United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
 USICH News                                                                     October 26, 2012        

USICH Releases First Ever National Research Agenda

Research-based solutions are critical to progress: Agenda outlines where more valuable work can be done to solidify best practices


Today USICH releases the first ever National Research Agenda: Priorities for Advancing Our Understanding of Homelessness. Meeting the goals outlined in Opening Doors requires targeted investments in proven solutions. As we strive to expand and strengthen our knowledge base, there are still many areas where research is needed to inform the policy-making process as well as to better understand best practices in the field. The USICH National Research Agenda outlines priority areas where we believe Federal, local, and private investments should be made in additional research. A robust research base enables the furthering of best practices for all those working to end homelessness, and is a key element in changing the way our nation takes action. Setting forth a National Research Agenda, USICH hopes to catalyze researchers, policy professionals, and national, state, and local leaders to improve how we respond to the crisis of homelessness.

Our agenda is informed by an extensive review of published studies and research currently underway, as well as key policy areas such as the Federal Framework for Ending Youth Homelessness, the transition from a shelter-based homeless system to a prevention and rapid re-housing system, community integration of people with disabilities under Olmstead settlements, and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 


The Agenda is focused on work in eight domains: 

  • Affordable and supportive housing
  • Cost offsets/Cost-effectiveness
  • Homeless crisis response 
  • Homeless prevalence and risk and protective factors
  • Improving health, well-being, and stability
  • Justice linkages
  • Accessing mainstream benefits 
  • Pathways to employment
USICH hopes that both funders and researchers will use this agenda to guide their choices about future investments in research, and that communities will think about ways to further their evaluation efforts to share their successful work with others. 

Youth Point-in-Time Resources

Resources from HUD and NAEH 


USICH and its partners in the Federal government are encouraging communities to get the most accurate count of unaccompanied youth in this year's Point-In-Time (PIT) Count, which is aided by the changes to the PIT Count methodology recently released by HUD. The National Alliance to End Homelessness hosted a webinar on including Youth in the PIT Count on Thursday, October 4, which can be accessed here


In addition, HUD News released its guidance earlier this month for communities to complete their 2013 Point-in-Time and Housing Inventory Count. Get your community ready by reading the HUD guidelines hereThe incorporation of Youth into the PIT Count helps move forward USICH's Youth Framework that was unveiled at the June 2012 Council meeting. 


For more information on the PIT Count from HUD, listen to their webinar here.


Bob Pulster to join USICH Regional Coordinator team

Bob joins team on November 26th 


USICH is pleased to announce the addition of a new Regional Coordinator to its team, Bob Pulster. Bob is a leader on efforts to combat homelessness for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  He served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness from February 2008 until June 2009, and then went on to become the Associate Director of the Division of Housing Stabilization at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. His expertise on family and individual homelessness, strategic planning, diverse group facilitation, and managing systems are a great addition to our team. Bob will be joining USICH on November 26.


About his new role at USICH, Bob noted, "I am looking forward to joining the USICH team and working with stakeholders across the county to advance our mission to prevent and end homelessness." 


Read Bob's bio


American Journal of Public Health Call for Papers - Homelessness Research 

The American Journal of Public Health intends to publish a theme issue on homelessness in 2013 and is calling for papers from researchers and all interested authors by January 1, 2013. 


Papers are invited in areas such as epidemiology of homelessness and housing instability, impact of service delivery, characteristics and needs of homeless veterans, and emerging risk populations or characteristics and more. All interested authors are invited to consider different categories of manuscripts as indicated on the AJPH website. 


Learn more about this call for papers and potential research areas here.


New Performance Improvement Calculator for Communities 

National Alliance to End Homeless (NAEH) recently released a new interactive tool, the Performance Improvement Calculator, in conjunction with Focus Strategies. The Calculator uses program budget information and key data from Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) to model a community's homeless system and current performance, consistent with new HEARTH Act performance measures. 


Communities can use this tool to first evaluate the effectiveness of their current system, and model the effects of repurposing programs for a different use or reallocating funds to different strategies. USICH will be featuring an interview with the co-principals of Focus Strategies, the creators of the Performance Improvement Calculator, in an upcoming newsletter. 


To learn about the Calculator and test out its functions, click here.


Kaiser Family Foundation on the Affordable Care Act

Important resources on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for homeless service providers 


The President & CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation posted a blog discussing how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve health and long-term stability to people experiencing homelessness.  He specifically addressed the 2014 Medicaid expansion and what it will take to connect people experiencing homelessness to Medicaid under the ACA. The blog draws on a report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation in September 2012 called Medicaid Coverage and Care for the Homeless Population: Key Lessons to Consider for the 2014 Medicaid Expansion. He concludes that this new effort could bring renewed attention at the state and local level to the problem of homelessness itself.


Click here to read the full blog


Click here to read the full Kaiser Family Foundation September 2012 report


Read a blog from Barbara DiPietro of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council on this issue


News from our Partners

Department of Health and Human Services


SAMHSA Releases Brief on Needs of Veterans of recent wars 


SAMHSA recently released the brief Behavioral Health Issues Among Afghanistan and Iraq U.S. War Veterans. The brief introduces some of the behavioral health problems facing Veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, including substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide. In addition, it offers descriptions of specific risk factors for Veterans such as frequent deployments, traumatic events while deployed, and experiencing a service-related injury.

The brief provides resources for Veterans and their families, primary care, behavioral health, and social service providers working with Veterans, and the general public to better understand this important and timely issue. These resources include:

  • Online screening tools for assessing behavioral health problems among veterans
  • Online treatment locator for substance use disorder treatment and mental health services across the nation
  • Fact sheets, briefs, and reports on behavioral health problems among veterans

Access the brief


ARCH logoDepartment of Veterans Affairs


Department of Veterans Affairs Announces Availability of $300 million in SSVF Funding  

Today the Department of Veterans Affairs announced the availability of funds for supportive services grants under the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Program. The Notice of Funding Availability was published in today's Federal Register. The SSVF Program's purpose is to provide supportive services grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives who will coordinate or provide supportive services to very low-income Veteran families who: a.) are residing in permanent housing, b.) are homeless and scheduled to become residents of permanent housing within a specified time period, or c.) after exiting permanent housing within a specified time period, are seeking other housing that is responsive to such very low-income Veteran family's needs and preferences. Grantees will be expected to leverage supportive services grant funds to enhance the housing stability of very low-income Veteran families who are occupying permanent housing. In doing so, grantees are required to establish relationships with local community resources. 
Applications will be due to the SSVF Program office by February 1, 2013. 

Learn more and read the full NOFA


Department of Veterans Affairs Announces New Community Mental Health Provider Toolkit 


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Mental Health released a new tool for community providers to access on its website. The online toolkit provides information on mental health issues from a Veteran-specific focus, a whole host of information about military cultural competency for mental health providers and case managers, and gives information on how providers can connect with VA. The toolkit was created to support VA's overall commitment to the rehabilitation and recovery of every Veteran with a mental illness. 


Access the toolkit


Table of Contents
USICH Research Agenda
Youth Point-in-Time Resources
Bob Pulster joins USICH Regional Coordinator team
American Journal of Public Health Call for Papers - Homelessness Research
New Performance Improvement Calculator for Communities
Kaiser Family Foundation on the Affordable Care Act
Resources from HHS and Funding Announcement from VA
USICH Hiring Three Policy Directors

USICH Hiring Three Policy Directors 


USICH is seeking three Policy Directors to join our team in Washington, DC. We are seeking experienced leaders who have subject matter expertise in homelessness and in the respective portfolios of our federal partners, especially the work of HUD, VA, and HHS, but also critical areas within other federal agencies. In addition to a strong grounding in homelessness policy and best practices, we are seeking candidates who bring specific skills and experience in one of the following areas: data analysis and performance management, project management, and communications.


In partnership with the Deputy Director, the policy team is responsible for the implementation of Opening Doors, measuring performance for USICH and the Council, and effective messaging and production of content and critical documents for Congress and the public. The policy team is also responsible for managing the relationship with Congress and all 19 federal agencies on the Council, the media, and national nonprofits and advocacy organizations. Policy Directors must be passionate about ending homelessness as well as be recognized leaders in their current position, with exceptional skills in building effective teams and are comfortable working at a high policy level as well as a deep level of detail. 

Upcoming Events
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Annual Conference
Saturday, October 27-Tuesday, October 30

Learn more 


NAHRO National Conference and Exhibition
Sunday, October 28- Tuesday, October 30
Learn more 

2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities
Wednesday, October 31

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