Statement from the National Coalition for the Homeless:
The full report, titled Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, is available at www.usich.gov and www.hud.gov.
On June 22, 2010, the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) delivered Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness 2010, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness to President Obama and Congress (available at www.usich.gov and www.hud.gov).
The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) applauds USICH for producing this groundbreaking strategy and congratulates USICH’s success in securing agreement to the Federal Strategic Plan (FSP) from its 19 member agencies. The Federal Strategic Plan (FSP) is the positive result of Congressional initiative which mandated its production through inclusion in the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH ACT).
NCH fully embraces the Federal Strategic Plan’s vision that no one should experience homelessness and no one should be without a safe place to call home. We are pleased President Obama, in his letter accepting the plan, declared “ending homelessness in America must be a national priority.” The FSP provides a frame of understanding about contemporary domestic homelessness. FSP suggests a direction going forward and a set of general strategies that when put into operation may indeed contribute to preventing and ending homelessness.
The Federal Strategic Plan is undoubtedly groundbreaking. However, some of the strategies outlined are vague and without firm commitment to allocate funds to implement many of the strategies, there will be continued need for further discussion and action to address this national priority. Further, “the Federal Strategic Plan must hold itself to the same standard that it holds local communities: clear numeric goals, timetables, and identify funding and implementing bodies to ensure they move from planning to action” said Neil Donovan, the Executive Director of NCH.
NCH commends USICH for utilizing multiple and innovative tactics for consultation with the public, as it developed the FSP and particularly commends USICH for its active efforts and future commitment to engage all stakeholders during development, dissemination, implementation and monitoring of the plan. USICH afforded people experiencing homelessness and people who recently experienced homelessness substantive roles in the plan’s development and inclusion in the implementation strategy. NCH vigorously encouraged this prioritization and appreciates the plan’s pledge to continue to involve individuals experiencing homelessness in ongoing planning efforts. Neil Donovan stated “USICH should codify its intent by adding as a key principle that future strategic plans continue be first person-driven and first person-responsive.”
NCH applauds the development of a plan and pledges to work with USICH to ensure the strategies are implemented as its works towards the mutual mission of ending homelessness. We welcome the council and its members to embrace and fully support and fund the goal of the president and NCH: Bring America Home.