Toward Understanding Homelessness: The 2007 National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Historical and Contextual Influences on the U.S. Response to Contemporary Homelessness. System of Service Development at the Local Level


There are numerous examples of how our homeless system of service has been developing and operating at a local level:

  • HUDs Continuum of Care (HUD, 2001) requires communities to marshal an array of partners to develop a comprehensive plan for housing and services suited to the communitys needs and its homeless people.
  • The Chronic Homelessness Initiative jointly sponsored by HUD, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) (HUD/HHS/VA, 2003) explicitly reflects a local system principle in its identification of specific partners and responsibilities to address chronic homelessness.
  • Many of the 10-year plans currently adopted in over 260 cities and counties embrace a system principle (NAEH, 2006c). As communities track their homeless populations, such plans appear to contribute to reducing the prevalence of homelessness. In their July 11, 2006, webpage posting (ICH, 2006), the ICH cites data from 13 geographically dispersed cities, large and small, and all with articulated 10-year plans, indicating reductions in homelessness from 3.3 to 40 percent over a one- to three-year period.[3]

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