels and motels, to increasing homeless outreach—all in the name of helping those individuals and families who need us now more than ever.
I want to encourage you to keep up the good work, and to continue to prioritize linking individuals and families to permanent housing as a solution not only to ending their homelessness, but also providing a safe refuge from the virus plaguing our country.
Thank you again for your dedication and tireless work to make a real difference in people’s lives. I am thrilled to speak with you and look forward to working with you to advance the Biden-Harris agenda for ending homelessness.