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Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Opening Doors is the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors serves as a roadmap for joint action by the 19 USICH member agencies along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The current chair is Secretary Thomas E. Perez of the U.S. Department of Labor. Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serves as the vice chair.

In fall 2011, ACF's  Administration for Children, Youth and Families and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) began meeting to develop the framework for a plan to end youth homelessness. The group consisted of representatives from most federal agencies, with the most active partners being the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), USICH,  the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education (ED).

 In September 2012, USICH released an Amendment to Opening Doors, which was developed to specifically address what strategies and supports should be implemented to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth, and the steps that need to be taken to assist unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness.  The Youth Intervention Framework incorporates four main elements, with the assumption that elements will continue to be phased in over time. 

The four elements were incorporated into data and capacity strategies. They include:

  1. Plans to arrive at a confident estimate of the number of youth facing homelessness
  2. An intervention model to organize how to collectively achieve desired outcomes: stable housing, permanent connections, education and employment, and well‐being
  3. Increasing evidence of effective interventions with homeless young people, including particularly vulnerable subpopulations: foster care, LGBTQ, juvenile justice, and pregnant/parenting
  4. Performing a gaps analysis to better understand the current Federal capacity and funding streams available to serve homeless youth and determine what’s missing

This pilot initiative, led by HUD, will help federal agencies and local communities learn more about implementing community-wide strategies for preventing the homelessness of at-risk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and quickly ending the homelessness of LGBTQ youth presenting as homeless for the first time.  The two participating communities -- Cincinnati, OH and Houston, TX –are working to implement the USICH Youth Intervention Model, along with best practices for developing culturally competent and developmentally appropriate interventions for LGBTQ youth, and have been engaged in a creative collaboration process to align existing resources between HUD Continuum of Care, Family Youth Services Bureau Runaway and Homeless Youth providers, local school districts, and other youth stakeholders. This pilot will help HUD, HHS, ED and their federal partners develop national guidance and recommendations to improve their programs. These lessons will also help improve community-level youth-specific homeless prevention efforts across the country.



Last Reviewed: February 26, 2016
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