The strategic action plan developed in 2003 has served as the framework for developing and implementing activities across the Department related to chronic homelessness. The general premise of the strategic action plan posits that homelessness is a complex social problem, and ending chronic homelessness requires housing combined with the types of services supported by the programs funded and operated by HHS. The goals outlined within the strategic action plan provided a course of action for the Department to follow in order to improve access to needed health and social services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, empower states to improve their response to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, and to prevent future episodes of homelessness within HHS clientele. Since 2003, the Department has worked in partnership with the states, other federal Departments, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to advance the goals outlined in the strategic action plan.
In considering the direction of the 2007 Strategic Action Plan, two documents in particular were reviewed carefully: the final report of the National Learning Meeting and the activities matrix of the Secretarys Work Group. The National Learning Meeting, held in October of 2005, was the capstone meeting of the first seven Homeless Policy Academies. Representatives of fifty-four states and U.S. territories joined federal agency partners, public and private organizations addressing homelessness, and technical assistance providers to showcase innovative approaches that states and territories are implementing, exchange peer-to-peer technical assistance, and renew the states and territories commitment to fully implementing their Homeless Policy Academy action plans. The recommendations of the states and territories were captured in the final report of the meeting and were considered carefully when developing the revised goals and strategies of the 2007 Plan. The second document that was reviewed was the activities matrix developed by the Secretarys Work Group on Ending Chronic Homelessness. The matrix provides the means by which the agencies and staff divisions within the Department track progress towards achieving the goals outlined in the Plan. By reviewing the activities matrix, the Department can identify where opportunities to move forward exist.
There are two key areas in which the Department can track its progress since 2003:
- The programs that serve persons experiencing homelessness and
- The range of research and programmatic activities that have been undertaken since 2003.