Report Finds State Plans Reject Federal Emphasis on Chronic Homelessness

Mar 24, 2011, 11:53 ET from Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

New ICPH report examines successful strategies for implementing statewide plans to end homelessness

NEW YORK, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- All levels of government have struggled with managing homelessness. On an average night in the United States, roughly 650,000 people are homeless: living in shelters, doubled up with family and friends, or sleeping on the streets. Beginning in the early 2000s, states began developing statewide plans to confront this issue, and currently there are 28 approved state plans to end homelessness. Today, many of these plans are approaching their midpoints and undergoing revisions while other states remain without plans. With a new federal plan to alleviate homelessness in place and changes to the HEARTH Act pending, the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) examined the scope and effectiveness of the existing state plans through qualitative interviews with government employees and nonprofit representatives.

"This report uses shared experiences across states to assist stakeholders in thoughtfully tailoring their plans for ending homelessness so that they truly move from page to action and ultimately [to] the outcomes envisioned," says Matthew Adams, principal policy analyst at ICPH.

"Beyond Chronic Homelessness: A Review of Statewide Plans" reflects on past progress to inform future efforts. ICPH focused on (1) the effect of the federal emphasis on chronic homelessness on the contents of statewide plans, and (2) the main determinants of successful implementation of plan goals. Key findings and subsequent policy recommendations from the report are as follows:

  • Despite federal emphasis on chronically homeless individuals, states predominantly chose to tailor the scope of their plans to local needs, whether they targeted chronically homeless or not.
  • Respondents cited actionable goals that were realistic and specific with timelines, measurable outcomes, funding, and yearly benchmarks as well as progress reports and updates to overcome stalled progress or enact necessary changes.
  • Collaboration is one of the top three factors that help or hinder goal implementation. By sharing timely and frequent communication between organizations, collaboration allows government agencies and service providers to respond quickly and efficiently to emerging issues.
  • Innovative states are not using the current economic times as an excuse but instead are relying on unique funding options, from creative taxes to tying the grant application process to plan goals.

The 28 states with approved statewide plans to end homelessness are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. For the full report and the policy recommendations highlighting innovative state strategies, go to

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is an independent nonprofit research organization based in New York City. ICPH studies the impact of poverty on family and child well-being and generates research that will enhance public policies and programs affecting poor or homeless children and their families. Specifically, ICPH examines the condition of extreme poverty in the United States and its effect on educational attainment, housing, employment, child welfare, domestic violence, and family wellness. Please visit our Web site for more information.

SOURCE Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness