In January 2023, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) hosted a webinar called “All In 101: Overview of the New Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.” Below are answers to questions we received during the webinar as well as others we receive on a regular basis.
To read All In, visit usich.gov/all-in. To watch the webinar and download the slides, click here.
How is the unsheltered initiative announced by the White House and USICH related to All In?
All In includes six pillars that represent what it will take to end homelessness. Across these pillars, there are nearly 30 strategies and 180 actions that the federal government will pursue to implement the plan. The pillar to “improve effectiveness of homelessness response systems” includes a strategy for an all-of-government effort to end unsheltered homelessness. As part of this strategy, the White House and USICH will soon launch an all-of-government initiative to improve and accelerate state and local efforts to get more people off streets and into homes in targeted cities and states. We will share more information about this unsheltered initiative as it becomes available.
How will USICH center lived experience?
All In includes 14 strategies related to how the federal government will center lived expertise. As we implement All In, USICH is proactively working to identify not only how to bring people with lived expertise to the policymaking table, but also to ensure that they are justly compensated. It is important to know also that our commitment to centering lived experience began with the development of the plan, which included a comprehensive public input process. Of the public comments USICH received, nearly one-third came from people with lived experience of homelessness. Their input informed our initial draft of the plan, which was then reviewed by paid consultants—including people with lived experience—who represent perspectives of people of color and other marginalized groups. The consultants’ substantive feedback was incorporated into the framing and strategies of the plan.
What is different about All In?
All In reflects lessons learned, including from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it builds upon the successes and strengths of previous USICH plans as well as the work of our partners at the federal, state, and local levels. All In recommits to scaling effective housing and wraparound supports and will do more than any previous federal plan to holistically implement strategies to prevent homelessness and combat the systemic racism that has created racial and ethnic disparities in homelessness.
All In set a goal for 2025. Does that mean it is only a two-year plan?
No. The 2025 goal represents a downpayment on our long-term vision to end homelessness in the U.S. We set an ambitious short-term goal to create momentum at all levels of government. The goal challenges federal, state, and local governments to effectively and efficiently administer, target, and deploy recent unprecedented resources, including the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, and to pursue the most ambitious strategies to make it happen. While some agency commitments, cross-government initiatives, and efforts are already underway, not all can be fully implemented or achieved in the short term. Some will require more time and coordination. Our hope is that All In shapes federal, state, and local approaches to homelessness well beyond 2025.
How will USICH know we are making progress toward the 25% goal and ending homelessness?
As a crucial part of All In’s implementation, USICH and member agencies will measure quantitative and qualitative data to track progress. A 25% reduction by 2025 would mean that fewer than 437,000 people would be experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2025. Although this goal will be assessed based on Point-in-Time Count data, we know that we must look at other data and metrics in order to measure overall system improvement that will lead to lasting and sustainable change. USICH intends to work with our federal partners, national partners, and other stakeholders to identify additional data sources and qualitative and quantitative metrics for measuring overall impact. For more on this topic, view the Framework for Implementation.
How will USICH report progress and be held accountable?
Implementation of the plan will be dynamic, results-driven, and transparent. USICH will publish an annual update to All In that will include progress toward the 25% reduction goal, plan adjustments, and implementation updates at the federal level and across the country. These updates will reflect evolving evidence, input, and lessons. All In also includes strategies to develop publicly available dashboards to report on actions we are taking and metrics we are tracking. Although currently we are often limited to the data we receive on an annual basis, we are working on receiving and reporting out more real-time data in new ways to help inform additional metrics and benchmarks for measuring progress nationally and locally. For more on this topic, view the Framework for Implementation.
How does All In address the criminalization of homelessness?
All In builds on USICH’s 2022 “7 Principles for Addressing Encampments,” which was developed to help communities address unsheltered homelessness with a response guided by public health—not law enforcement. The plan calls out the trauma and harm that occurs as a result of laws and ordinances that criminalize homelessness. All In includes strategies to strengthen local efforts to address encampments, launch a coordinated messaging campaign to challenge harmful public narratives, promote alternatives to criminalization, and provide incentives to state, local, and territorial governments to adopt such alternatives. The plan also calls on USICH’s federal partners that own federal land to promote strong collaboration with local organizations in response to encampments that form on their property.
What type of technical assistance related to All In will be offered to communities?
USICH’s National Initiatives Team creates national partnership at every level of government and with the private sector while maximizing the effectiveness of the federal government. The team’s Senior Regional Advisors work directly with communities to implement best practices and share knowledge. To learn more about technical assistance for your community, contact the senior regional advisor who covers your state. All In includes many strategies—across each pillar—to develop and share technical assistance, guidance, and resources.
Are there resources associated with All In?
The plan seeks to maximize existing funding, and USICH will provide ongoing guidance to communities about ways to leverage local and state resources in alignment with All In. The plan serves as a roadmap for strategies and policy levers that should inform the federal budget process and federal funding opportunities moving forward.
How does All In account for the needs of subpopulations, both those named and unnamed in the plan?
All In acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to homelessness and that strategies need to be tailored to be culturally appropriate and relevant for different subpopulations and geographic areas. Furthermore, individuals and families facing multiple barriers often require special consideration and targeted resources. This plan also acknowledges the overlapping and interdependent nature of social categorizations through recognizing that the needs of people experiencing homelessness vary based on factors like age, location, disability, race and ethnicity.
How will All In meet the needs of rural communities?
