U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson today held a roundtable in Austin, Texas, on the federal response to homelessness. Secretary Carson was joined by U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Executive Director Dr. Robert Marbut and U.S. Representative Chip Roy (TX-21) for a discussion with local homelessness providers, medical experts, faith-based organization leaders, and government officials.
This week, USICH unveiled a new strategic plan to reduce homelessness, “Expanding the Toolbox: The Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness” which shares strategies to increase self-sufficiency by considering homelessness beyond a sole issue of housing and instead focusing on the root causes of homelessness for each individual and family experiencing homelessness.
“In a Nation as prosperous as ours, we can work together to lift our neighbors up off the streets and eradicate the threat of homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Evidence shows us that current federal programs and policies intended to address homelessness need some serious improvement. The changes presented in the new USICH strategic plan should be implemented quickly so that we can reverse the trends we are seeing in homelessness across some American cities today and lead people back to self-sufficiency.”
“The status quo is not working, and homelessness is increasing across the board with many cities in crisis,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Dr. Robert Marbut. “Real change needs to occur in order to truly reduce homelessness.”
“From the moment I sat down with Sec. Ben Carson in February to discuss the homeless crisis in Austin, I knew he cared deeply about helping the homeless and low-income families get on a path towards self-sufficiency,” said Rep. Chip Roy. “My hope is that today’s conversation is the first step in bringing Austin and the greater Central Texas together to ensure all in our community have the tools and resources to succeed.”
The “Expanding the Toolbox: The Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness” focuses on eight solutions:
- The importance and power of the dignity of work
- Mental health and trauma informed care are critical
- Affordable construction leads to affordable housing
- Prevention will save money while reducing trauma
- The need for population specific programming
- Renewed focus on racial disparities
- Promote alternatives to criminalizing people experiencing homelessness
- Importance of national emergency readiness
To download the plan, visit USICH.gov.