July 2012 Archive

30/07/2012 - Ending the Cycle between Corrections and Homelessness

At the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ annual conference on ending homelessness I had the good fortune of attending a lively workshop session titled “Crossing Hard Thresholds: Access to Housing from Jails and Prisons.” The session dealt with the critical topic of preventing homelessness for people exiting correctional facilities. There are currently more than a million people in state and federal prisons in the U.S. and an additional 735,000 people in jails. Research has shown that individuals without stable housing upon exit from jails or prisons are up to seven times more likely re-offend; sometimes cycling for years between jails, prisons, emergency psychiatric care, and homelessness. As John Fallon, the session moderator from the Corporation for Supportive Housing noted, this cycle is extremely costly for state and local governments. He shared a real case study of Richard, a 42-year old who had spent the previous 21 years cycling between jails, mental health centers, and homelessness at an average annual cost of $72,910.

The NAEH session highlighted innovative programs aimed at ending homelessness and criminal recidivism among ex-offenders.

27/07/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - July 23-27, 2012

What We're Talking About is a new weekly column from USICH Communications on the topics and issues in the news and on our minds. Topics range from international and national conferences, news from around the country, innovative work to highlight, and more. We look forward to catching you up news you may have missed and connect you to articles and resources.  

This week the International AIDS Conference  was in Washington, DC for the first time in 22 years, shining a spotlight on HIV/AIDS both in America and around the world. For us at USICH, this conference also pointed to the topic of housing instability and homelessness among those with HIV/AIDS in America. There are more than 1 million people in the United States currently living with HIV/AIDS, and for those with low incomes or experiencing homelessness, managing the disease is complicated and expensive...


26/07/2012 - The Affordable Care Act and Homelessness

When USICH released Opening Doors in June 2010, the Affordable Care Act had passed in March, just three months earlier. The second anniversary of Opening Doors occurred the same time that the Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since the law was largely upheld, many of the provisions that will help us prevent and end homelessness are still in place. The provision giving states greater choice around Medicaid expansion, however, means that some of the original promise of the ACA in the fight against homelessness will be, in some parts of the country, up in the air, at least for a while.

Remaining provisions of the law that will prove helpful for populations experiencing homelessness are the expansion of affordable insurance coverage through state health insurance exchanges and the expansion of community health centers. Better access to affordable insurance that covers people with pre-existing conditions and does not limit coverage when you get sick can act as homelessness prevention for many. 

25/07/2012 - So why no party? Personal reflections on the 25th anniversary of the McKinney Act

I'm a person who loves a good celebration - whether it's a birthday party or a housewarming for new neighbors or marking a milestone in an organization's history. This week, we could have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness and enactment of the landmark Stewart B. McKinney Act. Instead, I'm more saddened than celebratory. 

Twenty five years ago, I was working in Cincinnati as part of the movement to end homelessness. I was active in the leadership of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and Bethany House of Hospitality (now Bethany House Services). At the time, we believed that the passage of the McKinney Act signaled that the country had found the political will to end homelessness....

20/07/2012 - What We Heard About Resort Communities and Homelessness at the NAEH Conference

USICH hosted a listening session on homelessness in resort communities at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference earlier this week. USICH Regional Coordinators Amy Sawyer and Matthew Doherty share their take away thoughts on this session.

With post card views, enviable temperatures, diverse recreation and entertainment options, resort and destination communities attract thousands of tourists and often feature housing for which people will pay a pretty penny – but such communities often also feature low-wage and seasonal employment opportunities and have significant populations of people experiencing homelessness.  Late on the second afternoon of the National Conference on Ending Homelessness , service providers, police officers, government agency representatives, and health care providers joined together  to talk about the less-than-sunny side of living in a resort community. During the session questions on what housing crisis looks like in resort communities, how people experience it, and how such communities respond to homelessness were explored.

18/07/2012 - Youth Homelessness Champions of Change

On July 12, the White House, along with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, honored 13 leaders who have made a significant difference in the way their communities address homelessness among children and youth at Champions of Change in the Fight Against Youth Homelessness event

The Champions of Change event provided an opportunity for community leaders, agency representatives and various White House officials to share and discuss effective ways to make change to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children and youth.

13/07/2012 - Listening to the NAEHCY/LeTendre Scholars: The Needs of Youth Experiencing Homelessness

On June 18, one day before participating in a Congressional briefing on youth homelessness, the 2010 recipients of the NAEHCY/LeTendre Scholarship, all currently and formerly homeless youth, came to the USICH office in Washington, D.C. to share their experiences and offer their first-hand accounts of the obstacles faced with exiting youth homelessness.

Established in 1998, the NAEHCY/LeTendre Scholarship funds are available to students who are homeless or who have been homeless during their school attendance and who have demonstrated higher than average achievement.  To date, 222 youth representing 38 states have been selected as NAEHCY/LeTendre Scholars.  USICH had the great opportunity to visit with thirteen of them.

03/07/2012 - Top Ten Reasons Homeless Advocates Care about the New Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Program

On May 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published the highly anticipated Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for HUD’s Fiscal Year 2012 Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRA Demo) Program. The PRA Demo NOFA announces the availability – for the first time – of $85 million in funding to identify, stimulate, and support innovative state-level partnerships and strategies that will transform and increase affordable permanent supportive housing (PSH) for extremely low income people with disabilities including those experiencing homelessness.