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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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08/13/2012 - A Unique Permanent Supportive Housing Plan and Using Medicaid to Make it Happen: My time in Louisiana

I spent August 8, 9, and 10 in Louisiana with Don Moulds, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services. Don is also Secretary Sebelius’ point person for USICH. We went to talk with people operating and overseeing the Louisiana Permanent Supportive Housing project. For those who aren’t familiar with this incredible project, you can find more information from the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which highlighted this state-wide project as part of their Focus on Health Care Series in February 2012. If you don’t have time to listen to the webinar now, here’s the short version:  after the hurricanes in 2005 and 2006, the state, advocates, and community providers worked together to figure out how to help people with one-time federal recovery investments. What has emerged is a unique model to use these new resources for housing and supportive services to provide permanent supportive housing across the region. Federal investments included Community Development Block Grant funds, Shelter Plus Care and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. 

  

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08/10/2012 - What We’re Talking About: the Week at USICH – August 6-10, 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.

HEARTH Act News:

The new HEARTH Act Continuum of Care Interim Rule was posted on the Federal Registry last week. As a part of its release HUD has posted the rule and several pieces of guidance on HUDHRE and HUD expects to continue to add updates and guidance in the coming weeks and months.

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08/08/2012 - This Week’s Update on Taking Veteran Homelessness to Zero

Earlier this week President Obama signed the comprehensive bipartisan bill entitled “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.” This legislation addresses issues for Veterans in areas of health (including extending rural health access), loan guarantees and benefits, protects the memorial services for Veterans, and compensates Marine families who were affected by contaminated well water at Camp LeJuene. Notably, this legislation fully renews existing funding for pivotal programs for Veterans experiencing homelessness, such as HUD-VASH, more. 

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08/06/2012 - The Siemer Institute on Family Stability: Maintaining Housing Stability to Ensure Academic Success

One of the most detrimental trends affecting a student’s ability to succeed in the classroom happens outside of school walls. When parents or guardians are struggling to make ends meet financially or shifting housing locations due to work, the children involved are often forced to move from one school to another and then another and so on. This constant mobility is disruptive, making it difficult for a child to feel connected to a school, to make connections with new friends, to be accepted socially, but most importantly, to stay on target academically. The Siemer Institute for Family Stability (SIFS) headquartered at the United Way of Central Ohio is responding to the challenge.

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08/03/2012 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH – July 30-August 3

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 on news you may have missed and connect you to articles and resources.  

The importance of integrating health care and housing in our work to end homelessness cannot be overstated. Homelessness exacerbates health issues, and for those living unsheltered, the streets can be a dangerous and inadequate place to receive consistent access to care or recover from injuries.  A safe, stable place to call home is pivotal for those with poor health or those with chronic conditions. Housing also provides a way to ensure that preventable diseases and illness do not occur. 

The mobile van team at Health Care for the Homeless in Alameda County sheds light on these issues at a local level, where they see individuals in need of both primary and behavioral health care without consistent access to care. 

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08/01/2012 - HUD, USICH Hears from You: Understanding the Needs of the LGBT Homeless Population

On July 16, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness hosted a listening session entitled “Understanding the Needs of the LGBT Homeless Population” at the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ 2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. This listening session allowed Federal partners to learn from advocates, community partners, and homeless service providers about the challenges, opportunities, and best practices related to the implementation of HUD’s new Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity final rule.

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07/30/2012 - 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.

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07/27/2012 - 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...

 

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07/26/2012 - 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. 

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