Homelessness as we know it is at a critical turning point. There are now historic opportunities to shape the future of how the field operates: opportunities born from new strategies, funding, and energy during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a renewed commitment to attain racial equity in the homelessness field.
We know that this work encompasses many local, state, and national forces working together to achieve a common goal of ending homelessness. This historic moment has shown the field to be more engaged than ever before.
That energy is important – and we can use it to shape federal plans to end homelessness.
The U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is currently working to revise the federal government’s plan for work on homelessness, and has already consulted at length with a number of national organizations, including the Alliance.
But now it’s your turn: they have also put out a call for input from the public, and your voice can help to mold the future of the federal response to homelessness. Comments from the public are due July 11, so it’s important to submit input as soon as possible.
Among the Alliance’s priorities for the next strategic plan are:
- Committing to Housing First approaches
- Avoid criminalization of homelessness, since time spent incarcerated makes a person more likely to be homeless longer
- Reinforcing the use data related to outcomes, in order to drive decisions about setting priorities
- Protecting Equal Access to shelter and homeless services, so that people who have faced (for example) racism or transphobia and have become homeless as a result have a fair chance to escape homelessness
- Advancing a federal budget that will allow effective programs and systems to serve everyone who needs help.
Contributing public input can have a significant impact on how federal policy will reflect the goal to make homelessness brief, rare, and non-recurring. At such a moment, it’s critical that we recognize this opportunity, and use it to shape policies and plans that will end homelessness.