USICH Outlines Commitment to Racial Equity at NCHV Conference

June 24, 2021
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On June 23, USICH Interim Executive Director Anthony Love addressed the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans' annual conference. Read his remarks below:

“Hello. I am Anthony Love, interim executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, better known to a number of you as USICH.

First, I would like to thank Kathryn and the remarkable team at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) for this opportunity to speak today and for the incredible work they do every day to prevent and end homelessness among veterans. Also, thanks to all of you viewing and listening today, for your efforts and commitment around this critical mission.

I will talk to you briefly about who we are, and hopefully reassure you that we are committed to ending homelessness by promoting evidence-based approaches and centering racial equity to end homelessness once and for all.

USICH operates within the executive branch to coordinate and catalyze the federal response to homelessness. We are the only federal agency whose sole mission is focused on ending homelessness, and despite all the things that happened over the past couple of years, I just want you to know that the agency is back to focusing on the mission and work of ending homelessness. We will do this by partnering, coordinating, and promoting the implementation of evidence-based practices, and centering racial equity in the federal plan to end homelessness.

The Biden administration believes in the evidence behind Housing First and strives for a day when housing is treated as a right and not a privilege. It is directed by the belief that people deserve basic necessities without question and guided by the data that shows this is an effective strategy for helping people address other problems that contribute to homelessness.

Additionally, USICH understands and believes that by working to create structured and resourced partnerships between and among federal agencies is not only smart, but necessary. Also, we recognize that by working with cities and states through our exceptional and capable regional team – who assist communities to use federal resources so that plans and actions are consistent with data, research, and local needs – we will set the stage to ensure that all homelessness consistently decreases.

Moreover, years of data indicates that homelessness is disproportionately high among Black, Indigenous, Alaska native, Pacific Islander, and Latinx people. Of course, these disparities look different across the many communities and populations being served; therefore, homeless service systems must examine all policies, priorities, and strategies that are implemented using a racial equities 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.

USICH is committed to prioritizing and furthering our position as a federal leader in equity-focused approaches to preventing and ending homelessness and championing such approaches across our spheres of influence. We will abide by the commitments made in President Biden's Executive Order to advance racial equity and support underserved communities.

This includes USICH supporting communities in centering strategies that advance racial equity in their efforts to end homelessness locally. We will also contribute to, advise, and learn from national stakeholders like NCHV and our federal partners at VA [the Department of Veterans Affairs] who are committed to rooting out racial inequity and putting policies in place to ensure all veterans have equitable access to services and equitable outcomes that end their homelessness.

We will contribute to policy guidance on racial equity work through collaboration with our federal and national partners. And as we consider the development of a federal strategic plan, we will ensure that this plan centers equity by consulting with national, federal, state, and local partners and people with lived expertise.

This is far from an exhaustive list of the work we have ahead.

We are committed to ending homelessness and know that we will not end homelessness without addressing racial inequity. Under this administration, USICH will address disparities and elevate evidence-based policy solutions to help all underserved communities that are over-represented within the homelessness services system. I look forward to working with you.

Thank you.”

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