This week, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill to protect the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) from being eliminated. The True Colors Fund proudly supports and endorses this legislation.
What is USICH?
USICH drives the federal plan to prevent and end homelessness in America. Originally authorized by Congress in 1987, the agency has created national partnerships across federal, state, and local government agencies and with the private sector to end homelessness in America. USICH has been successful in implementing efficient and cost-effective strategies that have reduced homelessness in communities across the US. Unfortunately, USICH will have to close its doors on October 1, 2017 unless this “sunset date” is extended or eliminated, which this legislation would do, and unless funding is appropriated for the agency in the FY17 and FY18 federal budgets.
Here are 3 True Facts about why USICH is vital to ending homelessness within our country:
1. USICH is the glue that holds America’s response to homelessness together.
- USICH works in close partnership with leaders across 19 federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness, allowing for open communication across the many silos of government.
- USICH helps those at the grassroots level develop tested, coordinated strategies to prevent and end homelessness in communities across the country.
2. USICH does a lot with a little.
- USICH operates on a $3.5 million a year fiscal budget. Considering the total proposed U.S. budget is $4.17 trillion, USICH makes up only 0.00007% of the total federal budget. That’s a very small price to pay to end homelessness in America.
- USICH coordinates over $5 billion a year across federal agencies in spending on ending homelessness. Having a coordinating entity like USICH ensures that resources being spent across agencies are in sync with each other. This increases the impact of each dollar spent, while preventing excess spending and saving taxpayers millions.
3. USICH impacts real lives – and works!
- Homelessness has been reduced by 14% nationwide since USICH implemented its plan to prevent and end homelessness.
- Homelessness among veterans has been reduced by 47%, including a 57% decrease in unsheltered homelessness among veterans.
- Chronic homelessness has been reduced by 27%.
- Family homelessness has been reduced by 23%, including a 65% drop in unsheltered homelessness among families.
“We must ensure that USICH continues to coordinate the varied and essential efforts across federal agencies to ensure that we have the solutions in place to prevent and end youth homelessness – especially for the populations of youth who are disproportionately impacted, like LGBTQ youth and youth of color,” said Cyndi Lauper, Co-Founder & Board Member, and Gregory Lewis, Executive Director & CEO, of the True Colors Fund.
The True Colors Fund is doing everything in our power to Save USICH, but we can’t do it without your help.
Here’s what you can do to join us in our advocacy:
Make some noise! USICH improves the lives of countless Americans, yet most Americans don’t even know USICH exists! By increasing awareness about this agency’s vital work, we can drum up support for this bill and make the case for saving USICH.