The Trump administration asked Matthew Doherty to leave his position as executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) on November 14. Founded in 1987, USICH coordinates efforts to address homelessness across 19 federal agencies and provides guidance to local governments on best practices to prevent and end homelessness. Mr. Doherty led the agency since 2015 and was lauded by housing and homelessness advocates for his service and dedication to pursuing evidence-based solutions to homelessness.
Mr. Doherty’s dismissal is the latest action signaling the Trump administration’s intent to reshape federal homelessness policy. The president’s budget requests have repeatedly called for defunding USICH and cutting funding to or eliminating crucial housing programs that help ensure millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and other vulnerable people live in affordable, accessible housing and avoid homelessness. The administration has also called for evicting mixed-status immigrant families living in federally subsidized housing, weakening fair housing enforcement, and eliminating protections for LGBTQ individuals experiencing homelessness who need access to shelters.
The White House sent a delegation of administration officials that did not included Mr. Doherty or anyone from USICH to Los Angeles in September to study the homelessness crisis. Shortly thereafter, the White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report on homelessness stating that over-regulation of housing markets, under-policing of homeless communities, and “tolerable conditions for sleeping on the streets” are some of the principal causes of homelessness.
NLIHC thanks Mr. Doherty for his steadfast leadership and service and hopes the next USICH executive director will show the same dedication to advancing nonpartisan, evidence-based solutions to homelessness exemplified by Mr. Doherty.
Read NLIHC’s response to the White House report on homelessness at: https://bit.ly/34kEVpQ
Read NLIHC’s statement on a possible executive action on homelessness at: https://bit.ly/2O5M6Ni
Read NLIHC’s analysis of the president’s fiscal year 2020 budget request at: https://bit.ly/2QCTDVa