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February 04, 2014

WASHINGTON— After more than four years in office, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Executive Director Barbara Poppe today announced that she will step down on March 7, 2014. 

Ms. Poppe, who was appointed USICH Executive Director in October 2009, oversaw the development and launch of Opening Doors, the nation’s first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors has led to a reduction of homelessness by six percent overall in the United States, including a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans, a 16 percent reduction in chronic homelessness, and an eight percent reduction in homelessness among families. During Ms. Poppe’s tenure as Executive Director, four different Cabinet Secretaries—each serving a one-year term—have chaired the Interagency Council on Homelessness: HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, former DOL Secretary Hilda Solis, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. 

During her tenure, and as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program, the Administration was able prevent and end homelessness for over 1.3 million Americans with the one-time HUD funds. The program also drove innovations to community homelessness response systems across the country, creating coordinated and effective systems of care that seek to quickly connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness with permanent housing and supportive services.

“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to work with the dedicated and talented USICH staff, who strive every day to reach the goal of ending homelessness,” said Ms. Poppe. “Over the last four years, we coordinated unprecedented levels of collaboration among federal agencies; we built and strengthened critical partnerships with states and local communities, advocates, businesses, non-profits, and philanthropists; and most importantly, together we’re ending homelessness.”

Ms. Poppe credits the success of Opening Doors to the leadership of President Obama and the Council chairs. “The President has shown at every step his commitment to ending homelessness,” said Ms. Poppe. “Secretary Donovan, Secretary Shinseki, and Secretary Sebelius have literally taken that commitment to the streets—mobilizing efforts and investments toward the strategies we know work to end homelessness.”

“I want to express my deep gratitude to Barbara Poppe for her leadership at USICH and her relentless dedication to ending homelessness,” said Secretary Donovan. “When Barbara joined USICH, this nation was in the midst of a historic recession that was threatening the housing stability of millions of Americans and their families. Despite those challenges and every economic indicator that said homelessness would be on the rise, this nation made real progress toward ending homelessness. Much of our progress is a result of Barbara’s hard work.”

“Barbara’s leadership and coordination of multiple departments and agencies has been critical in our ongoing fight to end homelessness,” said Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. “She has helped prove that we can solve difficult social challenges when the federal government partners with local leaders.”

Prior to joining USICH, Ms. Poppe served as executive director of the Columbus, Ohio-based Community Shelter Board from 1995 to 2009. Community Shelter Board is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that creates collaborations, innovative solutions, and invests in quality programs to end homelessness in Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio.

Secretary Donovan and the White House are working quickly to announce a new Executive Director who we expect to announce in the coming weeks.


USICH coordinates the federal response to homelessness and creates partnerships at every level of government and with the private sector to reduce and end homelessness in the nation while maximizing the effectiveness of the federal Government in contributing to the end of homelessness. USICH is comprised of the heads and representatives of 19 federal departments and agencies as well as the White House.