HUD Archives: News Releases
HUD No. 02-080
July 19, 2002
MARTINEZ OUTLINES BUSH ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY TO COMBAT CHRONIC
Speech to Homeless Advocates Outlines Coordinated Federal Response to Homelessness
WASHINGTON - One year after he declared a national goal to end chronic homelessness
within a decade, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez announced
the Bush Administration's plan to better coordinate the nation's response to
homelessness. Included in the comprehensive plan is a unique collaboration between
three federal agencies that would provide $35 million in permanent housing and
critical services to end chronic homelessness.
The funding will include $20 million from the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD), $10 million from the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) and $5 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Today's speech
to the annual meeting of the National Alliance to End Homelessness comes a day
after the White House hosted the first meeting of the Interagency Council on
Homelessness in six years. Last year, President Bush reactivated the Council,
which will coordinate the activities of 18 federal agencies that assist homeless
individuals and families and will concentrate more effort into the prevention
"President Bush has made it a top priority to confront the root causes of homelessness,"
said Martinez, HUD Secretary and chairman of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
"The Administration's new vision places a greater emphasis on coordinating our
assistance and preventing individuals from becoming homeless in the first place."
A critical component of addressing the needs of homeless persons is to provide
an opportunity for individuals and families to find a permanent place to live.
The funding announced today will be directed to provide permanent housing and
support services to ending chronic homelessness.
In addition to the funding proposed today, the Bush Administration is announcing
a multi-faceted approach toward meeting the goal of ending chronic homelessness
For decades, the common strategy toward helping homeless persons was to move
those in need through a system of care and toward permanent housing. Since 1987,
for example, nearly $11 billion from HUD's homeless assistance programs have
helped hundreds of thousands of men, women and families to leave homelessness
while thousands of others have come into homelessness. Modern research confirms
prevention is critical if this nation is to have a comprehensive, holistic
approach to the homeless problem.
In another example of interagency collaboration, HUD is joining the Department
of Justice, HHS, VA and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education
and Labor in Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative to identify
at-risk persons and provide services BEFORE they become homeless. The purpose
of this $100 million program is to prepare offenders for life outside of prison
and youth correctional facilities. This initiative provides approximately $2
million to states to create a reentry strategy that reduces homelessness among
ex-offenders. The costs associated with prevention and early intervention are
significantly lower than the cost of providing emergency services once a person
Greater Access to Mainstream Services
Research confirms that approximately 10 percent of the nation's homeless are
so-called chronically homeless - often suffering from mental illness or addiction.
Though a fraction of the overall homeless population, the chronically homeless
account for more than half the resources designed to meet the needs of the entire
Currently 14 federal programs totaling $2.2 billion a year help homeless persons
in America, including more than $1 billion annually from HUD. Only a fraction
of homeless individuals and families, however, have sufficient access to approximately
$500 billion in mainstream services including Medicaid, TANF, Food Stamps, and
mental health and drug/alcohol addiction programs.
To provide greater access to these significant mainstream services, HUD, HHS
and VA are sponsoring a series of regional "policy academies" across the country
for state and local governments. These policy academies will now be offered
to every state to provide local leaders the technical assistance they need to
direct these necessary services toward homeless persons.
While homelessness impacts entire communities, children are especially affected.
Homeless children often do not receive the proper education that comes from
a stable home environment, often moving from classroom to classroom as their
families' circumstances change.
As part of the President's "No Child Left Behind" initiative, the Department
of Education is creating a liaison for homeless children in every school district
in America. By having a dedicated person to assist homeless families, local
schools can better serve children who have heretofore been underserved in schools.
These liaisons will be responsible for ensuring these children have the access
to the educational resources they will need to break the cycle of homelessness.
Community and Faith-Based Involvement
Recognizing that grassroots community and faith-based organizations are already
providing a network of social service to meet the needs of the homeless, President
Bush is charging HUD and four other federal agencies to remove existing barriers
that preclude the participation of these important groups in federal funding
opportunities. By rallying these "armies of compassion," the Administration
hopes to tap into a crucial resource that, when leveraged with federal and other
public-private resources, will further assist individuals and families without
Background on the Interagency Council
Congress established the Interagency Council in 1987 with the passage of the
Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. Over the past six years, however,
the Council was relatively dormant. Last year, President Bush reactivated the
Interagency Council to better coordinate the activities of 18 federal agencies
that currently involved in assisting the homeless. In addition, HUD, HHS and
VA formed a joint task force to study and improve the way these agencies respond
to the various needs of homeless individuals and families. Learn more about
the work of the Interagency Council on Homelessness (http://www.ich.gov).
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly
among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans,
supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living
with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More
information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.
Read Secretary Martinez's Remarks to the National Alliance to End Homelessness
* May 2001, Center for Mental Health
Policy and Services Research, University of Pennsylvania. Dennis Culhane, Stephen
Metraux and Trevor Hadley
Content Archived: April 9, 2010