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Community 2020 Forum

The Road Home: Meeting the Challenges of Homelessness
background Agenda Speakers Transcript


This Community 2020 seminar focused on the next challenges facing us in our efforts to combat homelessness in America. A great deal of progress has been made in recent years. Through the adoption of the Continuum of Care and a dramatic increase in federal funding, the number of people served (through the federal McKinney programs) has increased by as much as fourteen times. Significantly more assistance is being provided by local communities and non-profit groups for homeless persons with disabilities, including those with severe mental illness, substance abuse problems, HIV/AID's and physical disabilities. And more homeless people are receiving help in moving into jobs and permanent housing.

Despite our progress, more remains to be done. The problems facing homeless children and families, as well as those with special needs, will require more work. If homelessness is to be reduced further - if not eliminated entirely - we will have to become even more creative and effective. This session addressed the following question - looking forward to the next century, how can government, community and the private sector build on the foundation of the Continuum of Care to implement more effective homeless assistance and prevention strategies?




Andrew Cuomo
Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Robert Coles
Professor, Harvard University

Maria Foscarinis
Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

Dennis W. Archer
Mayor, City of Detroit


Moderated by Secretary Cuomo



Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist who has spent his working life trying to understand the lives of children from various backgrounds. Dr. Coles won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his acclaimed five-volume series, Children of Crisis, and he is a 1998 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dr. Coles is the author of over sixty books and is best known for his exploration of the moral, political and spiritual development of children. Dr. Coles is an eloquent spokesman for voluntary and community service - the subject of his most recent book, A Call to Service. Dr. Coles is a research psychiatrist for the Harvard University Health Services, a Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities at the Harvard Medical School, and is the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University. Since 1961, Dr. Coles has published more than 1300 articles, reviews and essays which have appeared in newspapers, magazines, journals, and anthologies.


Maria Foscarinis is the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. In 1985, Ms. Foscarinis established the Washington office of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Since that time, she has represented homeless persons at the national level and coordinated the original campaign to secure a federal response to homelessness. Ms. Foscarinis is a primary architect of federal legislation including the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, which is the first and only major legislation addressing homelessness. She has litigated to secure legal rights for homeless persons, and has directed numerous investigative reports on the criminalization of homelessness and the forced separation of homeless families and other topics.


Dennis Archer was elected mayor of Detroit, Michigan in 1993. Prior to being elected mayor, Archer was named by Newsweek magazine as one of the 25 Most Dynamic Mayors in America, and his leadership has been cited by many as a driving force behind the revitalization of Detroit. Mayor Archer, with broad community and business support, led a successful effort for Detroit to be chosen as one of six cities for Federal Empowerment Zone designation. Under his leadership, Detroit is receiving national recognition for its current economic recovery. In 1994, he convened the Task Force on Homelessness to develop a comprehensive homeless strategy. The city is implementing a model homeless service delivery system that includes close collaboration with service providers. In March 1997, Mayor Archer was awarded the Public Sector Achievement Award by the National Alliance to End Homelessness in recognition of Detroit's successful Continuum of Care program. Mayor Archer has been elected to the Advisory Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and to the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Black Mayors. In January 1997, Archer was appointed to the National League of Cities Community and Economic Development Committee as Vice Chair.



Content Archived: April 15, 2011

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