Fenty Hails Plan to End Homelessness

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Mayor Adrian Fenty has joined with the District Department of Human Services to congratulate the U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness on its release of the nation’s first comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness.

The plan is entitled, “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” and is the result of a collaborative effort among several federal agencies, with the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Veterans Affairs listed among them.

However, the effort surrounding homeless veterans in the District provides more than 100 persons labeled as chronic victims with supportive services and housing.

Overall, President Barack Obama’s road map to ending homelessness calls for it to be completely eradicated from the veteran community by 2015. A commitment to end the condition across the board is expected by 2020, and accomplishing that feat calls for an increase in leadership and civic engagement, increasing access to supportive housing and economic security as well as improving health and stability and transforming crisis response systems for the homeless.

“I commend the Obama administration and leadership in the various agencies of the Interagency Council on Homelessness for setting aggressive goals that will make our efforts to end homelessness easier,” Fenty said in a prepared statement. “I am especially proud that the successful partnership between DHS and Veterans Affairs and their efforts to house the District’s homeless veterans were highlighted as [a priority].”

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute, homelessness appears to have increased drastically in the past decade when some 2.3 million people fit the category.

Likening the plight to a revolving door syndrome, the Institute further states on its Web site that while many individuals and families tend to exit homelessness fairly quickly, others are unfortunately becoming homeless on a daily basis.

Triggers for homelessness include personal difficulties such as mental disabilities and job loss. With the onset of the Great Recession two years ago, the situation as it relates to housing market trends, has gotten worse rather than better, according to the Institute.

DHS Director Clarence Carter said Washington should lead the way in abolishing homelessness.

“We look forward to continuing to make the District a national example for ending homelessness as we fulfill the mandate articulated in Opening Doors,” Carter said.

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