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12/17/2012 - Integration of Services and Housing: an International Perspective

I recently participated in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) consultation on the topic of Integrated Services and Housing Consultation. 

Participants came from across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the US.

US participants included: 

Dennis Culhane      University of Pennsylvania

Deborah Desantis  Corporation for Supportive Housing

Richard Frank         Harvard University

Jennifer Harwood  U.S. Department of State

Donald Moulds       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Debra Rog                WESTAT

Nan Roman              National Alliance to End Homelessness

Robyn Stone           Leading Age

Roseanne Haggerty Community Solutions

David Wertheimer  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

While homelessness wasn't the sole focus, a substantial part of the two day meeting focused on research, policy, and practices related to homelessness.  In addition to those issues, there was discussion around the importance of the integration of services and housing for the aging population, those with mental health and substance abuse disorders, and families with children. 

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12/14/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - December 10 - 14

Today, we released the latest USICH newsletter coveringthe December Council meeting that took place this past Tuesday at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s 2012 PIT Count release, our Youth Count! Initiative, HEARTH resources, and 2013 PIT guidance and resources.

Read our newsletters

In addition to our newsletter, we put out quite a few resources and information through our social media this week. Here are a few of them.  

HUD releases 2012 PIT Count Estimates

On Monday, HUD released the 2012 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count estimates of homelessness. The numbers show that homelessness remained steady this past year, but the numbers also document a 7% decrease in Veterans and chronic homelessness. 

Read about the PIT Count here.

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12/11/2012 - An Important Message from HUD: Recruiting Volunteers for your PIT Data Collection

The 2013 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count at the end of January is an important time for communities across the country to collect the most accurate data on those of all ages experiencing homelessness in America. Accurately collecting data and using it to drive performace is a critical component to a community's progress in their plans to end homelessness.  Below is a message from HUD on the 2013 PIT Count:

via HUD's OneCPD 

As we get closer to the 2013 Point-in-Time (PIT) count HUD wanted to inform communities that we are reaching out to several Federal partners and other organizations to encourage greater coordination and involvement. HUD is encouraging volunteers to contact their CoC Primary Contacts to learn how to assist with the PIT and other opportunities in their communities. CoCs should take the time to ensure that their contact information on HUD’s Homelessness Resource Exchange (HRE) is current. If the CoC contact information needs to be updated, please submit a Virtual Help Desk question on the HRE to make the appropriate change. HUD asks that each CoC prepare ahead of time to know how to utilize the services of volunteers. 

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12/07/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - December 3 - 7

FY2012 CoC Competition moving forward

The FY2012 CoC Competition is on many of our minds. With the recently released NOFA, changes made to the HEARTH Act, and navigating the first competition under the Interim Rule, the environment surrounding the FY2012 CoC Competition is dynamic. To help FY2012 CoC Competition applicants navigate the environment and competition, here are a few resources we have compiled and put out through social media this week:

HUD resources on the FY2012 Coc Competition, including an Interim Rule Guide and Fact Sheet & webinars. Check them out here.

Join USICH for a webinar on Monday, December 10 from 2-3PM (EST) that will include additional information for communities as they think strategically through their CoC application. Register here.

Join HUD for its webinar, CoC Program: Understanding the Role of the Collaborative Applicant on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Register here.

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12/05/2012 - All About HEARTH: A Webinar from USICH December 10 and more resources

The HEARTH Act enacted by Congress in 2009 is, in many ways, a game changer. It gave the federal government the charge to create the first federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, setting forth the vision that no one in this country should be without a safe and stable place to call home. Perhaps most importantly, HEARTH moves governments and local stakeholders from a focus on individual program outcomes to a focus on how all programs work as a system to achieve results for an entire community. This strong statement made by the federal government foregrounds the work of implementing the HEARTH Act in communities across the country.  

The HEARTH Act and the ways it seeks to improve a community’s response to homelessness has come into an even sharper focus in the recent weeks, as the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY 2012 Continuum of Care (CoC) program was released and communities are working on their CoC program applications. In an effort to assist these communities,our most recent newsletter released in November focused on the HEARTH Act; specifically, what the HEARTH Act means for communities, important things to know about the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program NOFA and federal resources to help communities navigate new elements of the HEARTH Act.

