The primary purpose for the development of the 2007 Strategic Action Plan is to refine the goals and strategies outlined in the 2003 Strategic Action Plan in order to reflect the progress that has been made, and has not been made, in the four years since the development of the initial HHS strategic action plan on homelessness. There are two new elements that represent the greatest departure from the 2003 Strategic Action Plan and deserve to be highlighted for their magnitude and breadth. First, the Department has broadened the scope of the plan to address issues faced by a clientele that encompasses not only chronically homeless individuals, but also homeless families with children and runaway and homeless youth. Second, the Department has added a new goal that focuses exclusively on issues of data and measurement; specifically, the Departments ability to document progress in preventing, reducing, and ending homelessness for the HHS clientele. This new goal related to data and measurement includes strategies that seek to identify what types of data are needed to measure progress in addressing homelessness, as well as methods by which to obtain this data. It is important to note that while these new goals and strategies will broaden the focus of the Departments activities related to ending and reducing homelessness, it is not the intention of the Department to retreat from the initial 2003 commitment to help end chronic homelessness. Rather, the expanded scope will reflect the work related to addressing homelessness for families and children, as well as youth, which is already ongoing and critical to the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to the Departmental priority to end chronic homelessness.
This chapter will summarize how the two major changes have been incorporated into the framework of the strategic action plan, and will provide the rationale for the expansion of the plan in these two new directions. In addition, this chapter will briefly discuss the other changes made to the strategic action plan that, while not as prominent in the goals-and-strategies framework as the two major changes mentioned above, are significant and warrant highlighting.