United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
As Local Partnerships Strengthen, National Momentum to End Homelessness Builds
July 2, 2014
Matthew Doherty, USICH Director of National Initiatives, testifies about Housing First at a Honolulu City Council Meeting.
Community and Federal Partnerships Are Driving Progress Toward Goals
Creating Effective Partnerships Is Critical to the Work of Ending Homelessness

usich houston doeh end homelessness
Robert Pulster (USICH) and Lorraine Walls (HUD) at Houston's Road Home steering committee meeting earlier this week.
USICH and federal partners are teaming up with communities all across the country to accelerate and align existing efforts toward ending Veteran and chronic homelessness and to do this in a way that lays the foundation for ending all homelessness. 

Whether through the Mayors Challenge to End Homelessness, to solidify partnerships and secure commitments to end Veteran homelessness from mayors across the country...

Or the 25 Cities effort to build and strengthen the elements of a coordinated entry system in communities for identifying, assessing, and matching people experiencing homelessness to the most appropriate housing support interventions...

Or through one-on-one partnerships with communities to advance local efforts to end homelessness, we are fully your partners. Please contact your Regional Coordinator any time.

As partnerships strengthen, the national momentum to end homelessness builds. The work of ending homelessness happens at the local level - in states, cities, towns, and counties. It happens in City Halls and State Houses, around local boardroom tables, at the door of local providers and on the streets of every community from Portland, Maine to Honolulu, from Minneapolis to New Orleans. And the work of ending homelessness happens best when it happens in all of these places, in a coordinated and strategic way. 

Creating effective partnerships at the local level and with Federal agencies is critical to achieving the goals of Opening Doors and to the goals of ending homelessness in each and every community. Because we know that to end homelessness nationally, we must end it locally, we want to make sure that a planned Amendment to Opening Doors reflects local experiences and perspectives. Learn how you can contribute to this Amendment in the article below.

Your Input Is Essential to the Ongoing Success of Opening Doors
We want to hear from you on a possible amendment to the Plan.


Our incredible progress has proven that Opening Doors is the right plan and that it works. Since its launch in 2010 we've changed the trajectory of homelessness in America. Opening Doors works because we developed the plan together. All told, more than 750 stakeholders authored the Plan. 


To capitalize on the momentum of successes we've experienced as a nation, USICH is considering amending Opening Doors to include critical new information we've gained from our progress.  The amendment would incorporate new strategies and insights gained from our work at the federal, state and local level.


Please lend us your expertise by weighing in on the following areas under consideration.

  1. Retooling the Homeless Crises Response System
  2. The Goal to Prevent and End Chronic Homelessness
  3. The Role of Health Care in the Effort to Prevent and End Homelessness
  4. Using Data, Setting Goals, and Defining What It Means to End Homelessness

This Participation Guide: http://bit.ly/USICH2014 shows which strategies are currently in Opening Doors and will assist you in sharing your ideas and voting for others.


We request your input by August 8, 2014. 



USICH Over the Airwaves
usich in the news
Matthew Doherty, USICH Director of National Initiatives, speaks with Hawaii Public Radio about Housing First.  

Robert Pulster, USICH Regional Coordinator, speaks with Houston Public Media on Houston's Progress in ending homelessness. 

How Public Housing Authorities Are Partnering with Their Communities to End Homelessness
PHA Resources Available for Communities

Across the country, growing numbers of public housing authorities (PHAs) have become integral to their community's efforts to prevent and end homelessness. This willingness to partner and engage in collaborative planning is critical to both local and national success in ending homelessness. The USICH PHA Guidebook provides guidance and best practices that PHAs can use to strengthen their collaborative efforts. Using Opening Doors as its blueprint, the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) also provides an important reference with case studies on how agencies are meeting the individual goals of ending homeless in the United States. Last month, USICH Executive Director Laura Zeilinger was honored to address at CLPHA's Summer Meeting in Los Angeles. Later this month, Laura is pleased to have the opportunity to address at the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) annual summer conference in Tampa. 


A partnership of youth service providers, funders, and government agencies are committed to The Journey Home, Baltimore's plan to end homelessness.


Fresh from the 25 Cities work session on coordinated entry systems, a group of community leaders invited USICH to Baltimore to delve a little more deeply into the issue of youth homelessness.  We were asked to use the Youth Framework as a lens to discuss what it will take to ensure the resources and partnerships exist to end youth homelessness in Baltimore.


Adrienne Breidenstine leads the Special Populations group. The Special Populations group is currently evaluating existing capacity and resources to address youth homelessness and identifying how to create a strategic approach that will, hopefully, align with the Youth Framework.


For Baltimore, the vision is that homelessness will be a rare and brief for children and youth experiencing homelessness. "Now is the time for us to harness our community's energy and commitment to the cause and translate it into action," said Breidenstine.


Baltimore brings a breadth of experience and opportunity to the table. The city boasts advocacy agencies that have partnered with state legislators that represent both sides of the aisle, including Mary Washington and Edward Reilly, to develop and pass legislation that can clear the way for youth to access higher education, support a pilot initiative to conduct targeted counts of unaccompanied youth, and create a joint committee in the General Assembly and an Interagency Council on Homelessness. Baltimore also enjoys a strong network of agencies with people who have built relationships and share a passion to end homelessness, which has led to creative housing and services directed toward youth...


Read the rest of Amy Sawyer's blog.


