Spring Council Meeting Focuses on New USICH Brief on Housing Affordability and Stability

At our May 6, 2019 Council meeting, Assistant Secretary Frank Brogan of the Department of Education stepped into his role as chair. Brogan announced that Molly E. Conway, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Secretary’s Office and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration within the Department of Labor, had accepted the Council’s nomination to serve as vice chair for the remainder of the calendar year and the Council voted to confirm Conway’s nomination. 

Vice Chair Molly Conway (center)

USICH Executive Director Matthew Doherty provided his executive director’s report, which included a preview of plans for the year’s remaining Council meetings. Those meetings will zero in on areas of increased focus within Home, Together, including addressing rural homelessness, strengthening prevention and diversion practices, and helping people who exit homelessness to find employment success, among other topics.

Housing Affordability and Stability for Preventing and Ending Homelessness 

The meeting’s primary goal was to explore the link between housing affordability and stability and ending homelessness, featuring a discussion of a new brief from USICH, The Importance of Housing Affordability and Stability for Preventing and Ending Homelessness – please see a public version of that brief for more information. 

Several presenters offered data and perspectives to help inform the Council’s subsequent discussion. First, USICH Policy Director Susan Pourciau set the stage for the overall conversation. Pourciau highlighted strategies from Home, Together aimed at advancing housing affordability and stability and offered Council members questions to consider when moving forward, to ensure that housing affordability plays a part in policy.  

Pourciau was followed by Todd Richardson, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD. Richardson highlighted some research on the benefits of stable housing, as well as the extent of the need for housing that is affordable.

Jimiyu Evans presents to the Council

Lastly, Jimiyu Evans, Co-CEO of Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI) and Vice President of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), traveled from Atlanta to share his perspective about working to end family homelessness in the face of a shortage of housing that is affordable for lower income households. PCCI is often able to move people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing within 30 days through partnerships with property owners, government agencies. Some of his recommendations for federal action included issuing joint funding opportunities with layered funding from multiple federal agencies and increasing training opportunities for certification in skill trades. 

Following the presentation, the Council discussed a range of potential federal actions for driving progress on housing affordability and stability in support of goals of preventing and ending homelessness.