Reform of Crisis Response System Key to Federal Plan To End Homelessness 

Opening Doors, the Federal Plan to End Homelessness recently developed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), contains five major themes deemed essential to address the issue of homelessness.  The last of the five major elements of the Federal strategy is the need to “retool the homeless crisis response system.” USICH states that we must “transform homeless services to crisis response systems that prevent homelessness and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing. “ 

USICH indicates that studies of programs throughout the country demonstrated to the council the need to totally re-orient the response of local, State and Federal entities to homelessness crisis situations.  The new Federal plan calls for changes in planning and funding to encourage the development of coordinated systems to prevent people from becoming homeless and to rapidly re-house families that do become homeless.  The plan de-emphasizes the use of emergency shelters and focuses funding instead on pro-active strategies to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless by helping them retain their existing housing through a combination of financial, medical and social service assistance. 

Danbury Housing Partnership Chair Mark J. Nolan commented “the recognition that we must move beyond warehousing people who are homeless in emergency shelters is consistent with a primary goal of our efforts in the Danbury region.  We believe that if we are to address homelessness effectively we must re-focus our strategy to implement a crisis response system that prevents families from becoming homeless and quickly re-houses those who are forced to avail themselves of shelter services.”

Nolan pointed to the success of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program implemented in the region by New Opportunities Incorporated in cooperation with the Community Action Committee of Danbury and the Dream Homes Community Center as evidence of the effectiveness of such an approach.

For more information about the Danbury Housing Partnership, please call Chair Mark J. Nolan at 203-797-8255 or visit www.danburyhousingpartnership.org.

For more information about USICH and the Opening Doors plan please visit www.usich.gov.