Federal Agencies Active in Implementing Plan to End Homelessness But Results Elusive


WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 22, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — On the one-year anniversary of the release of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness (the Plan), the National Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance) released a report analyzing the success of the member federal agencies of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness in meeting the Plan’s ambitious goals. The Progress Report reveals that while there was a great deal of activity on the 52 strategies the Plan identified to meet the goals, measurable progress has been made on only 18 strategies. Moreover, preliminary data suggest that instead of going down, homelessness in the country may have increased slightly during the first year of the Plan.

Opening Doors set the goals of ending chronic and veteran homelessness in five years; homelessness among families, children, and youth in ten years; and moving the country toward ending all homelessness. When the Plan was released, the Alliance lauded these ambitious and measurable goals.

While the Administration has clearly been active in implementing its Plan, results have not yet started to emerge. External factors such as the economy and the budget deficit, along with an emphasis on coordination and information strategies rather than more substantive housing, treatment, and jobs strategies, have hindered progress.

The Progress Report is divided into two parts. The first part assesses the Plan’s success on its own terms, measuring how much progress (none, some, or measurable) was made on each of the 52 strategies identified to achieve the goals. The second part looks at a set of available local counts of homeless people to assess whether or not the number went up or down during the Plan’s first year. The data show an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness since the time the Plan was released. Although future data may alter this trend, significant decreases are unlikely.

“The federal plan was a critically important step if we are going to end homelessness in our nation,” said Nan Roman, president of the Alliance. “It was bold enough to set ambitious goals, but it was to be expected that an economic downturn and a tough budget year would make these goals hard to achieve. Nevertheless, external factors are not the only things impeding progress. In the coming years, the Administration is going to have to tackle not just coordination and information, but the harder issues of affordable housing, jobs, and changes in mainstream programs if it is going to end homelessness.”

The report is available on the Alliance website: http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/4024.

Catherine An

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