USICH Releases Criteria and Benchmark for Ending Chronic Homelessness

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released guidance issuing criteria and a benchmark for local communities to use in their efforts to end chronic homelessness. The document offers current best practices, including a five-pronged set of criteria describing essential elements of a community’s activities, and a benchmark to assess whether efforts have succeeded in eliminating chronic homelessness. The guidance states that the long-term solution to eliminating chronic homelessness is the provision of permanent housing coupled with individualized supportive services.

Criteria include:

  • Engaging in community outreach to persons at risk for or experiencing chronic homelessness,
  • Providing persons experiencing unsheltered chronic homelessness access to shelter or temporary accommodations,
  • Implementing a community-wide Housing First orientation and response,
  • Assisting chronically homeless persons move into permanent housing with supportive services where appropriate, and
  • Possessing plans, resources, and system capacity to prevent chronic homelessness from occurring in the future.     

USICH provides an accompanying benchmark to determine the success of these measures. It asserts that chronic homelessness has been effectively ended when “all individuals known to be experiencing chronic homelessness (including Veterans) have obtained permanent housing with appropriate services (e.g., permanent supportive housing). Or, if not all, the number of individuals that continue to experience chronic homelessness does not exceed 0.1% of the total number of individuals reported in the most recent Point-in-Time count, or 3 persons, whichever is greater.”

USICH advises that, while this particular benchmark must be met, communities should consider it within a more holistic set of information and data to determine whether they have successfully eliminated chronic homelessness.

See the full text at: