By Laura Green Zeilinger, USICH Executive Director
The Obama Administration, in partnership with communities across the country, is changing the trajectory of homelessness through the implementation of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. USICH is proud to release our Annual Update to Congress on the progress of Opening Doors.
Since the launch of Opening Doors in 2010, we've reduced homelessness by more than six percent, overall. We've reduced homelessness among families by eight percent, chronic homelessness by 16 percent, and we’ve reduced homelessness among Veterans by an incredible 24 percent.
Our progress reflects the efforts of thousands of dedicated partners, across all levels of government and the private and not-for-profit sectors, working together to end homelessness. Most importantly, our progress tells the story of the tens of thousands of people—individuals, Veterans, youth, and families—who, because of Opening Doors, have a safe and stable place to call home.
Our progress is real, and so is the opportunity we have now to build on our momentum and persist steadfast toward our goals until we have achieved an end to homelessness. We know that ending homelessness requires both new resources and strategic local policy changes. We are more successful at securing needed resources when communities demonstrate that reaching our goals are possible through strategic action: maximizing Federal, State, and local resources, leveraging commitments from public housing agencies to increase permanent supportive housing, and focusing on outcomes.
At a time when difficult budget choices are being made, the Obama Administration continues to invest in what works. The President’s FY 2015 Budget request calls for $5.69 billion in funding for homeless programs across all agencies—a 12 percent increase above FY 2014. The President’s Budget will provide the resources needed to reach the goals of ending homelessness among Veterans in 2015 and chronic homelessness in 2016, and it will sustain the progress we have made on ending homelessness among families, youth, and children.
As we continue to accelerate our progress, we look to our partners in Congress to fully support Opening Doors and provide communities with the resources they need to finish the job. To end homelessness, we must invest in evidence-based solutions like Housing First, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing; and we must target resources strategically and focus implementation in achieving outcomes.
The results are clear: Opening Doors is the right plan, and it works. Thank you for your partnership.