I'm excited to announce that on Tuesday, June 22, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) will release the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness titled "Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness". The Council is an independent agency composed of 19 Cabinet Secretaries and agency heads that coordinates the federal response to homelessness. "Opening Doors" will serve as a roadmap for joint action by Council agencies to guide the development of programs and budget proposals towards a set of measurable targets.
Each night, 640,000 men, women, and children in the United States are without housing. The HEARTH Act , signed into law by President Obama in May 2009, mandated that USICH produce a “national strategic plan” to end homelessness to Congress. Beginning in January 2010, USICH held regional stakeholder meetings, organized federal working groups focused on specific populations, solicited public comment through an interactive website, and engaged experts from across the country to develop an action plan to solve homelessness for veterans, adults, families, youth, and children.
We will be announcing the historic plan at the White House at 9:00 AM EDT with four Cabinet Secretaries: HUD Secretary and USICH Chair Shaun Donovan, Labor Secretary and USICH Vice Chair Hilda Solis, VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. We welcome the country to join us during the announcement, by watching it live on WhiteHouse.gov/live. "Opening Doors" will be available at www.usich.gov and www.hud.gov.
USICH is eager to share "Opening Doors" with communities across the country. After we release the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, the real challenge will be implementation. While by name it is a federal plan, the federal role is meant to be collaborative. USICH and its 19 member agencies looks forward to working together with Congress, mayors, legislatures, advocates, providers, nonprofits, faith-based and community organizations, and business and philanthropic leaders to achieve the vision of Opening Doors: “No one should experience homelessness -- no one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.”
Barbara Poppe is Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness