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Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

White House Announces Strategy to End Homelessness

The White House unveiled on Tuesday a comprehensive strategy to end homelessness among veterans in five years, chronic homelessness in five years, and family and youth homelessness in 10 years. The secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs, under the aegis of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, are leading the initiative.

According to the National Association to End Homelessness, in 2008, African Americans represented a majority of the homeless population at 42% and 45% of all homeless veterans. White House statistics show that 634,000 people, including 107,000 veterans, experience homelessness each night.

“Homelessness is an issue that crosses all geographic regions and all races,” said White House Domestic Policy Council director Melody Barnes. “We believe that this plan sets the nation on a course to address homelessness and gives goals and timelines to that. It also brings together the resources of all of these secretaries and will relieve significant pressure by starting to move people out of homelessness and into housing programs, jobs and address their healthcare needs.”

Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” includes several projects on which federal agencies can collaborate with each other and with state and local governments. One project calls for HUD, HHS and Education to combine housing vouchers with other vital services to help keep families off the street.

It also calls for measures that would link health care with homeless assistance programs and housing to advance stability for youth aging out of systems such as foster care and juvenile justice, and to improve discharge planning for people who have frequent contact with hospitals and criminal justice systems. Click here to watch a webcast of the plan’s release.