As a result of the above process, the following major changes for the Plan were incorporated:. Measuring Work Group Outcomes.
Prior to each of these meetings, the operating and staff divisions that participate in the Work Group will be asked to update the activities tracking matrix. This matrix includes key activities that the agencies are implementing related to homelessness and is organized by the goals and strategies outlined in the strategic action plan. Each activity listed in the matrix includes information about the activity, its timeframe, and its outcome or expected outcome. In addition, participating agencies report orally on their key activities at each meeting; meeting minutes are recorded and sent to participants.
The chapters that follow provide further elaboration on various aspects of the Plan.
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Chapter two will outline the Strategic Action Plan in detail, providing examples of activities that might be undertaken in support of the goals and strategies proposed in the Plan. Chapter three highlights what is new in the plan and the rationale for expanding the existing goals and strategies established in The fourth chapter provides an overview of progress made by the Department towards achieving the goals outlined in the Plan.
Finally, a series of appendices provide supporting information to the strategic action plan. Appendix A provides an overview of the HHS programs that may serve persons currently experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. A list of departmental homelessness web resources and research reports relevant to homelessness are included as Appendix B. This chapter delineates all the goals and strategies identified in the Strategic Action Plan. The chapter also provides, under each strategy, a few examples of possible activities the Department could implement in order to fulfill a given strategy.
It is further assumed that no proposals will be implemented without resolving any inherent budget implications. The goals, strategies, and examples of activities are as follows:.
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Examples of Activities:. Where feasible and appropriate in HHS programs, identify ways to mitigate the long-term impact of homelessness as a result of disasters. Language should also include a requirement that provides for the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of the coordinated efforts. Examine options for reducing identified regulatory barriers. Such approaches include establishing an infrastructure that forges systemic relationships among providers for effective client referral and treatment, more effective leveraging of fiscal and human resources, cross-system training, and increased focus on sustainability of activities.
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Ensure that any agreements developed are feasible and that the response burden does not exceed that which is deemed reasonable and negotiable by all parties. The primary purpose for the development of the Strategic Action Plan is to refine the goals and strategies outlined in the Strategic Action Plan in order to reflect the progress that has been made, and has not been made, in the four years since the development of the initial HHS strategic action plan on homelessness. There are two new elements that represent the greatest departure from the Strategic Action Plan and deserve to be highlighted for their magnitude and breadth.
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First, the Department has broadened the scope of the plan to address issues faced by a clientele that encompasses not only chronically homeless individuals, but also homeless families with children and runaway and homeless youth. This new goal related to data and measurement includes strategies that seek to identify what types of data are needed to measure progress in addressing homelessness, as well as methods by which to obtain this data.
Rather, the expanded scope will reflect the work related to addressing homelessness for families and children, as well as youth, which is already ongoing and critical to the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to the Departmental priority to end chronic homelessness. This chapter will summarize how the two major changes have been incorporated into the framework of the strategic action plan, and will provide the rationale for the expansion of the plan in these two new directions.
In addition, this chapter will briefly discuss the other changes made to the strategic action plan that, while not as prominent in the goals-and-strategies framework as the two major changes mentioned above, are significant and warrant highlighting. For the last three years, however, the Work Group has actively tracked the efforts of numerous components of HHS to improve access to treatment and services for all eligible groups, including chronically homeless individuals, homeless families with children, and homeless youth.
While chronic homelessness has remained a priority, the Department has also engaged in other homelessness related activities that affect families with children and youth, who make up a substantial portion of the HHS clientele.
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The goals and strategies from the Strategic Action Plan framework specifically focused on chronic homelessness. For example, the language in Goals 1 and 2 used the terms chronically homeless and chronic homelessness , and the same two terms were also used throughout the different strategies under all three goals. In order to accurately capture the clientele served by all homelessness-relevant HHS programs, the Work Group decided that the plan would have to be broader in scope.
Therefore, the goals and strategies were edited to include families and youth, where applicable. However, in order to maintain chronic homelessness as a priority, the Work Group highlights chronic homelessness in a few different strategies in the new framework. Additionally, the new Goal 4 which will be discussed in more detail below also takes a broader approach and applies to the whole of the HHS clientele, including individuals and families.
Findings from the research literature show that families are a significant subgroup that warrants specific attention and interventions that may differ from those that are successful in serving homeless individuals. According to the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients, 34 percent of all persons using homeless services were members of a homeless family Burt et al , though more recent studies Shinn, et.
For the purposes of this strategic action plan, a homeless family is defined as one or two adults accompanied by at least one minor child who are either not housed or who have had periods during some recent time period during which they lacked housing.
