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Federal Plan To End Homelessness Unveiled By White House

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The White House and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) unveiled a plan this morning to end homelessness in America. The strategy seeks to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015 and family and youth homelessness by 2020. The plan is called Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Among the plan's more specific actions: providing more affordable and supportive housing, improving access to sustainable employment, and encouraging health care as part of homeless assistance programs.

The full plan can be downloaded as a PDF file. The plan leads off with a quote from President Obama: "It is simply unacceptable for individuals, children, families and our nation's Veterans to be faced with homelessness in this country."

For all of its ambition, Opening Doors contains relatively little strategy for implementing its goals. According to the plan, many of these strategies have not been devised yet.

USICH staff are working in partnership with the 19 Council member agencies and with other key stakeholders to begin the planning that could operationalize each strategy. Through the planning and implementation process, the feasibility of the strategies wil be assessed with some strategies taking longer to operationalize. Some strategies may prove not to be feasible to implement at scale.

Executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Maria Foscarinis, describes the plan as an "important policy document and a good first step." The action and implementation, she says, are a different matter.