Obama Administration Deepens Commitment to End Homelessness

Obama Administration Deepens Commitment to End Homelessness

The USICH Council met on July 18, 2014 to discuss progress and planned actions to increase the degree to which Federal mainstream programs and resources are being brought to bear in efforts to end homelessness.

Council Selects Labor Secretary Thomas Perez as Chair, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Vice Chair

A Message from Laura Green Zeilinger

Every day, all across the country, front-line providers and practitioners, advocates and outreach workers are applying their dedication, skill, and passion to support our nation's Veterans, families, youth and our most vulnerable neighbors to find hope and housing. The Obama Administration is proud of the work communities have done to convert challenges into opportunities and to end homelessness for so many Americans. In confronting the obstacles and challenges that remain, we are fully your partner.

In the four years since the launch of Opening Doors, together we have shown that homelessness is a solvable problem. Yet, we must work smarter, and with stronger partnerships, if we are going to solve it. We need to do more of what works: using data to drive results and implementing evidence-based practices like permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing and community-wide adoption of Housing First. And we need to better leverage the array of mainstream programs in our efforts.

The drum beat from this Administration is quickening and growing louder. President Obama is committed to ending homelessness, not just managing it - leading this Administration to more effective policies and requesting historic new investments in real solutions. First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Dr. Jill Biden and Joining Forces, are engaging more partners in the effort by issuing a call to local leaders to join the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015.  Currently, more than 165 mayors, governors, and county officials have joined the challenge. We could not be more honored that Mrs. Obama will address more than 1,600 people from across the country who are working to end homelessness later this week at the National Alliance to End Homelessness annual conference.

Throughout the Administration, President Obama has appointed leaders who are personally dedicated to ending homelessness and who are focused on achieving outcomes. I am pleased to share that the Council selected Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to serve as Council Chair and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to serve as Vice Chair. With our focus intensifying on leveraging mainstream systems to end homelessness, the strong leadership and personal commitment of both Secretary Perez and Secretary Burwell will build and strengthen the bridges between health care and housing and the ladders of opportunity for all Americans-including increasing meaningful and sustainable employment for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Former HUD Secretary Donovan will shift seats at the Council table as the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Today, USICH also welcomes HUD Secretary Julián Castro to his seat on the Council. Secretary Castro will continue HUD's strong leadership on Opening Doors and strong partnership with communities. In fact, as evidence of the deep commitment of both he and HUD to end homelessness, Secretary Castro will give his first public speech as HUD Secretary at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. I am honored to have the privilege of introducing him there.

The commitment of this Administration to end homelessness has only continued to strengthen - so too has our partnership with you. Together, we have changed the trajectory of homelessness in America. Together we will end it.

Thank you for your partnership.