United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
PHAs and Ending Homelessness
August 2011
Public Housing Agencies: Key Partners in Preventing and Ending Homelessness
USICH Housing Policy Director Kristy Greenwalt on the Role of PHAs

King County Pacfic CourtOpening Doors represents a dramatic shift in the federal government's approach to homelessness in this country. It's based in part on the recognition that solving homelessness requires that people access the mainstream resources available to them - including income supports, health insurance, and housing assistance - both efficiently and sufficiently to meet their needs. Targeted homeless assistance programs always have been and likely always will be a significant part of the solution - but they are not the entire solution.


As communities across the country are certainly all too well aware, HUD McKinney-Vento resources are largely tied up in renewals of existing programs, limiting the ability to create new units and new housing opportunities. A comparison of communities' Housing Inventory Charts (HIC) with their Point in Time (PIT) figures confirms that significant unmet need remains. While Continuums of Care will need to continue to find ways to improve the performance and efficiency of existing programs, we must, at the same time, identify ways to increase the country's permanent supportive housing pipeline and improve targeting of housing subsidies. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) are central to this effort.


-  Read more online including 5 actions PHAs can take in the next year    


USICH will host a webinar on this topic with presentations from several PHA directors and a Q and A session on August 11th at 2pm EDT.   


Register for the webinar 

Advice from Experts in the Field 

Three Public Housing Leaders Talk about Successful Programs, Planning, and Partnerships

DC VASH Veteran with keys to new house

USICH interviewed three PHA leaders about what it takes to build a successful program that effectively targets and maintains housing stability for people at-risk of or experiencing homelessness. Charles Hillman, President and CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, spoke with us about Columbus' programs and the importance of collaborating with the community. Stephen Norman, Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority, gave a detailed overview of three successful projects that could be replicated by other communities. Adrianne Todman, Executive Director of the Washington, DC Housing Authority, discussed how systems change, new partnerships, and using the right tools improved outcomes for their local Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program.


Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority: A Commitment to Supportive Housing  


King County Washington: A Portfolio of Programs to Assist Households with Special Needs  


Washington DC: Improving VASH Outcomes 

Second Chances Following Incarceration  

HUD Secretary Issues Letter to PHAs Encouraging More Flexible Admissions Policies 

Last month, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan wrote a letter to PHA directors across the country to clarify HUD policy related to criminal history and to encourage more flexible, reasonable admissions policies for people re-entering communities following incarceration.


Learn more and read the letter

News from our Federal Partners

Department of Transportation


New Transportation Initiative for Veterans and their Families 


Last week the Federal Transit Administration launched a new initiative, the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, that will help ensure that Veterans and their families can find needed transportation services. Roughly 4 in 10 Veterans-including younger Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans-live in rural areas where affordable transportation options are often limited, and where it's necessary to travel great distances to receive medical care, reach employment centers, and access other services to which they are entitled. This initiative will help create, expand, or upgrade many centers across the country that are designed to provide easy access to transportation services for Veterans and their families.


Learn more about this intiative 


Register for a webinar about the initiative that takes place August 4 from 12:30 to 2:00pm EDT 


VA LogoDepartment of Veterans Affairs 


New Prevention Initiative to Serve 22,000 Veteran Families At Risk of Homelessness 


Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the award of nearly $60 million in homeless prevention grants that will serve Veteran families that are at-risk or experiencing homelessness as part of the new Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. This initial award will serve Veteran families at 85 non-profit community agencies in 40 states and the District of Columbia under VA's new homeless prevention initiative and will reach approximately 22,000 Veteran families.


See the list of award recipients and details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program 


Department of Housing and Urban   HUD LogoDevelopment   


Reminder for HPRP Grantees on 2-Year, 60% Expenditure Requirement


HUD would like to remind all HPRP grantees that they are required to spend 60% of their HPRP funds within 2 years from the date that HUD signed the grant agreement. HUD recommends that grantees check their HUD signature date on their grant agreement to plan accordingly to meet this requirement.   


Read HUD's detailed status report on HPRP Grantee Expenditures and ensure your program is on track. 


If you are a HUD grantee that does not meet the 2 year deadline, please continue your HPRP program. Do not stop serving program participants. HUD will contact grantees and determine next steps.     

For more technical assistance documents to assist in considering options on expending funds, visit the Homelessness Resource Exchange. Or, contact HUD via the Virtual Help Desk.


News from the White House 
White House Unveils Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative  


In July, the White House rolled out the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative (SC2). SC2 is a new interagency pilot initiative that aims to strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions around the country by strengthening the capacity of local governments to develop and execute their economic vision and strategies. Strong Cities, Strong Communities bolsters local governments by providing necessary technical assistance and access to federal agency expertise, and creating new public and private sector partnerships. By leveraging existing assets, providing new resources, and fostering new connections at the local and national level, SC2 will support towns and cities as they develop comprehensive plans for their communities and invest in economic growth and job creation.


-   Read more from the White House blog  


Two New Pilot Programs will Help Low-Income Renting Families   


Last week, the White House's Domestic Policy Council announced the launch of two Federal alignment pilots' in a total of ten states to better serve low-income families that rent, while reducing regulatory burden on affordable housing developers and owners. At a Rental Alignment Conference at the White House, federal, state, local, and private-sector stakeholders will kick-off these pilots and will discuss progress being made on a number of other administrative solutions to better align and utilize affordable rental housing programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Treasury. 


-  Read the full press release 


Table of Contents
USICH Perspective: PHAs as Partners in Ending Homelessness
Advice from Experts: Three PHA Heads Share Lessons Learned
Second Chances: Secretary Donovan Issues Letter to PHAs on Flexibility for the Previously Incarcerated
News Updates from HUD, Transportation, and VA
New USICH Recource: Technical Assistance Portal
New USICH Resource: Technical Assistance Portal

A number of federal agencies provide various types of technical assistance (TA) related to their targeted and mainstream programs. The TA portal provides summary information on this assistance organized according to Opening Doors plan objective.  Each listing explains what type of assistance is offered and provides contact information or a link to a relevant website to find out more.


-  Visit the portal now 

Upcoming Events

USICH Webinar: The Role of PHAs in Ending Homelessness


August 11th

2:00-3:15pm EDT 


-  Register now  



HUD HMIS System Administrators Training Webinar Module 3: In-Depth Review of the HMIS Data and Technical Standards

August 12th
3:00-4:30pm EDT


- Learn more and apply  



Check Out More Upcoming Events on our Online Calendar  




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