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Monday, November 28, 2011

Press release: Mayor Landrieu's 10-year plan to end homelessness

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu released his "Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the City of New Orleans" today.

A little context: 10-year plans to end homelessness (or sometimes just "chronic homelessness") have become quite common over the past decade. The first page of an Internet search on the phrase shows 10-year plans in Denver, Seattle, Portland, Milwaukee and Arlington, Va. The model was proposed and developed in 2000 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Now the press release:


NEW ORLEANS, LA— In June, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order establishing the Homeless Services Working Group- an official Mayoral Advisory Committee - tasked with developing a strategic master plan to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness in New Orleans. Today, Mayor Landrieu, along with the Working Group, and officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), unveiled the strategic plan. Support for the plan was provided by the Obama Administration through the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative, a new federal-local government partnership designed to support local priorities through customized technical assistance in six pilot cities.

(End of release plus the full plan after the jump)

Unlike any other city in America, residents of New Orleans know what it is like to be without a home,” said Mayor Landrieu. “After Hurricane Katrina, many who never thought they would ever be homeless were suddenly left with nothing. Unfortunately, on any given night, approximately 6,500 New Orleans residents are without a home including unsheltered individuals, youth and families. This is an urgent issue that demands immediate attention. I’d like to thank our federal partners and our local working group members for coming together to create a workable plan to address this challenge. This Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the City of New Orleans will lead to an increase in available resources, and will improve coordination and collaboration.”

“Mayor Landrieu’s got it right to confront the challenge of homelessness head on,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Márquez. “The City’s plan recognizes the tremendous need for permanent supportive housing and HUD intends to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the mayor, city council members, housing advocates and anyone else in the community working to make this plan a reality.”

One of the overarching goals of the plan includes creating a structured governance model for homeless services. The City will establish the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness (“NOICH”) to oversee the implementation of the Ten-Year Plan. NOICH is modeled after the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (“USICH”) that was originally created in 1987 as part of the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The USICH was created “as an independent establishment within the Executive Branch to review the effectiveness of federal activities and programs to assist people experiencing homelessness, promote better coordination among agency programs, and inform state and local governments and public and private sector organizations about the availability of federal homeless assistance.” Communities across the country are increasingly implementing similar systems in order to retool their cities’ homeless services, and New Orleans will follow this well-established trend by establishing NOICH.

Led by Stacy Horn Koch, the NOICH will be an interdisciplinary, diverse body comprised of leaders from UNITY, the Continuum of Care, business, criminal justice, health care, higher education, faith-based, government, non-profit, neighborhood, and philanthropic sectors. There will also be significant homeless constituent representation on the Council. Meetings of the NOICH, which will take place quarterly, with established committees meeting monthly and reporting back to the full NOICH.

“We applaud New Orleans for developing a strategic plan to end homelessness that is guided by many of the best practices that have worked in communities across the country,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Barbara Poppe. “Now is the time to collaborate with all stakeholders, to invest, and to act on strategies that are proven to make an impact.”

Cross-cutting efforts across sectors, groups, and local, state and federal governments are essential components to making measurable reductions in the homeless population. Other highlights of the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the City of New Orleans include three signature projects that will represent unprecedented civic support for ending homelessness in New Orleans:

• Downtown/Home Partnership - A new partnership between the City and the Downtown Development District that will fund street outreach that focuses on reducing homelessness in high traffic areas by quickly linking those without a home to housing and social services;

• Development of a Homeless Community Resource Center- A partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the City of New Orleans to redevelop a portion of the former downtown VA Hospital site for a homeless resource center;

• and The New Orleans Homeless Trust- A public-private partnership housed at the Greater New Orleans Foundation that will fund new innovative and bold initiatives designed to serve the New Orleans homeless population.

“We have no greater mission than to prevent and end homelessness, especially for those brave men and women who risked their lives to protect our nation,” said Julie Catellier, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System Director. “VA is deeply committed to the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative, which has identified ending homelessness as one of its strategic goals. This is a great example of how federal and city partners can join forces to drive recovery and renewal for the benefit of all citizens.”

The Homeless Services Working Group that developed the plan was comprised of a cross-section of the community representing the business, criminal justice, health care, higher education, faith-based, government, non-profit, neighborhood, and philanthropic sectors. Judge Jay Zainey and Jade Brown-Russell led the 48-member group as co-chairs.

Judge Zainey said, “It has been a pleasure and honor to work with such an incredible group of citizens who are extremely dedicated to improve the lives of the less fortunate in our community. I am grateful to Mayor Landrieu for his leadership and to his wonderful staff, especially Stacy Koch, for their commitment in rebuilding and transforming New Orleans from the ‘City That Care Forgot’ to the ‘City that Cares A Lot’- and which cares for all of her people.”

Long-time homeless advocate and mental health professional Stacy Horn Koch, who serves as Director of Neighborhood Services and Facilities and who leads the City’s initiatives on homelessness and homeless policy said, “We have an opportunity to implement solutions that are patterned after national models. This plan recognizes the dignity and humanity of all New Orleanians. It also signifies this Administration’s commitment to investing in human capital and to improving the quality of life of all of our residents.”

Mayor Landrieu closed, “Ending homelessness in New Orleans will be no easy task, and we must be united in that effort — we are one city that will share one fate. This is our mindset, and the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness represents a start — a viable roadmap to ending homelessness in our community so all New Orleanians have a place they can call home.”

Click for the 40-page plan itself: Homeless_Services_Working_Group__Ten-Year_Plan_to_End_Homelessness.pdf

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