U.S. Government’s Action On Homelessness Heads Off In New Directions

A tent city on the Washington D.C. capital mall, has the Capitol Building in the background
This scene was created by affordablehousingaction.org and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
Has America's homelessness crisis finally caught the attention of the U.S. Government?

Plans to deal with homelessness are not new in the United States, and the one that has just been signed by President Biden is certainly timely.  This post is about some of the strengths of the plan:

    • Homelessness became more visible during the pandemic and the pressure to act has been growing. Leadership on this issue from the national government is a hopeful sign. Local governments, community agencies and foundations have been struggling to assist the growing number of people living outdoors.
    • The plan draws on advice from 500 people with experience of homelessness. This step helps build a relationship between the people in power and the people the plan is intended to help.
    • Also hopeful is the plan’s portrayal of people experiencing homelessness:

“While rates of homelessness for people with mental health conditions and/or with substance use disorders are high, the majority of people experiencing homelessness do not have a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder. Furthermore, the majority of Americans with mental health conditions and/or with substance use disorders do not experience homelessness.”

    • The plan increases the resources that will be devoted to stabilizing and improving people’s housing. It acknowledges the importance of preventing homelessness and includes programs to stop homelessness from happening in the first place.

An introduction to the plan via a variety of media is published on the web site of the United States Interagency Council On Homelessness:All In 101 Webinar Recording and Slides: Overview of New Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness