Council Moves Forward on Developing Interagency Data Model on Youth Homelessness, Discusses Regional Engagement Strategies

Council Chair HHS Secretary Burwell and USICH Executive Director Matthew DohertyOn July 20, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness met for the second Council meeting of the year. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, our Council Chair, led a robust discussion focused on two of our key priorities for the year, advancing the coordination across federal programs that serve youth homelessness, and strengthening federal regional engagement in preventing and ending homelessness. Action on these priorities will help ensure that our momentum continues during the transition to a new administration and beyond.

Advancing Our Work to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness

USICH Deputy Director Jasmine Hayes, on behalf of the Interagency Working Group to End Youth Homelessness, provided an update on the progress taking place to advance implementation of both strategies within the Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness: improving data regarding youth homelessness; and building capacity for service delivery.

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge that we’ve seen major progress,” Hayes said. “As we move forward, we are continuing to align our next steps under the strategic areas of the Framework.”

As charged by the Council in April 2016, the Working Group completed the first version of the interagency data model on youth homelessness and presented the initial findings at the meeting. The Council also reviewed a set of proposed short-and longer-term strategic actions needed to address the implications of the model and to support a transition to the next administration. The Council agreed to continue to refine the model and work with Council agencies as well as national and community partners to determine estimates of the resources needed to achieve the goal of ending youth homelessness in 2020.  

Aligning Federal Regional Engagement Strategies to Prevent and End Homelessness

USICH Executive Director Matthew Doherty also updated the Council on the strategy that was launched over the last quarter to further support federal regional leadership as they proactively partner with state and local leaders and the homelessness and mainstream systems.

“There are many activities that state and local government can be doing that would drive further progress around all of the population goals,” Doherty said. “We especially want this initiative to help bridge gaps between policy recommendations and guidance that may be coming out of federal agencies to ensure that states and local communities are well-equipped to take that guidance and put it into action.”

HHS Regional Director Melissa Stafford Jones followed Doherty with an overview of the interagency efforts taking place within Federal Region IX, including collaborative efforts to reduce the number of families experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the State of Hawaii. Ms. Jones stressed the importance of tailoring these efforts to local context and ensuring there is an active feedback loop from regional efforts to headquarters that reflects the cross-agency nature of the work.

At the end of the presentation, Council members discussed additional actions agencies can take to support implementation of the regional strategy and sustain momentum.