Opening Doors

The Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness was our nation’s first-ever comprehensive federal plan to prevent and end homelessness. It was presented to Congress on June 22, 2010.

The idea behind it was that change would take place in the following order:
1.) End chronic homelessness by 2015
2.) End Veterans homelessness by 2015
3.) End homelessness among families, children and youth by 2020
4.) Set a path to ending all types of homelessness by 2020

It’s interesting that, from the very beginning, the mission of ending youth homelessness was ranked so low a priority on the timeline. Why and how could ending chronic homelessness precede ending homelessness for youth?

If you look at homelessness as an overflowing bathtub – why not try to turn off the faucet first?   Our young people are Ready to Launch into adulthood. If we don’t help them now, they are likely to become chronically homeless later.

Obviously, 2015 has passed, and chronic homelessness has not yet been alleviated. 

They have since separated out:

  • Ending homelessness for unaccompanied youth under 25
  • Ending homelessness among families with children

So, what’s their plan to end homelessness for unaccompanied youth under 25 by 2020?

It looks like this. 

It’s a data strategy, rather than an action strategy. Their plan is highly based on point-in-time counts, numbers and data — which, when it comes to youth aging out of foster care, they already have.

Chapin Hall research has demonstrate that one in five foster care alumni report being homeless for some period of time after emancipating from foster care. Without investment, the cycle will continue: 1 in 4 homeless adults is a former foster child.

Likewise when it comes to transitional youth, they also have the data.

screen shot 2018-05-20 at 8.35.50 am


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