NLIHC Submits Comments to USICH on Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

NLIHC submitted comments on July 10 to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to help shape the agency’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. USICH is charged with coordinating the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies.

NLIHC’s comments stress the need for the agency to emphasize racial justice and social equity and target resources specifically to communities disproportionately impacted by coronavirus because of longstanding disparities. The letter encourages the federal government to address root causes of homelessness by investing in the preservation, rehabilitation, and construction of housing affordable, accessible, and available to the lowest-income renters.

The letter directs USICH to continue pursuing evidence-based approaches to ending homelessness, such as Housing First, rather than promoting “ineffective inhumane, and expensive ways of ‘addressing’ homelessness,” including using law enforcement to force people experiencing unsheltered homelessness into high-barrier shelters. USICH Director Robert Marbut has repeatedly rejected Housing First, calling instead for large-scale shelters with treatment facilities where people experiencing homelessness must “earn” the right to sleep in shelter beds (see Memo, 12/9/19).

In addition to submitting independent comments, NLIHC joined our national partners in submitting a joint comment to USICH recommending the agency “develop and implement a racial justice and equity initiative that cuts across all member federal agencies and dedicated funding streams.” The joint letter emphasizes that the federal government should target resources to communities most in-need; decriminalize homelessness; oppose harmful work requirements, time limits, rent increases, and other barriers for people being served in the homelessness system; and increase investments in permanent supportive housing.

Read NLIHC’s comments here:

Read the joint comments here: