Native American Homelessness Expert Panel

On September 27, 2012, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and other Federal agencies convened an expert panel on homelessness among American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The purpose of the panel was to inform efforts to end homelessness among American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) populations and to provide recommendations for preventing and ending homelessness among AI/AN/NH people.

The discussion focused on three general themes:

  • What does homelessness look like among American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians?
  • What strategies are working to prevent homelessness or to help people who become homeless?
  • What could tribal, State, or Federal governments and the field in general take that would be helpful?

The panelists identified a number of successful strategies, including unconditional housing, ensuring access to care, addressing trauma, incorporating Native traditions, fostering community connections, acknowledging racism, and making connections to employment.