News from Our Partners

VA to Award $5 Million in Grants to Aid Veterans with Special Needs Who Are Experiencing Homelessness
Notice of Funding Availability: http://www.va.gov/homeless/GPD.ASP

CNCS Will Issue $11 Million through Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success Grants Competition

Notice of Funding Availability: http://www.nationalservice.gov/build-your-capacity/grants/funding-opportunities/2014/social-innovation-fund-pay-success-grants

USICH Staff News

USICH Is Hiring a Policy Director
Consider joining USICH's Policy Team. We seek a policy director who will work with our federal partners and support efforts across the country to prevent and end homelessness. We are seeking a candidate who has subject matter expertise in homelessness and in the respective portfolios of our federal agencies, especially the work of HUD, HHS, Education, Labor, and other agencies on the Council. The ideal candidate has expertise in populations, such as families with children, Veterans, chronic homelessness, and/or youth, and expertise in best practices and evidence-based solutions for ending homelessness. We are also seeking a candidate who brings specific skills and experience in performance management, project management, policy development, and research.

 Position Description

elizabeth burman usich program assistant policy end homelessness
Elizabeth Burman

USICH Welcomes New Program Assistant


Elizabeth Burman joined USICH as a program assistant supporting the Policy team.


Elizabeth holds a Master's degree in Public Administration with a focus in Social Policy from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Prior to joining us at USICH, Elizabeth served as an AmeriCorps member in an emergency shelter for homeless and runaway youth in Rochester, NY, and worked with an international adolescent transitional living program in London.



Jessica Reed
USICH is Hiring a National Initiatives Intern

This part-time position offers exposure to a range of USICH work with a focus on the state and community-level activities. The intern supports the National Initiatives team with data analysis, supporting meeting and events, research, drafting correspondence and preparing presentation, and maintaining current information on state and community issues related to homelessness, among many other roles.

Here's what the incumbent, Jessica Reed, has to say about her experience: 

"For the past year, I've had the wonderful opportunity to intern with the National Initiatives Team. In that time, I have learned about our nation's innovative policies on homelessness, such as Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing. I've also had the chance to work on issues like human rights and alternatives to criminalization as they relate to homelessness. The entire team at USICH is the most dedicated and driven group of people I've worked with, and I encourage everyone who is interested in homeless policy and issues to seek out opportunities to collaborate with them."


 Position Description

Your Input Is Essential to the Ongoing Success of Opening Doors
USICH Over the Airwaves
How Public Housing Authorities Are Partnering with Their Communities to End Homelessness
Baltimore Steps Forward to End Youth Homelessness
News from Our Partners
USICH Staff News
Successful Partnerships through Aligned Missions and Empathetic Relationships
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111 mayors, governors, and county officials have committed to end homelessness among Veterans in their communities by the end of 2015.

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Blogs You Might Like


by Eric Grumdahl

by Richard Cho


Communities Come Together to Discuss Coordinated Entry 

by Amy L. Sawyer


How to Talk about Housing First

by Matthew Doherty



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Eric Grumdahl
USICH Policy Director

At the core of USICH's mission is creating effective partnerships. My thinking about what is possible in partnerships is shaped by the work I did prior to coming to Washington. Before joining USICH, I worked in a Midwestern metropolitan county human services agency with a broad mandate that included child welfare, behavior health and other social services, economic assistance programs, juvenile justice, public health, and the programs and policy efforts I led on homelessness and housing. Having this broad spectrum of services under shared leadership created lots of opportunity for partnership, and we benefitted in particular from leadership in our child welfare department that was especially attuned to the needs of youth and families in the child welfare system for whom housing was a critical ingredient to stability.


Our approach was to make our agency's housing resources, in partnership with our local public housing agencies, available as needed on a case-by-case basis to the families and youth that our child welfare system served. These resources included anything from assistance with housing searches, negotiation with landlords, flexible funding to cover things like security deposits, and a limited supply of rental assistance. To do this, we had to braid together state, local, and Federal dollars around each individual youth or family.  


Read more.

In Case You Missed It

[FACT SHEET] Implementing Housing First in Permanent Supportive Housing
implementing housing first in permanent supportive housing
New Housing First Fact Sheet

USICH, with assistance from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, published a new fact sheet to help service providers understand how Housing First can fit into a permanent supportive housing framework.


Click here to read it.
[WEBINAR] Health Begins at Home


On June 23, 2014, USICH Senior Policy Director Richard Cho moderated a joint webinar with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources Services Administration on the opportunities created for individuals experiencing homelessness by the Affordable Care Act. 

Titled, "Health Begins at Home: Integrating Primary and Behavioral Care Services and Housing to End Homelessness," this 60-minute recorded video covers: common barriers to integrating housing and health care, best practices, and provides examples of three successful delivery models.

Upcoming Events

2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness

July 29-31, 2014

Washington, DC


Join policymakers, practitioners, and providers at this annual event, hosted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and designed to share information about advances in efforts to prevent and end homelessness.


Learn more about the conference.



Health Care for the Homeless Regional Training 

August 14 -16, 2014

University of California, Berkeley-Clark Kerr Campus


This two-day training offers professional development and networking opportunities, through workshops on the Affordable Care Act enrollment and strategies, clinical presentations on infectious diseases and substance abuse treatment, trauma-informed care, integrating HIV testing into primary care, an introduction to the new recuperative/medical respite care standards, street medicine, and a track for consumers. Continuing education credit is available.


Learn more.



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Send your questions and comments about the USICH Newsletter to communications@usich.gov.