A significant body of research documents the broad array of negative health and mental health outcomes experienced by both children and their mothers in association with episodes of homelessness. Current research indicates that homeless families are more similar to poor housed families than to single homeless individuals Burt, et al ; Bassuk et al While these studies each examine the experiences of homeless families in only one city, and therefore are not nationally representative, the studies report similar results.
In general, researchers have found that heads of homeless families have higher rates of victimization, mental illness, and substance abuse along with weaker social networks, less robust employment histories, and lower incomes than the heads of housed low-income families Bassuk et al ; Bassuk et al ; Shinn et al Additionally, homeless heads of household tend to be younger and tend to have younger children than their housed counterparts Shinn et al ; Webb et all In considering which families might be at greatest risk for homelessness, one must consider individual characteristics that might indicate a higher chance of experiencing homelessness, such as substance abuse or mental illness; family factors, such as the presence of violence in the home; as well as contextual factors, such as a lack of affordable housing in the community.
Fifty-five percent of the cities participating in the Hunger and Homelessness Survey report that families may have to separate in order to be sheltered U.
Strategic Action Plan on Homelessness
Conference of Mayors Many studies have documented a large number of single homeless individuals, primarily women, who are parents but are no longer residing with their children Burt et al A number of other studies indicate that housing instability in childhood appears to be associated with adolescent homelessness, suggesting that housing stabilization for homeless or poorly housed families may contribute to the prevention of chronic homelessness Robertson et al ; Park et al Other youth who may be at-risk of homelessness include youth who are aging out of foster care or exiting the juvenile justice system Farrow et al After reviewing the range of estimates of the number of homeless youth, Robertson and Toro concluded that youth under the age of 18 may be at higher risk for homelessness than adults HHS operates a wide range of programs that may be accessed by homeless families with children and runaway and homeless youth.
The following is a list of HHS programs both targeted and mainstream that provide services to homeless families:. The Strategic Action Plan devoted one strategy Strategy 2. For example, Strategy 2. Therefore, an entirely new goal that contains four separate strategies and focuses exclusively on homelessness data issues and how they relate to tracking Departmental success in addressing the problem of homelessness for the HHS clientele was added to the Plan.
The new goal Goal 4 was established to develop an approach to track Departmental progress in preventing, reducing, and ending homelessness for HHS clientele. In order to measure progress in preventing, reducing, and ending homelessness, the Department needs to have data systems and performance measures at its disposal.
The Work Group believes that devoting an entire goal and set of objectives to data and performance measures related to homelessness will aid in the process of measuring the success of the strategic action plan. There is a growing desire within the federal government to focus on results and to measure success by documenting progress. In addition to performance measures, the HRSA strategic plan also discusses the need to assess results, program effectiveness, and strategies.
Furthermore, the Department has been pursuing a strategy over the past several years of increasing access to mainstream resources for eligible homeless individuals and families. At the federal level, most mainstream programs are not required to collect data related to the number of homeless clients served.
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This lack of baseline information about the number of homeless individuals and families served in HHS mainstream programs makes it difficult, if not impossible, for HHS to document improvements in access. There are a number of challenges in developing this kind of baseline data, particularly due to the fact that homelessness is a dynamic state; a person may be homeless today but housed tomorrow, thus causing fluidity in the number of program participants experiencing homelessness at any given point in time.
It is also important to highlight that these data development efforts are likely to be fruitless if they are not coordinated with our federal partners. As such, Strategy 4. While the two major revisions discussed in detail above represent the most substantial changes to the plan, other smaller, yet significant changes have been made within the revised goals and strategies of the Plan. These changes address the following issues:. In addition to broadening the plan to address homelessness experienced by families with children, the new plan also incorporates populations who areat-risk of homelessness.
Vulnerable groups who may be at-risk of homelessness include individuals with disabilities, immigrants, persons leaving institutions e. By including the at-risk population in the Plan, the Department is acknowledging those who may be on the verge of becoming homeless and who could become the next generation of chronically homeless individuals.
Specifically, Strategy 3. This new strategy was added to the Plan to emphasize the importance of preventing first-time homelessness for at-risk populations i. The inclusion of at-risk populations further acknowledges that effectively preventing chronic homelessness requires the two-pronged strategy of ending the homeless cycle for those who are already homeless, and the prevention of new episodes of homelessness for those who are currently housed, but who are at risk of becoming homeless.
The plan also contains new language and specific strategies about federal agency collaboration to encourage intra departmental and inter departmental coordination and collaboration across the federal government. Federal collaboration was included in Goal 4 as a specific strategy for data activities, but a separate strategy was added to Goal 1 in order to encourage federal partnership across all Departmental activities related to homelessness.
Strategies in the plan were also revised to reflect the second phase of the Homeless Policy Academies. This PolicyAcademyfollow-up includes providing technical assistance to the states and territories around effective implementation of their Action Plans and sustaining their momentum in addressing homelessness in their respective states and territories.
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