[Hpn] Washington, DC - Ineragency Council Announces Plan To Combat Chronic Homelessness - HUD No. 02-078 - July 18, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Fri, 19 Jul 2002 14:50:50 -0500

White House Ineragency Council Announces Plan To Combat Chronic Homelessness
Will better coordinate federal response to homelessness
by HUD No. 02-078 - Brian Sullivan -  July 18, 2002
Interagency Council on Homelessness -
HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, Chairman -
Philip Mangano, Executive Director

[Editors note:] The Washington Post printed a story on July 19th
as a new $350 million dollar program.  See below - it is only a
$35 million dollar proposed use of existing funds. We are sorry
for forwarding an incorrect notice from the Post to our members.

H. C. [Sonny] Covington, Editor
Nonprofit Information Specialist
Homeless and Housing News

WASHINGTON - Fifteen years after enactment of the historic McKinney-Vento
Homeless Assistance Act, President Bush's newly reactivated Interagency Council
on Homelessness is announcing a new strategy to better coordinate the nation's
response to homelessness.

Included in the comprehensive plan is a unique collaboration between three
federal agencies that would provide $35 million in permanent housing and
critical services to long-term homeless individuals.

The funding will include $20 million from the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD), $10 million from the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) and $5 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The announcement was made by HUD Secretary Mel Martinez; HHS Secretary Tommy G.
Thompson; VA Secretary Anthony Principi; and, Philip Mangano, executive director
of the Interagency Council.

Last year, Bush reactivated the Council, which will coordinate the activities of
18 federal agencies that assist homeless individuals and families and to
concentrate more effort into the prevention of homelessness. Today's meeting was
the first time the Council has met in six years.

"I am proud to announce this Administration's new approach to confronting the
homeless challenge," said Martinez, who serves as Council chairman. "For too
many years, Washington waited until a person became homeless before taking

Today we come together to commit the resources of HUD, HHS and VA as we move
beyond managing homelessness toward a more holistic approach including a greater
emphasis at preventing individuals from becoming homeless in the first place."

"Every year, approximately 2 million people will experience homelessness and
approximately 200,000 will be chronically homeless," said Thompson. "We must
improve access to and coordination of essential health and social services to
prevent new episodes of homelessness from occurring.

At HHS, we are committed to the President's goal of ending chronic homelessness
in 10 years. We look forward to working with the Interagency Council on this
important task."

Principi said, "I am looking forward to working with the Council to end
homelessness among veterans and, ultimately, to work together to eliminate
chronic homelessness in America."

"Today's announcements speak to the commitment of this Administration to end
homelessness for our most vulnerable neighbors," said Mangano. "In
collaboration, a number of federal agencies are creating innovative initiatives
that will bring change in the lives of those who are homeless and at risk of
homelessness and change on the streets of our country."

A critical component of addressing the needs homeless persons is to provide an
opportunity for individuals and families to find a permanent place to live.

The funding announced today will be directed to provide permanent housing and
support services to long-term homeless individuals and families.

Research confirms that approximately 10 percent of the nation's homeless are
so-called chronically homeless - often suffering from mental illness or
substance abuse.

Though a fraction of the overall homeless population, the chronically homeless
account for more than half the resources designed to meet the needs of the
entire homeless population.*

For this reason, President Bush has made it a national goal to move toward
ending chronic homelessness in ten years.

In addition to the funding proposed today, the Bush Administration is announcing
a multi-faceted approach toward meeting the goal of ending chronic homelessness
in America.

For decades, the common strategy toward helping homeless persons was to move
those in need through a system of care and toward permanent housing. Since 1987,
for example, nearly $11 billion from HUD's homeless assistance programs have
helped hundreds of thousands of men, women and families to leave homelessness
while thousands of others have come into homelessness. Modern research confirms
prevention is critical if this nation is to have a comprehensive, holistic
approach to the homeless problem.

In another example of interagency collaboration, the Department of Justice is
joining with HUD, HHS, VA and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce,
Education and Labor in Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative to
identify at-risk persons and provide services BEFORE they become homeless.

The purpose of this $100 million program is to prepare offenders for life
outside of prison and youth correctional facilities.

This initiative provides approximately $2 million to states to create a reentry
strategy that reduces homelessness among ex-offenders. The costs associated with
prevention and early intervention are significantly lower than the cost of
providing emergency services once a person becomes homeless.

Greater Access to Mainstream Services
Currently 14 federal programs totaling $2.2 billion a year help homeless persons
in America, including more than $1 billion annually from HUD. Only a fraction of
homeless individuals and families, however, have sufficient access to
approximately $500 billion in mainstream services including Medicaid, TANF, Food
Stamps, and mental health and drug/alcohol addiction programs.

To provide greater access to these significant mainstream services, HUD, HHS and
VA are sponsoring a series of regional "policy academies" across the country for
state and local governments. These policy academies will now be offered to every
state to provide local leaders the technical assistance they need to direct
these necessary services toward homeless persons.

While homelessness impacts entire communities, children are especially affected.
Homeless children often do not receive the proper education that comes from a
stable home environment, often moving from classroom to classroom as their
families' circumstances change.

As part of the President's "No Child Left Behind" initiative, the Department of
Education is creating a liaison for homeless children in every school district
in America. By having a dedicated person to assist homeless families, local
schools can better serve children who have heretofore been underserved in
schools. These liaisons will be responsible for ensuring these children have the
access to the educational resources they will need to break the cycle of

Community and Faith-Based Involvement
Recognizing that grassroots community and faith-based organizations are already
providing a network of social service to meet the needs of the homeless,
President Bush is attempting to remove existing barriers that preclude the
participation of these important groups in federal funding opportunities.

By rallying these "armies of compassion," the Administration hopes to tap into a
crucial resource that, when leveraged with federal and other public-private
resources, will further assist individuals and families without a home.

Background on the Interagency Council
Congress established the Interagency Council in 1987 with the passage of the
Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. Over the past six years, however,
the Council was relatively dormant.

Last year, President Bush reactivated the Interagency Council to better
coordinate the activities of 18 federal agencies that currently involved in
assisting the homeless.

In addition, HUD, HHS and VA formed a joint task force to study and improve the
way these agencies respond to the various needs of homeless individuals and
families. Get more information on the work of the Interagency Council on
Homelessness from the new [July 16, 2002] web site at: http://www.ich.gov

                                                   # # #

* May 2001, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of
Pennsylvania. Dennis Culhane, Stephen Metraux and Trevor Hadley
source page:

Homeless and Housing News