Council Convenes and Appoints ED’s Jason Botel as Vice-Chair
On April 26, the 19 federal member agencies of the Council came together to review the Council’s progress in FY 2017, and discuss the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness that the Council is in the process of developing.
Jason Botel Accepts Council Vice-Chair Nomination
At the outset of the meeting, the Council approved the nomination of Jason Botel, Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the Department of Education, as Council Vice-Chair for 2018.
Prior to coming to ED, Acting Assistant Secretary Botel served as Executive Director of MarylandCAN, an organization that advocates for policies that ensure that all children in Maryland receive a high-quality education. Botel started his career teaching at Booker T. Washington Middle School in West Baltimore as a Teach For America corps member and went on to serve as founding principal and executive director of the public charter school KIPP Baltimore.
“It’s an honor to serve as vice-chair of the Council,” Botel said. “From our perspective at the Department of Education, it’s a great moment to be here, as we have new levers at our disposal to track and provide services for families and students experiencing homelessness through the Every Student Succeeds Act.”
Reviewing Progress in FY 2017
Matthew Doherty, our Executive Director, provided the Council with a report on progress against key milestones and measures in Fiscal Year 2017. Matthew reported that, over the course of the year, Council agencies took substantial action toward achieving the milestones they had prioritized, and also described some of the many critical activities that interagency working groups and agencies are taking to support states and communities to achieve greater progress.
Despite significant interagency efforts, however, Matthew pointed out that some important measures of the scale of homelessness nationally are trending in the wrong direction, and will require significant attention from the Council in FY 2018 and beyond. For example, Council agencies are developing strategies to support communities most severely affected by the affordable housing crisis and unsheltered homelessness.
Discussing the Development of Updated Federal Strategic Plan
For the past nine months, USICH has been engaged in an intensive process to revise and strengthen the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, including stakeholder input sessions, feedback through a web-based portal, discussions with national partners, and planning conversations with our member agencies and interagency working groups. This input is informing the development of an updated Plan.
The Council discussed the objectives in the Plan, which will be critical to tackling the major challenges that we face and to driving greater progress. Council members also reviewed and discussed proposed strategies that federal partners will use to support the ability of states and communities to achieve our shared goal of making homelessness a rare, brief, and one-time experience. The Council committed to continuing to finalize the Plan, together, in preparation for public release.
Council Chair Neal Rackleff, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, closed the meeting reflecting on the substantial impact that the Council has had to date, and the opportunity for continued collaboration among Council agencies to support states and communities across the country.