Ten-Year Plans to End Chronic Homelessness
A Step-by-Step Guide by United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Homelessness is a national problem with local solutions. No one federal agency, no one level of government and no one sector of the community can reach the goal of ending homelessness alone. Federal agency collaborations and partnerships with state and local governments and the private and faith-based and community sectors are key to achieving the objectives of preventing and ending homelessness.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness’ work is guided by A Plan, Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in Ten Years. The Alliance’s Ten Year Plan identifies our nation's current challenges in addressing the problem and lays out practical steps that can be taken to change its present course and truly end homelessness. The announcement of this plan started a snowball effect that is now felt across the country. The Administration and Congress have adopted significant parts of the Ten Year Plan as policy goals. Opinion leaders have begun to echo the language and key concepts of the plan and communities and states across the nation have taken up the challenge to end homelessness. Hundreds of communities are developing or have implemented plans to end homelessness within ten years. Across the country, the movement is growing. Now more than ever, our nation is poised to end homelessness.
In 2000, the National Alliance to End Homelessness released A Plan, Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in Ten Years. Drawing on research and innovative programs from Community Plans to End Homelessness?]
A New Vision: What is in Community Plans to End Homelessness? examines the content of Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness from across the country. This study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness reveals that 90 communities have completed plans that dramatically transform their homeless assistance systems. The study also shows that communities must set clear numeric goals, timetables, and identify funding and implementing bodies to ensure they move from planning to action. In each of the plans, communities outline a wide range of strategies, including: creating data systems; preventing homelessness — both emergency prevention and prevention at the systems level; outreach to homeless people to get them back into housing; shortening the time that people spend homeless by using rapid re-housing strategies; creating permanent housing options for homeless people; and, once homeless people become housed, linking them to services and to programs that will help them boost their income and increase their ability to afford housing in the future. The report then goes on to analyze the strength of the plans by calculating a score for each strategy based on the likelihood that it would be implemented.
This Toolkit from the National Alliance to End Homelessness provides communities with the resources they need to develop plans to end homelessness.
We should seriously consider trying to replicate this model here in Westchester. The main thing we would have to do differently from our current housing first practices would be to consciously target the "chronic public inebriates" or CPIs, because those are the people for whom a housing-first model can be most dramatically cost-effective. Replicating this model here would also be similar to OASAS' current initiative to provide intensive mobile case management for frequent users of expensive detox users, but this model would differ from our current practice by including housing as part of the solution.
The Wall Street Journal reported that: "A four-year study of homeless people with chronic medical problems in Chicago offers fresh evidence that efforts to move the homeless into permanent housing quickly can improve their lives and save taxpayer money. The study was put together by a coalition of hospitals and housing groups seeking hard evidence supporting this approach to dealing with homelessness. Results of the study, which was financed by housing grants from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department and private charities, will be presented today at the NHousing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit in Baltimore." Again, we should replicate this model here in Westchester.