Several specific strategies call for an emphasis on rural communities when it comes to the provision of services to older adults and people with disabilities, as well as the need for more robust data on individuals and families residing in rural areas or tribal lands. The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $315 million in first-of-their-kind grants to address unsheltered and rural homelessness. As part of All In’s implementation, USICH will further coordinate closely with the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Partners Network.
How does All In meet the needs of people living with substance use disorders and mental health conditions?
All In aligns with and builds on the Biden-Harris administration’s existing work to transform social service systems—including the National Mental Health and National Drug Control strategies. To ensure that all people experiencing homelessness with mental health conditions and/or with substance use disorders can access vital resources, All In includes seven explicit strategies related to these challenges, as well as many more indirect strategies, such as scaling the ability for peer specialists to provide assistance.
How will All In address localities that do not follow best practices?
All In creates a vision and a roadmap for local entities to measure themselves against and assess whether they are implementing strategies aligned with the plan. All In can be leveraged by local partners and used as an educational opportunity to encourage all entities to pursue evidence-based practices. Our team will continue to provide technical assistance and to engage with communities across the nation to ensure effective, efficient, and humane local responses to homelessness. To learn more about or implement best practices, contact the senior regional advisor who covers your state.
Does All In use a Housing First approach?
Yes. All In supports and promotes the Housing First approach. The plan recognizes the need to increase both housing and supports in order to bring Housing First to scale with fidelity to the model. Strategies throughout the plan focus on reducing barriers and promoting programming and practices that fall within the Housing First approach, such as harm reduction. The plan also recognizes that Housing First does not mean housing only, and that people need ready access to robust wrap-around supports based on individual choice.
How will All In address housing unaffordability, evictions, and other housing barriers?
All In addresses not only barriers to housing, but also barriers to service, employment, and education. For example, All In calls for agencies to “remove and reduce programmatic, regulatory, and other barriers that systematically delay or deny access to housing for households with the highest needs.” To truly bring Housing First to scale for all populations, communities need access to housing and wraparound support that can be offered to implement this approach with fidelity to the model. The All In strategies to “scale housing and supports that meet demand” focus on increasing the supply of and equitable access to affordable housing and tailored support for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The strategies and actions align with the Biden-Harris administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan and address barriers to housing in several ways: maximizing the use of existing federal housing assistance; expanding engagement, resources, and incentives for the creation of new safe, affordable, and accessible housing; and supporting the enforcement of fair housing and combat other forms of housing discrimination that perpetuate disparities in homelessness.
What do we mean by “cultural barriers”?
Cultural barriers can include language inaccessibility, misunderstood cultural norms and values, and implicit bias. “Low-barrier,” culturally appropriate, readily available, and accessible supportive services—including treatment for mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders—often are not available or funded at a level to meet the need. All In seeks to promote culturally specific and appropriate programming and policy that responds to the cultural and linguistic needs of the community being served, as defined by the community and demonstrated through needs assessment, activities, capacity development efforts, policy, strategy and prevention practice implementation, program implementation, evaluation, quality improvement and sustainability activities.
How will we implement targeted universalism?
USICH recognizes that tailored solutions are needed for specific populations and geographic areas, and that individuals and families experiencing multiple barriers often require special consideration and resources. As USICH and member agencies implement All In, we will work with a broad range of partners to adopt a “targeted universalism” framework that promotes a universal reduction goal with targeted and tailored solutions based on the structures, cultures, and geographies of certain groups to help them overcome unique barriers. USICH also recognizes that the federal government will need to rely on the people most impacted by the policies and strategies promoted in this plan to design tailored actions and guidance.
How can the regional interagency councils on homelessness help promote and implement All In? What does All In mean for states, regions, and localities?
All In serves as a roadmap for federal action to ensure state and local communities have sufficient resources and guidance to build the effective, lasting systems required to end homelessness. While All In is a federal plan, local communities can use the strategies collaboratively to develop local, regional, and state plans. Regional interagency councils should work with USICH Senior Regional Advisors to use All In to support local efforts, tailor strategies and actions to local needs, and set community-level reduction targets.
How will All In address the needs of the homeless services workforce?
All In recognizes the need to address the severe burdens placed on the homelessness services workforce. All In includes a variety of strategies to expand the pipeline of providers. One such strategy is to “develop and implement strategies to support organizations that receive federal funding to maintain and increase staff capacity, reduce burnout, increase compensation to a living wage, and promote the well-being of staff.”
How can organizations best connect with USICH?
There are many ways to connect with our work and our team. All are invited to subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter. For questions related to your community, reach out to the senior regional advisor who covers your state. To invite USICH to speak at an event, fill out our event request form. For media and messaging matters, contact Communications Manager Caroline Cournoyer at firstname.lastname@example.org. To connect with other members of our team, visit the staff page.
How does All In address the needs of people at risk of homelessness?
One of All In’s six pillars is dedicated to preventing homelessness. All In seeks to reduce housing instability for households most at risk of experiencing homelessness by increasing the availability of and access to meaningful and sustainable employment, education, and other mainstream services, opportunities, and resources. All In focuses on reducing housing instability among the following groups: people currently or previously involved in publicly funded institutional systems, such as foster care or criminal justice; older adults and people with disabilities; Veterans and service members transitioning to civilian life; American Indians and Alaska Natives; youth and young adults; and survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence. The plan also includes many strategies focused on scaling up the housing and supports needed to ensure people can remain in housing. If successfully implemented, these strategies will also prevent homelessness.