Developing a Community Strategic Plan Steps 4-7: Creating the Plan

After gathering the commitment and organizing key leaders, it is time to begin the business of drafting a plan. Guided by the themes, objectives and strategies of Opening Doors, this unique and realistic plan for your community should be data-driven and include measurable targets. These four steps will help guide the second phase of plan development.

4.       Use Data to Drive Plan Implementation

Inform the Plan by reviewing data and research from your local Point in Time (PIT) count, HMIS data from CoC/VA providers and other market/demographic data for your community. Demographic data on homelessness in your community is essential information to develop specific goals and outcome measure results, as it becomes the baseline against which your Plan is measured.

Other data and research to include in this part of Plan development are

  • Existing local and national research
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis of resources/service use by the homeless population
  • Service and housing capacity of your community
  • Community Plans from other communities
  • Budget/Availability of Resources to Fund Projects

5.       Identify Community Issues and Needs

In order to be aligned with Opening Doors, your community plan must emphasize all homeless subpopulations – people experiencing chronic homelessness, Veterans, families with children and unaccompanied youth.

Other issues identified by communities that may call for attention in your community’s plan include the following:

  • Inadequate service capacity
  • Lack of appropriate permanent supportive housing
  • Poor discharge planning from public systems (jails, hospitals, foster care)
  • Inaccessability of mainstream resources
  • Fragmented systems of care
  • Lack of historical leadership on the issue
  • Investment in stop-gap measures rather than permanent solutions

6.       Review the Opening Doors Goals, Timelines, Themes and Objectives

In order to be aligned with Opening Doors, your community needs to first be aligned with the goals and timelines set forth in the Federal Strategic Plan, which calls to:

  • Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness by 2015
  • Prevent and end Veterans homelessness by 2015
  • Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020
  • Set a path to ending all types of homelessness

Your plan development should also be guided by the themes and objectives of Opening Doors:

Increase Leadership, Collaboration and Civic Engagement

Objective 1: Provide and promote collaborative leadership at all levels of government and across all sectors to inspire and energize Americans to commit to preventing andending homelessness

Objective 2: Strengthen the capacity of public and private organizations by increasing knowledge about collaboration, homelessness, and successful interventions to prevent and end homelessness

Increase Access to Stable and Affordable Housing

Objective 3: Provide affordable housing to people experiencing or most at-risk of homelessness

Objective 4: Provide permanent supportive housing to prevent and end chronic homelessness

Increase Economic Security

Objective 5: Increasing meaningful and sustainable employment for people experiencing or most at risk of homelessness

Objective 6: Improve access to mainstream programs and services to reduce people’s financial vulnerability to homelessness

Improve Health and Stability

Objective 7: Integrate primary and behavioral health care services with homeless assistance programs and housing to reduce people’s vulnerability to and the impacts of homelessness.

Objective 8: Advance health and housing stability for youth aging out of systems such as foster care and juvenile justice.

Objective 9: Advance health and housing stability for people experiencing homelessness who have frequent contact with hospitals and criminal justice.

Retool the Homeless Crisis Response System 

Objective 10: Transform homeless services to crisis response systems that prevent homelessness and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing.

7.       Develop and Prioritize Strategies Aligned with Opening Doors

After reviewing the goals, themes, and objectives of Opening Doors, review the 52 strategies USICH believes should be taken to meet these objectives laid out in the Federal Strategic Plan. While in this process:

  • Determine which of the 52 strategies in Opening Doors make the most sense to prioritize in your community strategic plan.
  • Prioritize prevention and intervention in your strategies
  • Include timelines and both incremental and long-term outcome measures that are reported on in accordance with HEARTH Act requirements  
  • Include cost estimates and financing strategies to meet your goals

Go to Steps 8-10: Action Plans and Implementation