The Last Council Meeting of 2018 Explores National Data and Welcomes New Leadership

December 17 marked the last Council meeting of 2018. The high level, quarterly meeting included a comprehensive review of national data on homelessness and ushered in new leadership for 2019.

HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary David Woll kicked off the meeting as Interim Council Chair. Former HUD Assistant Secretary Neal Rackleff, who served as Chair for most of Calendar Year 2018, has moved on from HUD to pursue other opportunities. Woll and Acting Vice Chair ED Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan opened the meeting with welcoming remarks before turning to Executive Director Matthew Doherty to present the first agenda topic.

Successfully Moving Home, Together Forward

USICH gave an overview of implementation of Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness during the second half of FY 2018, including a highlight of key interagency accomplishments and opportunities for agencies to drive progress moving forward.  

Using Data to Drive Decisions and Actions 

Leadership from USICH, ED, and HUD discussed the background and implications of key data collected on homelessness. The presenters focused on a deeper review of HUD’s 2018 Point-in-Time (PIT) count data and ED’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program data for School Year 2016-17. They also explored the ways federal agencies can respond to, and use, different sources of data in the development and implementation of strategies, policies, and activities. 

The Council meeting featured detailed presentations regarding the findings of the most recent PIT count data and the EHCY data, and Council members engaged in discussion about those data sources along with strategies for using data to drive federal action. Recognizing that no single source of data tells the whole story of homelessness and other housing needs, federal agencies have continued to improve efforts to collaborate using existing data sets in support of more coordinated approaches to addressing state and local challenges in preventing and ending homelessness. For example: 

  • ED, in collaboration with the USICH Interagency Working Group on Ending Youth Homelessness, refined data collection requirements for the EHCY program to include Primary Nighttime Residence (PNR) reporting for unaccompanied homeless youth, providing a clearer picture of their experiences during the school year. 
  • In response to the 2017 PIT data, which showed increases in unsheltered homelessness in some communities, and especially along the west coast, USICH, HUD, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in collaboration with other federal and national partners, have launched a collaborative Encampments and Unsheltered Homelessness Project to: deepen our current knowledge of the demographics, characteristics, and needs of people who are unsheltered; develop better evidence regarding the strongest and best practices for linking people who are unsheltered to permanent housing solutions; and help communities innovate, test approaches, and, ultimately, implement solutions, with a focus on communities with the largest prevalence of unsheltered homelessness.  

Nomination and Election of Council Leadership for 2019  

As the meeting drew to a close, the Council nominated Assistant Secretary Brogan as Council Chair for 2019. A nomination for Vice Chair is expected to be made during the first meeting of 2019.

USICH is committed to continuing to build upon and strengthen our interagency partnerships in collaboration with local, state, and national partners to achieve the goals of Home, Together. We look forward to working with you in 2019!

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