United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
Ending Chronic Homelessness
April 19, 2012
Council Meeting Chaired by Secretary Sebelius Focuses on Chronic Homelessness   

On April 5, 2012, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius convened her first meeting as Chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The meeting was hosted at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and focused on the national effort to end chronic homelessness by 2015. Secretary Sebelius was joined by Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary and Vice Chair of USICH Eric Shinseki, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and representatives from all 19 member agencies. The Council met to review progress and challenges towards meeting the goal of ending chronic homelessness.  

The Council received a briefing from USICH staff that analyzed data from HUD, VA, and the field to understand factors influencing the slowed decline in chronic homelessness and determine strategies to accelerate progress and achieve the 2015 goal. The Council also heard from three thought leaders in the field who presented their recommendations about important steps that are needed.

Research from many communities has shown that permanent supportive housing is a cost-effective solution for chronic homelessness. From its analysis, USICH believes that there are three key factors influencing the nation's progress on chronic homelessness: targeting, geographic distribution of resources, and the changing dynamics of chronic homelessness.  


- Learn more about USICH's analysis to the Council on chronic homelessness. 


Thought Leaders: What We Need to Accelerate Progress   

National experts on chronic homelessness share their perspective   


As part of the recent USICH meeting on chronic homelessness, USICH sought input from leaders in the field: Professor and Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work Dr. Dennis Culhane, President and CEO of the Corporation for Supportive Housing Deborah DeSantis, President of Community Solutions Roseanne Haggerty, and President and CEO of the Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. Stephen Somers.  


Each submitted a brief summarizing the leader's expertise on chronic homelessness, covering topics such as integration of housing and health care systems, research on the "cohort effect" of the chronically homeless population, community engagement strategies, and using Medicaid reforms to serve this population.  


- Read a summary of this work and each brief  


Health Care 911 Highlights Experience of Frequent Users   


Health Care 911 is a five-part series from the San Diego U-T that examines the problem of frequent users of emergency services that are experiencing chronic homelessness. The series covers national and local research and follows the experiences of emergency room physicians, emergency responders, and the men and women who are frequent users. Project 25, the Housing First campaign in San Diego, is featured as a potential solution to the problem. The series of articles and videos brings into clear focus the need for local community solutions that integrate health care and housing - an important step needed to end chronic homelessness as we know it.

- Go to article series

Successfully Serving those Experiencing Chronic Homelessness

USICH Profiles The AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Chicago Housing for Health Partnership (CHHP) and UNITY of Greater New Orleans' Supportive Housing Registry

USICH spoke with service providers and leaders about two key interventions that are successful at serving individuals experiencing chronic homelessness: integrating housing and health care services for frequent users, and implementing a community-wide supportive housing registry to successfully target resources.

Integrated Housing and Health Care Services

The Chicago Housing f or Health Partnership (CHHP) at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is a permanent, citywide collaborative between three public hospitals, 10 supportive housing agencies, and two respite care programs that work together to identify, house, and serve the most severely ill individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. After successful results for both the individuals in CHHP and taxpayers, CHHP became a permanent collaboration in 2007. The results of CHHP are a testament to the effectiveness of formal integration of these organizations and using a Housing First and Harm Reduction approach to chronic homelessness. Arturo Bendixen, Vice President of Housing Partnerships at AFC and Director of CHHP shared with USICH how CHHP works and the elements needed to implement a program like CHHP in other communties.

- Read more from Arturo Bendixen 

Implementing a Community-wide Supportive Housing Registry

After Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans began to experience a large increase in the number of individuals living unsheltered. During that time, UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the Continuum of Care lead, was introduced to the Vulnerability Index and Supportive Housing Registry promoted by the 100,000 Homes Campaign and Community Solutions. These tools help a community determine who is experiencing chronic homelessness and gather information about each individual's physical and mental health to help prioritize those who need permanent housing quickly. The process of assessment and placement by UNITY is one of the most effective ways communities can target interventions to those experiencing chronic homelessness who are most at-risk of dying on the streets. Kathleen North, Director of UNITY's Supportive Housing Registry, spoke to USICH about working with both these dynamic tools and how their use has changed the paradigm of targeting in New Orleans.

- Read more from Kathleen North

HHS Releases Four New Issue Briefs on Chronic Homelessness 

The Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluation (ASPE) at the Department of Health and Human Services recently released four issue briefs concerning promising practices linking health, mental health, and substance abuse services to housing assistance for the target population of people experiencing homelessness.


The study focuses on people who have multiple, complex, and interacting physical and behavioral health conditions. The briefs cover issues such as SSI eligibility, supportive services in permanent supportive housing, and Medicaid using data from literature and from site visits.

- Read all four issue briefs  

USICH Welcomes New Staff 

USICH is pleased to welcome two new Regional Homeless Coordinators: Beverley Ebersold and Amy Sawyer. Beverley Ebersold comes to USICH from the Corporation for Supportive Housing where she has played a key role in building the capacity within Detroit and the state of Michigan to end homelessness. She has extensive experience in supportive housing development, service design, delivery and coordination, working with Continuums of Care, and building local partnerships to end homelessness. Amy Sawyer joins the Council from Asheville, NC, where she coordinated work that led to dramatic reductions in chronic homelessness and instituting successful homelessness prevention strategies for all populations. Please watch for a full introduction of the Council's national team and the regional assignments in the coming weeks. Beverley and Amy will begin their work at USICH on April 30, 2012. 

Table of Contents
First Council Meeting of 2012 Focuses on Chronic Homelessness
Thought Leaders on Chronic Homelessness
Health Care 911
Program Profiles: CHHP and UNITY
New Chronic Homelessness Briefs from HHS
USICH Welcomes New Staff
USICH Requests Your Ideas on Educational Outcomes for Children and Youth & Ending Youth Homelessness
For this year's update to Opening Doors, we are responding to requests that additional content and clarity would be helpful in two key areas: early childhood learning and educational outcomes for youth and children experiencing homelessness and broad strategies on unaccompanied youth up through age 24.   

Similar to the original development of Opening Doors, USICH has developed an interactive forum for our stakeholders to provide feedback. The link below enables stakeholders to enter this forum and share their ideas and input in these areas by April 30:

Upcoming Events
OCC and USICH Webinar  

Ending Homelessness: How Banks Can Finance Permanent Supportive Housing
Wednesday, April 25 
2:00 - 3:30 pm EDT
USICH Webinar

Trauma-Informed Care for Mothers and Families Experiencing Homelessness 
Wednesday, May 9
3:00 - 4:00 pm EDT



Check Out More Upcoming Events on our Online Calendar  



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