North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released a new federal strategic plan geared toward preventing and ending homelessness on June 22, 2010. The Secretaries of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs unveiled Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness together at a White House ceremony. The plan, the first comprehensive federal plan developed to prevent and end homelessness, borrows heavily from the principles used in many community plans with similar goals.
Opening Doors sets four major goals:
  • Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness in five years;
  • Prevent and end homelessness among veterans in five years;
  • Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children in ten years; and
  • Set a path to ending all types of homelessness.  
Results from annual point-in-time homeless persons counts will be used to measure progress. The latest data (from January 2009) showed that there were approximately:
  • 111,000 people experiencing chronic homelessness;
  • 107,000 veterans who were homeless;
  • 79,000 homeless families with 238,000 adults and children; and
  • 643,000 homeless people overall.  
The plan was required by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which was enacted into law in May 2009. The 67-page plan includes dozens of strategies and ten objectives, ranging from "[Providing] affordable housing to people experiencing or most at risk of homelessness" to "[Transforming] homeless services to crisis response systems that prevent homelessness and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing."
As a next step, federal agencies are meeting to prioritize which strategies should be implemented first and to develop implementation plans. USICH will report annually on progress toward implementation and achieving reductions in homelessness.
Read the full report here or download it from the USICH website at
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