Summer Council Meeting Reviews Federal Progress on COVID Response Among People Experiencing Homelessness
This year’s summer Council meeting took place on June 16 via conference call due to the ongoing restrictions placed on in-person gatherings as a result of COVID-19.
Federal COVID-19 Efforts
Council Vice Chair Arne Owens, deputy assistant secretary for Disability, Aging, and Long-term Care Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opened the meeting with a discussion of HHS’ ongoing efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including funding and guidance delivered across many of HHS’ agencies. Much of that guidance can be found on USICH’s COVID-19 webpage. Robert Marbut, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, also briefed Council members on the work of the COVID-19 Homelessness Federal Interagency Working Group, concluding that specific CDC protocols for homelessness services providers have been instrumental for the field to understand how best to contain the spread of the virus.
Federal Data Summary: Education for Homeless Children and Youth
Immediate past Chair Frank Brogan, assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, briefed the Council on key highlights from the January 2020 report of the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Federal Data Summary (SYs 2015-2018). Over that time period, homelessness among public school students increased by 15%, with natural disasters playing a significant role in the increase, Assistant Secretary Brogan said.
Strategic Planning Process
Council Chair John Pallasch, assistant secretary for the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, reported that efforts to draft a new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness are well underway. USICH is facilitating a series of input sessions, and a public input portal is also available at www.usich.gov/public-input through July 11. Drafting of the new plan will begin in the next few weeks, Assistant Secretary Pallasch said.