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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

 

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09/10/2012 - Medicaid: Ensuring Full Expansion & Assertive Outreach in all States

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid to most people earning at or below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL), which is about $14,856 a year for an individual and $25,390 for a family of three in 2012.  (To their credit, some states have gone ahead and expanded early.)  This provision helps unify the current “categories” of Medicaid, where very low income children, pregnant women, adults who can prove a permanent disability, and parents in some states are eligible for Medicaid, but those without a proven disability or dependent children are not—creating a significant disparity in access to care among those at the lowest income levels.  A recent Urban Institute analysis found 15 million uninsured adults will now be eligible for Medicaid, which would allow them access to the health care services needed in order to treat and manage chronic illnesses, prevent new health conditions from developing, and protect against financial ruin due to inability to pay medical bills. 

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09/07/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - September 4-7

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.

Family Homelessness, Children and Educational Challenges 

For many children across the United States this week marked the first week back to school. For children experiencing homelessness, the first week back to school could be filled with hope for a new beginning and certainly many challenges. This week the People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia was highlighted in their local media, one of the many organizations across the country serving children headed back to school who do not have a stable home. 

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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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