Interagency Council Considers Framework to End Youth Homelessness


Seal of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, showing an eagle holding olive leaves and arrows in its talons.Photograph of ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels.Several advocates for homeless youth took part in the June 12 meeting of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, at which the council considered and passed along for approval a proposed framework for ending youth homelessness by 2020. CEO of Lighthouse Youth Services Bob Mecum, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Nan Roman, and State Coordinator for the McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth program at the Colorado Department of Education Dana Scott all responded to the framework and encouraged the council to take urgent action.

Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, presented the framework. Here are some highlights:

  • Categorize homeless youth into three groups according to their risk for long-term homelessness and other problems. Programs should be designed to serve each group using the approaches that work best for that population of youth.
  • Aim the most intensive programming at the young people that research shows are usually homeless the longest: pregnant and parenting youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth; and young people involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
  • Improve what we know about the number of youth experiencing homelessness across the nation. HHS and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are working to coordinate the federal systems that collect data from social service providers that serve the homeless. The Commissioner and the panel also recommended involving youth-serving organizations in HUD’s annual count of people experiencing homelessness.

If approved, the framework will become part of Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness.The framework now passes to the individual council members for clearance.

The June 12 meeting was the first USICH meeting to be webcast live to the public. The next meeting will be in September. For more information on the meeting, see this blog post on the USICH website or watch excerpts on YouTube:

We'll keep you posted on HHS plans to launch a demonstration project that will study how best to end homelessness for the most vulnerable homeless youth.

More from NCFY

Read NCFY’s articles about the Opening Doors strategy, including an interview with USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe.

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