On April 16, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) announced that Matthew Doherty will serve as its new executive director. In this role, Mr. Doherty will be responsible for implementing the Administration’s strategic plan, Opening Doors, which calls for coordination among 19 federal departments and agencies in addressing homelessness, as well as establishing and maintaining partnerships with state and local communities, nonprofits, and the private sector.
Previously, Mr. Doherty served as the Director of National Initiatives at USICH, overseeing implementation of national homelessness initiatives and managing the work of USICH regional coordinators. Mr. Doherty has also held positions at the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the San Diego Housing Commission, and the King County Housing Authority in the State of Washington.
In response to his appointment, Mr. Doherty said, “Together, we are at a critical point in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness in the United States; we’ve made unprecedented progress and can point to substantial accomplishments under all of the objectives within Opening Doors, but clearly there remains much more work to be done. While we have seen significant reductions in the numbers of people experiencing homelessness documented through the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count, the fact that the 2014 PIT count identified 578,424 people experiencing the crisis of homelessness, and other data such as from HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs report, serve as a staunch reminder that housing affordability, housing instability, and homelessness continue to be national challenges—challenges that we must and can successfully address.”
Mr. Doherty presented USICH’s priorities for the year, asking the public to weigh in on how these priorities could best support progress in ending homelessness. Priorities include:
- Updating Opening Doors to amend the timing of the goal to end chronic homelessness from 2015 to 2017, provide clearer guidance on retooling the crisis response system, and emphasize the use of data on decision-making and performance management to prevent and end homelessness.
- Supporting the efforts of HUD and VA to deploy HUD-VASH resources quickly and in an targeted manner.
- Preparing USICH’s Youth Report to Congress outlining how federal programs can better coordinate to meet the needs of homeless or at-risk youth, and identifying best practices and opportunities for collaboration.
- Supporting President Barak Obama’s FY16 budget request to provide the resources necessary to meet the Administration’s goal to end chronic homelessness by 2017, to sustain the progress already made in ending homelessness among veterans, and to make significant steps in ending homelessness among families and youth.
- Providing guidance to communities on alternatives to criminalizing homelessness, and on promoting housing solutions that break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness.
- Increasing access to affordable housing by encouraging and supporting public housing agencies, state housing finance agencies, and owners of multifamily housing to prioritize housing assistance for people experiencing homelessness, and to collaborate with Continuums of Care and supportive services providers.
- Expanding implementation of Housing First practices and approaches.
Matthew Doherty’s bio is at http://usich.gov/about_us/staff/matthew-doherty
To read about and weigh in on USICH’s priorities, go to: http://1.usa.gov/1OydU2Q