The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is an independent federal agency within the U.S. executive branch that leads the implementation of the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. It drives action among 19 federal member agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Energy, Homeless Security, Interior, and Justice, among others. Individuals can sign up for USICH’s mailing list here.
One of USICH’s primary goals is to collaborate with federal agencies and local initiatives to end youth homelessness. It has collaborated with communities on the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program and the Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness grants, as well as supporting the urgent action of communities pursuing aggressive 100-Day Challenge goals and other efforts. The following USICH resources may be of particular interest to the runaway and homeless youth community.
- The State Data and Contacts Map shows estimates of people and families experiencing homelessness as reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the most recent Point-in-Time (PIT) count. The rate of homelessness in each state is calculated using recent U.S. Census Population Estimates.
- The Tools for Action Database is a repository of materials targeted to ending all homelessness, including youth homelessness.
- The Challenges We Must Face Together: Findings and Implications from Recent Reports and Data discusses the recent data behind youth homelessness and homelessness in general.
- Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness provides specific criteria and benchmarks for ending unaccompanied youth homelessness. It was revised in February 2018.
- Assessing Whether Your Community Has Achieved the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness is a resource designed to help communities assess how their strategies compare to best practices.
- Using Homelessness and Housing Needs Data to Tailor and Drive Local Solutions provides an overview of key data sources — including both annual and PIT data — and highlights how communities can strengthen their efforts to address homelessness, housing instability, and other housing needs.
- Case Studies: Higher Education Partnerships for Ending Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness features innovative programs from institutions of higher education working to help unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness navigate the transition from high school to higher education.
- Advancing an End to Youth Homelessness: Federal and National Initiatives highlights some of the significant efforts underway and how they are contributing to local, state, and national progress.
- Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness: A Coordinated Community Response provides a preliminary vision for a coordinated response to ending youth homelessness.
A significant achievement by USICH was the launch of Opening Doors — the first comprehensive federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness — in 2010 (amended in 2015). The Plan defines an end to homelessness as meaning that every community will have a comprehensive response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or if it cannot be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience. Opening Doors focuses on four key goals:
- Prevent and end homelessness among veterans.
- Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness.
- Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children by 2020.
- Set a path to end all types of homelessness.
In efforts to achieve these goals, USICH publishes a number of resources related to ending homelessness for runaway and homeless youth.
- The Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness was developed to specifically address what strategies should be implemented to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth, and the steps that need to be taken to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.
- The 2014 Annual Update provides an overview of the progress USICH and its partner agencies made toward the goals in Opening Doors and information on USICH and member agencies’ activities and accomplishments in the fourth year of plan implementation.
- Ending Homelessness: Our Progress, Essential Strategies, and the Work Ahead provides overviews on each population under the goals of Opening Doors and offers essential strategies for the work ahead. A subset of this overview — Ending Youth Homelessness: Our Progress, Essential Strategies, and the Work Ahead — provides strategies to ensure that homeless youth are on a path to safe, stable, and permanent housing.