USICH Blog

09/14/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - September 10-14

The biggest event of this week was our quarterly Council meeting, which was held on Wednesday at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The focus of this meeting was on the ways states and communities can best use mainstream resources, like school programs, public housing resources, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), woven with targeted homelessness resources to make progress.  USICH Chair and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was joined by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service Wendy Spencer, Luke Tate from the Domestic Policy Council, and key representatives from 18 member agencies.

Learn more about what we heard at the meeting

To illustrate how this collaboration of mainstream and targeted resources happens on the ground, USICH invited two leaders to share their experiences implementing innovative programs for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Michelle Flynn of The Road Home in Salt Lake City, Utah and Michael Mirra of the Tacoma Housing Authority in Washington shared their program models and results with the Council, including the challenges they see on the ground when interacting with multiple mainstream systems. They each submitted a brief to USICH about their work, which you can access here

"What we learned from HPRP that is good news, especially because money is tight, is that often is takes just one security deposit or one bill payment to prevent homelessness for families," noted HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We now need to take the good things we've started [like rapid re-housing] to the next level so they move into the mainstream."  

Amendment to Opening Doors Released this Week

The Amendment to Opening Doors was released at this week’s Council meeting, an important development for USICH and our work moving forward. The Amendment was developed to specifically address what strategies and supports should be implemented to improve the educational outcomes for children and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. The Amendment is divided into two sections, The first is Improving Educational Outcomes for Children and Youth, which amends Objectives 5 and 2. The second is Meeting the Needs of Unaccompanied Youth, which amends Objective 8. 

Read the Amendment

News from our Partners

This week was also a big one for our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. HHS along with four philanthropic partners announced the five sites for the supportive housing initiative, a $35 million five-year project that seeks to use supportive housing to stabilize families involved in the child welfare system. Representatives from the four philanthropic partners – the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation—were in attendance at the Council meeting to announce this exciting initiative. Read more about it here.

The Corporation for Supportive Housing also had an exciting week, as they launched their new PHA toolkit. The online toolkit provides the knowledge and know-how, through templates and examples, to advance the efforts of PHAs, regardless of size and Moving to Work status, to establish supportive housing in their communities. Next week we’ll be posting a guest blog from CSH on this exciting toolkit, so stay tuned! Access the toolkit

Other news this week:

The 2012 Service to America Medal winners were announced this week, the highest honor for U.S. civil servants. HUD’s Mark Johnston and VA’s Susan Angell were winners of the Samuel J. Heyman award for pushing forward collaboration at HUD and VA to end Veterans homelessness, which resulted in a 12% decrease in Veterans homelessness in one year. They were honored as their team leaders at their respective agencies, supported by many dedicated staff at HUD and VA. Congratulations! Read more about their award here.

USICH also added three new Special Advisors to the team this week, who will be here in a short-term appointment to help continue to make progress towards the goals in Opening Doors. Lloyd Pendleton, Dr. Joshua Bamberger, and Cathy ten Broeke are all leaders in their field and we are so please they are bringing their expertise here to Washington as they take leaves of absence from their posts back home. Learn more about them and their work.

Finally, this week kicked off with the Rapid Results 100 Days Sustainability Review, where Rapid Results communities from around the country gathered in Washington, DC to discuss their great progress over the last 100 days since their Rapid Results Bootcamps. Each community shared their progress after retooling their system, which amplified their work across all systems housing Veterans in need. This collaborative work with Community Solutions and the Rapid Results Institute has resulted in marked success for these communities: so much so that their work is highlighted in The Fixes blog of the New York Times. Check out the article here

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