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09/06/2012 - A New Way to Invest in Solutions: Social impact bonds and Homelessness

Several pilot programs in the United States have recently begun using social impact bonds, or Pay-For-Success bonds, to finance initiatives aimed at solving entrenched social problems like homelessness. First implemented in the United Kingdom, social impact bonds are an innovative way that some American cities can work with established private and non-profit partners to create real change. So what are social impact bonds and what are the new projects in the United States that use this model of financing?

Social impact bonds (SIBs), or pay-for-success bonds, are a new financial instrument that utilizes the typical structure of a municipal bond, where bonds are used to procure funds from private sector investors who are then paid back with interest if the project can achieve required outcome targets. As distinct from municipal bonds, SIBs invest in social innovation programs that range in focus from the justice system to homelessness and can therefore be used to incentivize change in both public and nonprofit systems working on these issues.

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09/04/2012 - New Research on Who Applies for and Receives Mainstream Rental Assistance

The Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing programs are the largest sources of rental assistance for low-income households in the U.S.  Unfortunately, these programs are not funded adequately to serve all, or even most, eligible applicants. As a result, families often spend years waiting to be offered assistance. New research provides a more detailed picture of who applies for and receives rental assistance, and their housing conditions while waiting to receive assistance.

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08/31/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - August 27-31

What We're Talking About is a 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.

USICH released a general newsletter this week which compiled news from federal agencies, national partners, and cities revamping their approach to homelessness. If you missed it, you can check it out here

A Reminder of the Needs of Veterans Two Years After End of Combat Operations in Iraq 

Today marks the two year anniversary of combat missions in Iraq, a milestone to be sure, but one that must remind the country of the needs of Veterans of that conflict as well as Veterans of previous wars. In Yuma, Arizona, the allocation of the city’s first HUD-VASH vouchers will enable Veterans in that community to have stable housing and access to coordinated supportive services for their recovery. The HUD-VASH program continues to expand to both more communities and to more Veterans because of its ability to stabilize vulnerable Veterans in the long-term. 

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08/28/2012 - Chicago’s Plan 2.0 - Implementing Strategies that Work

On August 23, Mayor Emanuel, along with representatives from the City, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, New Moms Inc., Catholic Charities, and other keystakeholders,unveiled Chicago’s new Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone.  Plan 2.0 is based on the vision that ending homelessness is possible and in Chicago, everyone should have a home. 

Building on the progress made under Chicago’s original Plan to End Homelessness, Getting Housed, Staying Housed, Plan 2.0 focuses on seven strategic priorities: the crisis response system, access to stable and affordable housing, youth homelessness, employment, advocacy and civic engagement, cross-systems integration, and capacity building. 

Chicago’s Plan 2.0 leverages the framework of Opening Doors and addresses many of the actions USICH outlines as essential to preventing and ending homelessness across America...

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08/27/2012 - The Power of Collaboration at Work in Los Angeles

I left Los Angeles on August 16 with both a new “I Am Home For Good” lapel pin and a new lesson in the power of collaboration.

USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe and I were privileged to attend the Home For Good Funders Collaborative event in Los Angeles (previously described here) at which the funding partners announced awards to 30 nonprofit organizations. That funding totaled $105 million of public and private investments  and will result in more than 1,000 people becoming stably housed in the coming year with support to remain in  that housing in the years ahead. Each event attendee received an “I Am Home For Good” lapel pin honoring their support and contributions; such pins will also be provided to every person housed through the funding awards announced. The Funders Collaborative’s accomplishments are truly remarkable and one important indicator of broader change in Los Angeles. 

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08/24/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - August 20-24

What We're Talking About is a 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.

Chicago's Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone Released 

Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with representatives from the City, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, New Moms Inc., Catholic Charities and other agencies unveiled Chicago's new Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone. This new plan is based on the vision that that ending homelessness is possible and that, in Chicago, everyone should have a home. The plan leverages the framework of Opening Doors while focusing on seven strategic priorities: the crisis response system, access to stable and affordable housing, youth homelessness, employment, advocacy and civic engagement, cross-systems integration, and capacity building.

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08/22/2012 - Solution-Focused Thinking Across the Entire Service Delivery System – Making the Vision a Reality, Part 2 of 2

In the first part of this blog entry, Iain DeJong of OrgCode Consulting gave the first five insights he’s gained while working with communities across the country retooling their community plans. He continues his insights in Part 2. Missed Part 1? Read it here.

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08/20/2012 - Solution-Focused Thinking Across the Entire Service Delivery System – Making the Vision a Reality, Part 1 of 2

I have the great fortune of visiting with communities throughout North America that are working on ending homelessness, as well as providing advice to service providers and governments on other continents. It is a pleasure to share 12 insights and commentary in this guest blog on tangible steps being taken that move from the declaration of wanting to end homelessness to sustainable, concrete action that demonstrates results.

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08/17/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - August 13-17

What We're Talking About is a 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. 

LA’s Historic Investment to End Chronic Homelessness - Home For Good

Yesterday USICH celebrated with our partners in LA the $105 million public and private investment in Home For Good, a collaborative initiative to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles by 2016. Home for Good is an initiative of the United Way of LA, the LA Chamber of Commerce, and spearheaded in the philanthropic sector by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This historic commitment goes to further the model begun in LA County’s Project 50 program, which focuses on Housing First for the most vulnerable LA residents experiencing chronic homelessness.  

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08/15/2012 - What You Can Learn from Successful Efforts Around the Country

USICH highlights the work of communities around the country that are making progress in their efforts to end homelessness. These highlights are a part of the Opening Doors Across America initiative and allow communities to share the secrets to their success so that others can learn from them.

Our most recent interview was with Mary Simons in Chatanooga where chronic homelessness has decreased 89% in the last four years. Learn more about how Chattanooga and other cities and states are achieving their goals on our Communities In Focus page.

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