Attendees at the 2015 Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness in Corpus Christi earlier this month were greeted with encouraging news from Eric Samuels, Texas Homeless Network (THN) President and CEO, who opened the conference stating, "We've nearly cut homelessness to one half of what it was 10 years ago in Texas, and almost 70% of that progress has been made over the past five years." TSAHC staff attended the conference. Below are key takeaways from the three-day summit.
Ending Veteran Homelessness is a Top Priority
Conference attendees participated in a roundtable discussion to explore best practices for solving veteran homelessness. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) staff are compiling feedback from that discussion and combining it with solutions from communities across the state that have made the biggest reductions in the veteran homeless population. For more information on this topic, we invite you to read an earlier On The House entry.
Youth Homelessness is Getting More Attention
The Texas Legislature approved a bill last session that directs TDHCA to conduct a study on homeless youth, in conjuction with other members of the Texas Interagency Council for the Homeless. THDCA contracted with Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) to complete the study. TNOYS staff were on hand at the conference to begin gathering data, examining the needs of homeless youth, assessing programs that serve them, and identifying sources of funding to serve the population. As part of their work, TNOYS is conducting a statewide count of homeless youth. Michael Wilt, TSAHC staff member, participated in the Austin portion of that count in late October.
The National Housing Trust Fund May Help with Housing Needs
Beginning in 2016, the National Housing Trust Fund will be a new source of federal funding primarily dedicated towards multifamily housing for extremely-low and very-low income individuals. TSAHC staff moderated a panel by Joseph Lindstrom of the National Low Income Housing Coalition that provided an overview of the trust fund, when funds will be available, and how they will be allocated.
TSAHC and Homelessness
TSAHC plays an active role by exploring solutions to homelessness and providing resources to organizations tasked with serving vulnerable populations. David Long, TSAHC President, serves as an Advisory Member of the Texas Interagency Council for the Homeless (TICH) and chairs the Affordable Housing and Support Services Committee of that entity. The TICH is a statutorily created body tasked with coordinating the state's resources and services to address homelessness.
TSAHC also regularly sponsors THN events, including their spring policy summit and annual conference on homelessness. In addition, TSAHC supports the work of permanent supportive housing providers through grants from the Texas Foundations Fund. These organizations provide stable housing and critical supportive services to many formerly homeless indivuduals. Effectively ending homelessness requires much more heavy lifting, but communities across Texas are making great strides in accomplishing the task.
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.