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

February 11, 2014

Working in Partnership to End Homelessness among Families


The Importance of Clarity of Purpose and Action


By Laura Zeilinger, USICH Deputy Director


Today, USICH releases Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness, a resource aimed at expanding an effective partnership with communities across the country to prevent and end homelessness for families.


In communities throughout the country, people are performing everyday heroics in an effort to meet the needs of families. Yet too often, these providers are faced with the painful inability to adequately respond to families seeking homeless services. The interventions they can offer are frequently determined by where there are open beds in a program, if there are open beds at all.  Even when community stakeholders agree on the importance of assessment and linking a family to an intervention best suited to their circumstances, shifting to such an approach might seem impossible -- especially while responding to the constant flow of urgent needs.




Building Systems to End

Family Homelessness: 

How Virginia Housed 

545 Families 


Over the past year, a partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) has led the State to increase their use of rapid re-housing, a Family Connection key strategy area.


"If States and communities want to prevent and end family homelessness, they should expand rapid re-housing practices," says Kay Moshier McDivitt, the Technical Assistance Specialist at NAEH who worked on the initiative.  "In Virginia, it began when former Governor Bob McDonnell issued an Executive Order to create a new housing policy and prioritize homelessness in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When a major decision-maker or funder steps up like this, it really sets the stage for system-wide change."


NAEH launched seven Learning Collaboratives, which provided an opportunity for organizations involved to look at the housing and services they were providing at the time, determine the changes that needed to be made, and set clear, system-wide goals for improving access to housing among families with children. Between October, 2013 and January, 2014, thirty-one organizations participated in the Rapid Re-Housing Challenge, an ambitious initiative aimed at assisting as many families as possible in obtaining permanent housing within 100 days. But the job wasn't finished there. Through tailored service provision and short-term financial assistance when needed, participating organizations are working alongside families to ensure that they have the support necessary to maintain housing.




HUD Announces Availability of HUD-VASH Funding for PHAs


The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it has set aside roughly $7 million in the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program to support 1,000 units of project-based voucher assistance. Project-based vouchers are tied to single-site developments and enable Veterans who experience homelessness to receive housing assistance with an array of clinical and supportive services provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 


Interested PHAs should read the notice of funding opportunity and submit an application to HUD by May 5, 2014. The notice allows a PHA to request up to 75 project-based vouchers in its application. PHAs are required to select proposals from single-site owners by issuing a request for proposals or using the results of a previous competition. In applying, PHAs should carefully review the threshold factors and scoring criteria found in the notice. 


DOL Awards HVRP Grants to Improve Delivery of 

Systems Connecting 

Veterans to Employment 


The Department of Labor recently announced the awarding of two grants through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP). Grants of $450,000 each were awarded to Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., in Sudbury, Massachusetts and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, DC.  The two cooperative agreements will develop and maintain the National Veterans Technical Assistance Center.


The center provides technical assistance to grantees, potential applicants and the public; researches grantee best practices; conducts employment-related research on homeless veterans; facilitates grantee training sessions and performs outreach to the employer community to increase job opportunities for homeless veterans. 




USICH Names Matthew Doherty Director of National Initiatives

USICH is pleased to announce Matthew Doherty has been promoted to Director of National Initiatives. Matthew began working with USICH in May, 2012 as Regional Coordinator for California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada. He took on a larger responsibility in managing USICH's field work when he became the Regional Coordinator Team Leader in February, 2013. Matthew has demonstrated exceptional leadership, commitment, and skill during his tenure at USICH, and will continue to add value to all areas of USICH's work in his new role.


Of his new role and ongoing work at USICH, Matthew stated: "I am very excited to continue to lead USICH's expert team of Regional Coordinators working with communities and states across the country, and by our current opportunity to add another expert to that team." 


USICH is Hiring!


Regional Coordinator


USICH is currently recruiting for a Regional Coordinator to join its National Initiatives team and to serve as the bridge between the work of the Council and States and communities across the United States.  Regional Coordinators are currently based in several locations throughout the country.  Preference will be given to candidates who are located in or are willing to relocate at their own expense to any of the following states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington State.


Learn more and apply here

Table of Contents
Building Systems to End Family Homelessness
HUD Announces Availability of HUD-VASH Funding
DOL Awards HVRP Grants
USICH Names Matthew Doherty Director of National Initiatives
USICH is Hiring
A Systemic Approach to Ending Family Homelessness
Rapid Re-Housing, Economic Opportunity are Key to Ending Family Homelessness
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By Mark Greenberg, 
Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This week, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness releases Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness, which outlines a multi-pronged approach to ending family homelessness. It focuses on four key areas of action: developing coordinated entry systems, ensuring that housing intervention strategies are tailored to needs of individual families, strengthening linkages to local mainstream support systems, and building the research base and further developing evidenced-based practices. 


I co-chair the Interagency Workgroup on Ending Family Homelessness, along with Mark Johnston from HUD and Laura Zeilinger from the Interagency Council.  We are encouraged by the collaborative approach that multiple agencies across the federal government took in developing this framework.  We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with federal partners, states, providers and advocates to reach our goal of ending family homelessness by 2020.


Fireman Foundation Finds that Rapid Re-Housing, Economic Opportunity are Key to Ending Family Homelessness

By Susanne Beaton, Director, The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation


Last year, The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation launched the Secure Jobs pilot in five regions of Massachusetts. The initiative was the outgrowth of a public/private planning process that aimed to offer employment assistance to families transitioning from shelter into housing with short-term housing support including rapid re-housing


Because only one in four families experiencing homelessness in the United States will receive a permanent housing subsidy, we saw the need to test an initiative that would quickly move individuals in families out of homelessness and connect them with opportunities to improve their economic wellbeing. 



February 13, 2014, 3 p.m ET

USICH Webinar: Preliminary Youth Intervention Model 


2014 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness in New Orleans, La.
Sponsored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness

USICH Appearances Include: 
Barbara Poppe
USICH Executive Director
The Big Picture: How We Can End Family Homelessness
Tuesday, February 18
10:15 am - 12:00 pm

Wednesday, February 19 
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m
Laura Zeilinger
USICH Deputy Director

Making the Case: Partnering with Public Housing Authorities
Wednesday, February 19
10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Robert Pulster
USICH Regional Coordinator

Working Together to End Homelessness: TANF and Working Development Agencies
Tuesday, February 18
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm


March 12-14, 2014
Housing First Partners Conference
Chicago, IL 

March 27-28, 2014

CSH Eastern Regional Supportive Housing Conference
Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
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