Ending Homelessness Now

Ending Homelessness Now

On January 5, 2015, Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans announced that his city had ended veteran homelessness. According to the press announcement, not a single veteran remained among the city’s homeless population. A year earlier, the city and its federal and community partners had generated a list of the nearly 200 homeless veterans in New Orleans and laid out a plan to house them one by one through a variety of programs. The news of this success made headlines, as did the proclamations a year earlier by the mayors of Phoenix and Salt Lake City that they too had ended chronic homelessness among veterans in their communities. These successes, perhaps unprecedented in any recent social policy arena, have demonstrated that concerted efforts by communities, in partnership with the federal government, can make a real and lasting difference for what was once a seemingly intractable social problem. These achievements have proven that the United States is poised to make even more compelling and dramatic improvements in the lives of some of the most vulnerable Americans by ending homelessness—among veterans and nonveterans—once and for all. Ending homelessness in the United States is possible and within reach. Over the last several years homelessness has been declining, including among veterans and people who experience chronic homelessness. This decline is due to a change in long- standing practices among policy makers. The success of current homelessness policy can be attributed to greater reliance on evidence- based practices. Advocates, policy makers (including Congress and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush), and practitioners in the field are to be credited with committing themselves to data- driven decision making rather developing policies based on stereotypes about homeless  people. With further strategic investments, these policies can be taken to scale, and homelessness can become a thing of the past.

AUTHORS: Dennis P Culhane
PAGES: 7-19
EDITOR: John L. Jackson, Jr.
PUBLISHER: University of Pennsylvania Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016