Driving Progress in the Year Ahead: Our Top Priorities for 2019

Home, Together, the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, provides a roadmap of objectives and strategies that we are pursuing over the next four years to help ensure that, in every community, homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.

During 2019, the team at USICH and our federal partners will be implementing activities across the full range of strategies in Home, Together, and will be especially focused on several overarching priorities that are foundational to our future success and that reflect priorities identified by our state and local partners:

  • Identifying and implementing strategies to better align affordable housing with efforts to end homelessness 
  • Supporting communities to test and scale the strongest practices for addressing unsheltered homelessness while retaining focus on permanent housing outcomes
  • Strengthening skills and capacity to center racial equity across efforts to prevent and end homelessness, both within USICH and in communities
  • Strengthening connections and coordination between homelessness services systems and workforce systems and employment opportunities
  • Supporting increased access to and retention within high-quality education programs, including quality child care and early childhood education through elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education
  • Expanding our efforts to partner with and learn from the expertise of people with current and past lived experiences of homelessness 
Population-Specific Priorities

As we implement our population-specific work this year, we’re prioritizing progress and impact within the following activities:

Ending Homelessness Among Families with Children 

  • Completing the piloting of the criteria and benchmarks for ending family homelessness
  • Disseminating lessons and promising approaches identified through the pilots, including strengthening partnerships between educational systems and homelessness crisis response systems
  • Creating awareness of promising approaches to prevention
  • Promoting strengthened rapid re-housing practices, especially in challenging housing markets 

Ending Youth Homelessness 

  • Completing the piloting of the criteria and benchmarks for ending youth homelessness 
  • Disseminating lessons and promising approaches identified through the pilots, including how best to serve the needs of youth of color and youth who identify as LGBTQ
  • Supporting communities participating in demonstration and challenge projects to expand the evidence base of strong and innovative practices 
  • Working with stakeholders to identify federal policy options to better address the full range of needs of youth experiencing homelessness identified through research and data reports

Ending Veteran Homelessness 

  • Sustaining and increasing momentum, including through continued confirmation of communities’ success and lifting up communities’ strategies for sustaining their success
  • Advancing and strengthening diversion and rapid re-housing practices for Veterans, and applying those lessons to strengthening such interventions for all populations  
  • Strengthening the implementation of HUD-VASH and other federal programs for Veterans within high-cost housing markets
  • Supporting the continued transformation of the Grant and Per Diem program and the implementation of new program models within the program

Ending Homelessness, Including Chronic Homelessness, Among Individual Adults  

  • Increasing the availability and awareness of data and evidence regarding the individual adult population, including deeper understanding of unsheltered population’s characteristics and patterns of homelessness
  • Supporting communities to test and scale the strongest practices for addressing unsheltered homelessness 
  • Building awareness of the criteria and benchmark for ending chronic homelessness and partnering with communities who are ready to have their progress assessed
  • Implementing opportunities to scale permanent supportive housing through expanded Section 811 resources and to support services through Medicaid-focused activities
Priorities for Strengthening Components of a Coordinated Community Response

We will also be pursuing activities that continue to strengthen crisis response systems and cross-sector partnerships, including:

Strengthening the Capacity of Communities to Implement Effective Crisis Response Systems 

  • Describing and advancing the role of diversion within efficient crisis response systems 
  • Promoting promising practices for the roles of law enforcement within local responses to homelessness 
  • Promoting strengthened coordinated entry practices across entire systems and for specific subpopulations

Strengthening Connections to Mainstream Systems 

  • Providing guidance and examples of how communities can better align affordable housing strategies and resources with efforts to prevent and end homelessness 
  • Encouraging stronger partnerships, coordination, and integration of activities between mainstream systems and coordinated entry systems

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