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                                                                     January 16, 2013        


Get Involved in Your Community's 2013 Point-in-Time Count

Every year, during the last ten days in January, HUD requires Continuums of Care (CoCs) to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in the geographic area that they serve through the Point-in-Time count (PIT). The PIT count always includes people served in shelter programs, and every other year must also include people who are unsheltered. This year, CoCs are required to count people who are unsheltered. The 2013 PIT count at the end of January is an important opportunity for communities across the country to collect the most accurate data on people experiencing homelessness in America. Collecting accurate data is critical to effective community planning and performance management toward the goal of ending homelessness.


Photo courtesy Jeremiah Robinson/Mayor Tom Menino's Office


The HUD PIT count is the main data source used for measuring progress in meeting the goals in Opening Doors and collects important data on the general homeless population and subpopulations of homeless persons, including Veterans, families, chronically homeless individuals, and youth. Communities throughout the country have been planning for the implementation of their PIT counts. To obtain more information about a local PIT count in your community contact your local CoC. 


Visit the USICH State resources map for CoC contact information. 


In 2013, HUD is emphasizing the importance of including homeless youth in the count, and has modified its data collection methodology to gather better data for this group specifically. HUD developed supplemental guidance to provide information on PIT reporting requirements for homeless youth and the programs that serve them, as well as strategies to ensure that all homeless youth who should be included in the PIT count are counted. To further this effort, a nine city interagency initiative, Youth Count!, was developed, which seeks to develop promising strategies for counting unaccompanied homeless youth through innovative implementations of HUD's 2013 PIT count. Learn more about the Youth Count! initiative here. 


HUD recently published a poster for CoCs to use in their promotion of this year's PIT Count, and also updated their guidance with emphasis on counting homeless youth. Cyndi Lauper, speaking for her True Colors Fund, teamed up with HUD to release a public service announcement on the importance of the PIT Count. The webpage with this PSA also includes some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).


Download the poster and access the guidance.


Watch the public service announcement and read FAQs


USICH Executive Director Participates in Boston's PIT Count in December 2012

USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe and staff from Mayor Tom

Menino's office kicked off the 2013 PIT Count by participating with over 350 volunteers in Boston last month and with HUD Regional staff, staff from the Boston Public Health Commission, and staff from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.


(Pictured above L-R: Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Boston Public Health Commission; Barbara Poppe; Barbara Fields, HUD Regional Administrator-Region 1; Arthur Jemison, Deputy Undersecretary, MA Department of Housing and Community Development)


Barbara Poppe authored this blog about her experience with the Director of the Boston Emergency Shelter Commission, Jim Greene, during Boston's 33rd Annual Homeless Census, and the city's focus on making this night about more than just counting individuals, but connecting individuals to resources and assistance as the primary goal. Her reflection includes the story of one couple the team met that night on the street, describing their interaction with Boston's Health Care for the Homeless Program and the ways in which their story is like many of those living on America's streets.


Read more about their story and the organizations doing extraordinary work on Barbara Poppe's blog


Point-in-Time counts, like the one in Boston, will take place across the country this month.

USICH Announces Staff Changes  

As we enter President Obama's second term, USICH is prepared to continue the work of preventing and ending homelessness in America, with the vision that no one should be without a safe and stable place to call home.  Through unprecedented collaboration across Federal agencies, with State and local governments, and within the private and not-for-profit sectors, we are poised to reach the goals of Opening Doors: preventing and ending Veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015; preventing and ending family, child, and youth homelessness by 2020; and setting a path to end all types of homelessness.  We look forward to our work ahead and thank you for your partnership and dedication.


USICH is excited to announce three key additions to our staff.  Richard Cho, Katharine Gale, and Eric Grumdahl will join the talented and capable USICH staff as Policy Directors. 

  • Katharine Gale has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of homelessness and special needs housing. She has worked as a consultant and project manager for public and non-profit agencies working to end homelessness and served as Deputy Director for the Alameda County, California Housing and Community Development Department. Katharine's recent work has focused on helping communities transform local responses to homelessness in keeping with the goals of HEARTH and Opening Doors.  In 2011, Katharine co-founded Focus Strategies, a joint venture dedicated to helping communities use local homeless data to improve outcomes and implement system change. Focus Strategies recently released the Performance Improvement Calculator tool, featured in the USICH newsletter "HEARTH Act in Focus."  She holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Her portfolio at USICH will focus on performance management, family homelessness, as well as half-time focus as a regional coordinator.
  • Eric Grumdahl joins the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness as Policy Director after serving as Housing Manager for Dakota County, Minnesota. In this capacity, he facilitated the adoption and implementation of Dakota County's strategic plan to end homelessness. Starting in 1997, he helped create a complex, multi-jurisdictional initiative using healthcare financing approaches to link supportive housing with other systems of care, serving people experiencing chronic homelessness. During his tenure, the organization he helped create through this initiative, Hearth Connection, assisted over 2,200 people in accessing housing and supports, documented the cost and outcome impact of the intervention, and advanced Minnesota's efforts to end chronic homelessness.  Eric has helped shape numerous policy reforms for homelessness services and their connections with mainstream housing, economic assistance, and health care and human service programs. His portfolio will focus on Veteran and youth homelessness.    
  • Richard Cho has spent the last 12 years with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national non-profit organization that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness.  He served most recently as the Director of Innovations, leading efforts to identify, design, test, and replicate new housing and services innovations adapted for a variety of vulnerable populations and designed to solve a range of policy problems. He also led CSH's Social Innovation Fund Initiative to demonstrate supportive housing's effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits among high-cost, high-need Medicaid beneficiaries.  Richard received his Master in City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently working towards completing his Doctorate at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Richard's portfolio will focus on chronic homelessness and supporting Affordable Care Act implementation.
We are excited to announce that Laura Zeilinger has been promoted to Deputy Director of USICH. Laura has served as our Director of National Engagement and Field Support, growing our partnerships with communities across the country and leading our efforts to implement Opening Doors and the state and local levels. 

