Purpose of Plan. The purpose of the 2007 Plan is to provide the Department with a vision for the future in the form of a formal statement that addresses how individuals, youth, and families experiencing homelessness can be better served through the coordinated administration of Departmental resources. This Plan allows the Secretary to highlight the accomplishments that have been achieved over the past several years, as well as to chart a course for future activities for the Department that builds on the current efforts. The revised Plan covers a five-year time frame, from FY 2007-FY 2012.
Audience for the Plan. The 2007 Plan has both internal and external audiences and thus may be utilized in various ways. The internal audience consists of the HHS operating and staff divisions that have approved the Plan and agreed to implement it as is appropriate to their respective agency/division. For example, the Plan may impact HHS agencies strategic and performance plans, program activities, training, data collection/performance measurement, and/or budgets.
The external audience will be wide-ranging, including HHS grantees and other providers of homeless assistance services, participants of the state Homeless Policy Academies, the developers of state/local 10-year plans to end homelessness, participants of HUDs Continuum of Care process, advocacy/interest groups, Congress/legislative branch, states, researchers, federal partners, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Approach Used In Developing the 2007 Plan. In order to develop the 2007 Plan, a Strategic Action Plan Subcommittee was formed, consisting of representatives from the various agencies participating in the Secretarys Work Group. This subcommittee, working in close partnership with the entire Work Group, utilized an iterative process to review recent accomplishments and to develop recommendations for the goals and strategies to be the framework of the 2007 Plan. Throughout the development of the revised goals and strategies, as well as the narrative text of the 2007 Plan, the subcommittee reported to the full Work Group and revised the plan based on the feedback of the full Work Group. The 2007 Plan was circulated throughout the HHS operating and staff division heads prior to being finalized by the Department and made public.
Major Plan Revisions. As a result of the above process, the following major changes for the 2007 Plan were incorporated:
- Families/At-Risk Individuals. The scope of the Plan was broadened to incorporate families with children and individuals at-risk of homelessness, particularly youth, while maintaining a continued commitment to ending chronic homelessness. By including a broader range of populations in the Plan, the Department is acknowledging that effectively preventing chronic homelessness requires the two-pronged strategy of ending the homelessness cycle for those who are already homeless, and the prevention of new episodes of homelessness for those who are currently housed, but who are at risk of becoming homeless. The significant work related to addressing homelessness for families and individuals is on-going and is critical to our mission as a Department.
- Federal Agency Collaboration. Homelessness is a complex social problem that will require solutions to be developed in partnership, not simply across HHS, but across the multiple federal agencies that dedicate resources towards ending homelessness, as well as our state and local partners. In recognition of the critical nature of these partnerships, specific strategies were added to the Plan to encourage intradepartmental and interdepartmental coordination and collaboration with other federal agencies who operate housing and service programs that complement HHS programs;
- Policy Academy Follow-up. To date, every state (including the District of Columbia) and U.S. Territory has attended a Homeless Policy Academy and is working to implement a state Action Plan intended to improve access to mainstream health and human services and employment opportunities that are coordinated with housing for persons who are experiencing homelessness. Strategies in the 2007 Plan were revised to reflect the second phase of the Homeless Policy Academies, including providing technical assistance to the states and territories around effective implementation of their Action Plans and sustaining their momentum in addressing homelessness in their jurisdictions;
- Primary Prevention. A new strategy was added to the Plan that emphasizes preventing first-time homelessness for at-risk populations;
- Data/Measurement. A new and separate goal about data and measurement, as well as strategies that address the issue of developing a homelessness data infrastructure within HHS pertaining to targeted and mainstream programs, was added to the Plan.
- Disasters. A new strategy was added specifically referring to working with federal, state, local partners and tribal organizations around policies pertaining to addressing homelessness in the context of a disaster.
Measuring Work Group Outcomes. The Secretarys Work Group will continue to meet regularly. Prior to each of these meetings, the operating and staff divisions that participate in the Work Group will be asked to update the activities tracking matrix. This matrix includes key activities that the agencies are implementing related to homelessness and is organized by the goals and strategies outlined in the strategic action plan. Each activity listed in the matrix includes information about the activity, its timeframe, and its outcome or expected outcome. The matrix can then be used as an analytical tool to examine the Departments progress related to the activities by goal or strategy, as well as by agency. Each updated matrix is distributed to those attending the Secretarys Work Group meetings. In addition, participating agencies report orally on their key activities at each meeting; meeting minutes are recorded and sent to participants.
The chapters that follow provide further elaboration on various aspects of the 2007 Plan. Chapter two will outline the 2007 Strategic Action Plan in detail, providing examples of activities that might be undertaken in support of the goals and strategies proposed in the Plan. Chapter three highlights what is new in the plan and the rationale for expanding the existing goals and strategies established in 2003. The fourth chapter provides an overview of progress made by the Department towards achieving the goals outlined in the 2003 Plan. Finally, a series of appendices provide supporting information to the strategic action plan. Appendix A provides an overview of the HHS programs that may serve persons currently experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. A list of departmental homelessness web resources and research reports relevant to homelessness are included as Appendix B. Additional appendices provide a list of commonly used acronyms (Appendix C), a membership list of the Secretarys Work Group, including the staff list of the Strategic Action Plan Subcommittee (Appendix D, and finally, a crosswalk of the goals and strategies included in the 2003 and 2007 Plans (Appendix E).