Monthly Wrap

2nd July
written by Kate Seif

We’re all very busy getting ready for our upcoming National Conference on Ending Homelessness. Expect plenty of great workshops, pre-conference, and plenary sessions, and of course great speakers and presenters!

Along with our conference prep, we’ve been busy with appropriations, capacity building, and much more. In case you missed anything, here’s a breakdown of what we worked on in June:

Federal funding. In June, the Senate released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. Compared to FY 2012 many programs were flat-funded, which is unfortunate given the increased need and the importance of programs such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program. In view of the current fiscal environment in which Congress is operating, however, the fact that these programs continue to be funded at their present levels is a testament to their quality and the great work our advocates are doing.

In addition, the House voted on the FY 2013 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The results were a bit of a mixed bag, with many affordable and low-income housing and community development programs receiving increases. However, HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants received $2.005 billion in the final bill – an increase, but still not quite enough to cover all Continuum of Care renewals and Emergency Solutions Grant programs. Stay tuned to the Alliance’s advocacy work for more information on how we can secure an increase for these key programs and ensure that 25,000 people are not homeless rather than housed under this bill.

Family Intervention. We hosted a webinar on family intervention focused on building relationships and increasing stability for homeless and runaway youth. The webinar emphasized the importance of making an impact on homelessness among youth by reconnecting youth to stable family living situations.

Rapid Re-Housing Module. The Capacity Building team released a new rapid re-housing module focused on housing search and working with landlords. These modules are 15 minute presentations on how to master rapid re-housing. This module is part of an ongoing series.

If you can’t make it to our conference, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up on all the great content and best practices. Have a wonderful July (and a happy Independence Day!) and stay cool!


1st June
written by Kate Seif

Spring is always a busy time at the Alliance – with Congress busy up on the Hill and our conference planning well underway – and this month was no different!

This May definitely had a theme – Rapid Re-Housing! The Alliance hosted (with sponsorship from Sen. Murray) a congressional briefing on the importance of rapid re-housing in ending family homelessness. We had speakers from across the country discuss the successes they’re having with rapid re-housing in ending homelessness for veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and families. For more information on the briefing, check out the website or our recap blog.

As a follow up to the briefing, the Alliance released a short brief highlighting communities that are doing great things using rapid re-housing to assist families in their systems. We got a great response from all of you when we put out a call for data (thank you!), so we decided to put that information into an interactive map to track which communities are having successes and what they’re doing. To be included in the map, email Sharon, our resident rapid re-housing expert.

But that’s not it! The Capacity Building Team has launched a rapid re-housing five-part module series.  Each one is a 10-15 minute primer on best practices around rapid re-housing and how you can recreate these successes.

We’ve been active beyond rapid re-housing, of course. We were involved in two other congressional briefings: one, featuring Cyndi Lauper, focusing on homeless and runaway LGBTQ youth (see the recap blog here); the second, sponsored by the Homeless Veterans Advocacy Group, of which the Alliance is a part, on successful models for ending veteran homelessness (see the recap blog here).

We’ve also begun in earnest planning the Alliance’s Capitol Hill Day, which includes recruiting State Captains, assessing congressional targets, and creating lots of materials to help participants better inform their Members of Congress about key issues relating to preventing and ending homelessness. If you’re interested in participating in Capitol Hill Day or being a State Captain, just let me know! Capitol Hill Day is, of course, held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, which is right around the corner! Registration is hitting record levels and we’re all very excited (and busy, very busy).

Finally, in addition to their rapid re-housing modules and travel all across the country on a regular basis, the CAP team relaunched their  Performance Improvement Clinics. If your community is interested in receiving customized help from our CAP team – check them out!

And as they say in the business – that’s a wrap!

Image courtesy of J. Star.

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1st May
written by Kate Seif

In case you missed it: for our second installment of the “monthly wrap,” we’ll examine some of the things the Alliance did in April. Here are the big things:

  • A big release from the Capacity Building Team – the “Prevention and Diversion Toolkit” (a companion to the Coordinated Assessment Toolkit released last month) is designed to support communities as they plan, develop, and implement a solid program to prevent homelessness. It has tools your community can adapt, webinars, briefs, and much more to help create an integrated “front door” for your system.  If you have tools you’d like to add, email Kim, our Capacity Building Associate at
  • Our new Youth Counts Map has so far been a hit! Until we have a solid picture of the number and type of youth experiencing homelessness in America, it will be difficult to implement and bring proven solutions to scale. The Alliance is encouraging communities that have conducted dedicated counts of youth experiencing homelessness in their community (or have made a concerted effort to include youth in the annual/biannual HUD-mandated point-in-time counts) to let us know! We’d love to include you on our map – just email André Wade, Youth Policy Analyst here at the Alliance with what your community has done. Good data is the first step in addressing the issue of ending youth homelessness!
  • Our National Conference on Ending Homelessness is just around the corner! We opened registration and released the tentative agenda for our annual conference here in Washington, DC from July 16-18, 2012.  In conjunction with the conference, we will continue to hold Capitol Hill Day (more information coming soon!). Register early to receive the discounted rate!

Some more resources on ending youth homelessness – our LGBTQ National Policy Statement and brief on using RHYA to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. A disproportionate number of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ. The policy statement and RHYA brief work to address the root causes of LGBTQ homelessness, such as family and community acceptance, and discuss ways in which we can move forward to help stably house this vulnerable population.

And finally, some big news from Capitol Hill! The Senate Appropriations Committee released its draft proposal for HUD funding for fiscal year (FY) 2013 and many housing and homeless programs fared quite well.  In fact, the Senate included a proposed $245 million increase for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants – the largest increase in nearly 20 years! While this level is still about $80 million below the amount requested by the President in his Budget Proposal, by our estimates, this is still enough to fund all renewals and provide $286 million for the new Emergency Solutions Grant program.

That’s a wrap! Stay tuned in May for more information on our July conference, some important congressional briefings, more Field Notes, and much more!

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6th April
written by Kate Seif

Starting with today’s post, the Alliance is beginning a new “Monthly Wrap” series. These series are intended to highlight and remind readers of the Alliance’s biggest accomplishments and takeaways from the previous month.  We start the series off with the month of March.

March was a very busy month at the Alliance! We had a full month of webinars, toolkits, and research releases. Let’s jump right in and start with the big stuff:

  • Youth Typology. In early March, the Alliance released An Emerging Framework for Ending Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness and broadcast an accompanying webinar. The framework lays out different categories of unaccompanied youth and estimates the numbers in each group.  The goal of the framework is to match those categories with the right interventions and improve the current response to youth homelessness.
  • Coordinated Assessment. The Emergency Solutions Grant regulations released by HUD in early December announced that the Continuum of Care regulations, to be released shortly, would include a requirement that communities implement a coordinated assessment (intake) system.  In response, the Alliance put together the Coordinated Assessment Toolkit which includes best practices, resources, sample checklists, and guide for communities either implementing or changing their coordinated entry system.  Coordinated Assessment can help communities use resources more efficiently and effectively by ensuring that people are diverted where possible and that people are connected with the right interventions as soon as they enter the system.  Does your community have a coordinated assessment process?  If so, we’d love to share your tools or training materials with other communities! Send them to Kim Walker!
  • Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence. The Alliance placed an emphasis on rapid re-housing as a key solution for survivors of domestic violence in March.  In late February, we pulled together a variety of resources to create a Domestic Violence Toolkit. Throughout March, we populated the toolkit with videos, solutions briefs, two webinars (Housing for Survivors and Prevention), and much more! The toolkit aims to share the valuable lessons from communities successfully operating rapid re-housing programs for survivors.

But that’s not all! Lisa Stand, a senior policy analyst at the Alliance, has been keeping us up to date on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the corresponding Supreme Court decision, and the importance Medicaid plays in ending chronic homelessness.

We released our Media Counts Map and we need your help! If your local press has released any stories about your recent January Point-in-Time counts, please let Pete Witte know.  The map offers a great snapshot of trends in homelessness across the country before HUD is able to release the official data.

And you’ve been busy, too! In March, you sent over 615 letters (and much more!) to your Members of Congress about the importance of increasing funding for McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Grants. It was one of our most impressive one-month advocacy pushes!

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