As we enter this new chapter in our work at USICH, we would like to thank the three individuals who served at USICH on short-term assignment this fall as Special Advisors to the Executive Director: Cathy ten Broeke, Dr. Josh Bamberger, and Lloyd Pendleton. We congratulate Cathy as she takes on her new role as Minnesota State's Director to Prevent and End Homelessness. Dr. Josh Bamberger has resumed his work in San Francisco's Department of Public Health as its Medical Director and as the Medical Director of the Housing and Urban Health Clinic as he finishes up some USICH projects. Lloyd Pendleton will be at USICH until the end of February, then will be resuming his work in Utah as the Director of the State's Homeless Task Force. We thank them for their many contributions during their time with us, helping USICH and our partners advance towards the goals of Opening Doors.


U.S. Conference of Mayors Releases Hunger and Homelessness Report 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors released its annual Hunger and Homelessness report that points out a concerning dilemma for families and individuals experiencing hunger and homelessness: an increase in demand for services, but no increase in services provided. 


This report is the result of a survey of the 25 cities involved in USCM's Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness. Although the 25 communities surveyed are not representative of the country as a whole, it gives a slice of what is happening in cities large and small across the country in the wake of the recession. The 25 communities surveyed for this report give us a more in-depth look at their communities - what each believes their biggest challenges will be in the coming year, but also programs within each of their cities that are working to meet the needs of the community. We encourage you to take a look at this report and learn more about the needs of cities large and small and how local leaders are working to meet those needs.


Read the full report here.  


Learn more about the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


News from our Partners

Department of Housing and Urban Development


2012 AHAR Submission Deadline Extended


HUD recognizes that communities have to meet several important deadlines that fall throughout the month of January. In an effort to provide relief, HUD has decided to extend the deadline for submission of final 201Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) data. The deadline for submitting the final "All Persons" and Veteran data for the 2012 AHAR is extended to Tuesday, February 12, 2013.  


It should be noted that both sets of AHAR data are due on that same day.


If you have any questions, please contact your AHAR data collector.


Department of Veterans Affairs

Reminder: SSVF Applications due February 1   


The deadline for submitting applications to VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families program is fast approaching. This year, $300 million is available for nonprofit organizations to implement the SSVF program, an increase of $200 million from the previous year's available funds. SSVF's purpose is to provide supportive services grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives who will coordinate or provide homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing supportive services to very low-income Veteran families. 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 Health & Human Services


HHS's Administration on Children and Families releases new resource on Early Childhood Education Access for Homeless Children  


HHS released a letter and recommendations for early childhood and education programs on how to strengthen their programs for young children experiencing homelessness. This letter and the new policies and procedures are meant for the entire early childhood care and education community - particularly Head Start and Child Care Development Fund grantees-to improve policies and programs for homeless children or children living unstably. Resources include:

  • Letter from the Administration of Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the Office of Child Care 
  • Policies and Procedures to Increase Access to ECE Services for Homeless Children and Families 
  • Strategies for Increasing ECE Services for Homeless Children 
  • Early Childhood and Family Homelessness Resource List.

Success in SAMHSA's SOAR Program 


SAMHSA's SOAR program assists states and localities to expedite access to the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability programs-Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)-for persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness and who have a mental illness, a co-occurring substance use disorder or other serious medical condition.  Currently, all 50 states participate in the federally sponsored SOAR technical assistance (TA), but the strength and breadth of these efforts vary greatly in each state. In the fall, 9 CoCs were awarded TA funds and were able to implement full training and follow-up programs for case managers that will help increase the ability of individuals to access income support from these two programs.


The CoC in Bakersfield, CA was one such CoC to be awarded these funds and blogged about their success and experience with this initiative. They shared their experience applying for this project as well as the ways their staff will benefit from this training. Read their story here.


Stay tuned in February for a Request for Funding Application (RFA) for SOAR TA funding to make this initiative a reality for your CoC.


Visit the SOAR website 

Table of Contents
Get Involved in the PIT Count
USICH's Poppe participates in Boston PIT Count
USICH Staff Changes
USCM Hunger and Homelessness Report
News from our Partners
On the USICH Blog

On the USICH Blog  


Last week USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe posted a blog entitled "Reflections from the Streets of Hollywood." In the blog, she reflects on her recent trip to Los Angeles where she accompanied the VA Greater Los Angeles' (VA GLA) new Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team.


The ACT team is part of the VA's Housing First demonstration project. The team provides case management support to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky's Project 60Project 60 uses HUD-VASH vouchers from the Housing Authority of the City Los Angeles (HACLA) in order to get chronically homeless and vulnerable Veterans into permanent supportive housing with access to comprehensive, wrap-around services.


On her trip, she wanted to see how the VA's ACT Team contributed to these efforts. She noted that, "it seems that the work being done in Hollywood might be a living example of what USICH has been calling out as the key components of making progress on homelessness: new strategic investment; re-alignment of existing resources; collaboration across sectors; integration of housing, health care, and services; and implementation of evidence-based practices."


Read the full blog here


Upcoming Events
Deadline: CoC Program Applications 
Due Friday, January 18
Deadline: SSVF Applications
Due Friday, February 1

Deadline: 2012 AHAR Submission
Due Tuesday, February 12


National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness
Thursday, February 21 - Friday, February 22
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