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11/30/2012 - Social Media Wrap-Up – November 26-November 30

We have consolidated this week’s social media for your convenience, just in case you missed us on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

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11/27/2012 - Homelessness and Human Rights

On November 6, 2012, USICH joined other Federal partners (including representatives from the Department of Justice, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and State) and local advocates for a meeting convened by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and Magdelena Sepúlveda, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.  Ms. Sepulveda has been representing the UN as Special Rapporteur since 2008 and travels the world bringing attention to the rights of people living with poverty.  The meeting focused on two recent UN reports, adopted by consensus (including the United States):  the first, adopting the new UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, the second, a report by the Rapporteur on the access to justice for persons living in extreme poverty. Ms. Sepúlveda comes originally from Chile and has studied in the Netherlands and in the U.K. and has worked at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations-mandated University of Peace.  The Special Rapporteur pointed out that the lack of housing can be seen as a violation of human rights. In addition to housing, the UN resolution reiterates that all people have a right to justice, including representation in civil matters where basic human rights, such as the right to housing, are at stake.  USICH was praised for its position on human rights as documented in the report, Searching out Solutions, Constructive Alternatives to the Criminalization of Homelessness, which recognizes that criminalization of homelessness may not only violate constitutional rights, but also the U.S.’s human rights treaty obligations. 

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11/20/2012 - Keeping the Momentum for Ending Youth Homelessness: Reflections from Indianapolis and Beyond

Last week, the Family Youth Services Bureau of HHS’s Administration on Children, Youth, and Families hosted two days of training and workshops on addressing youth homelessness at the National Runaway and Homeless Youth Grantee Conference. More than 550 participants from around the country met in Indianapolis to share knowledge and learn from others as we work together to end youth homelessness by 2020.

The Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) provider community has thoroughly embraced the Opening Doors goal to end youth homelessness by 2020. The goal was mentioned throughout conference workshops, it was written in conference materials, and in the hallways of the hotel I heard this goal in discussions among providers, administrators, and policy professionals. It is inspiring to see the resounding commitment and enthusiasm for this ambitious goal has spread outside of Washington, DC and into communities throughout the country.

Given the momentum we have gained from Opening Doors and the USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness, the RHY conference was ripe with opportunity to build more commitment and enthusiasm for the work ahead. The USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness held a prominent spot on the conference agenda at a luncheon keynote session. Jennifer Ho provided an energetic keynote address about ending youth homelessness. She discussed two complementary strategies—getting better data on youth and building service capacity—included in the Youth Framework and explained why these strategies are important to our goal of ending youth homelessness. 

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11/16/2012 - Moving Forward Together: A Message from Executive Director Barbara Poppe

Today in lieu of our usual Friday blog, USICH released a newsletter headlined by an important message from Executive Director Barbara Poppe on moving forward towards the goals in Opening Doors as we enter the second term of President Barack Obama. 

Last week, Americans reelected President Barack Obama to lead our nation for another four years. During his first term we launched Opening Doors and began the tough but necessary work of making our nation’s response to homelessness more strategic, more responsive, and more collaborative across all levels of government and the non-profit and private sectors. Since the launch of Opening Doors, the nation has made progress toward preventing and ending homelessness despite the economic downturn and continued recovery.

As a nation, we’ve reduced Veteran homelessness by 12 percent, thanks in large part to the commitment and collaboration of HUD and VA, working in partnership with local communities.   We also prevented and ended homelessness for over 1.3 million Americans through the Recovery Act’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program, and building on that incredible success, HUD has incorporated those same winning practices into the new Emergency Solutions Grant.  A path has been cleared to end chronic homelessness as communities across the country are achieving real results by targeting those who are most high-need and connecting them to resources and permanent supportive housing. And the strategies and actions needed to end homelessness among families, children, and youth are becoming clearer. Together, we’re moving forward.

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11/15/2012 - New Department of Labor “Innovation Fund” To Test Employment and Housing Services Collaborations

One of the challenges in providing employment services to homeless families is a lack of coordination across systems and across funding streams. Three projects recently funded through the Labor Department’s Workforce Innovation Fund (“the Innovation Fund”) are directly addressing this coordination challenge.

At the September meeting of the U.S. Interagency Council of Homelessness, Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) discussed his agency’s Housing and Employment Navigator, a specialized case management program that offers individualized and flexible supports to link homeless families served by THA and other housing programs to mainstream employment and job training services.

Tacoma’s Navigator is one of the new Innovation Fund grantees and is being implemented under the leadership of WorkForce Central. The program will serve a total of 400 families in the Puget Sound region. Under the program, homeless families are assigned a personal case manager— called a “navigator”—with specific expertise in housing, social service, and workforce systems. The navigator works with the family to develop housing and employment self-sufficiency plans; register for and enroll in employment and job training programs and interventions; and offer assistance in addressing barriers to successful completion of programs and entry into employment. Meanwhile, housing and workforce agencies at the system level are participating in integrated service planning, interagency communication, cross training of staff, and streamlining and sharing outcomes around stable housing, full employment, and reduced reliance on public benefits.

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