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USICH Elects Secretaries As New Leaders Of Homelessness Strategy

New Secretaries have been appointed by the USICH to combat homelessness and ensure everyone has access to affordable homes. 

November 1, 2023

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) elected two members of the White House Cabinet to lead the homelessness strategy. USICH appointed Xavier Becerra as the USICH chair and Tom Vilsack as the new vice-chair. 

All 19 federal agencies support state and local efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The new leadership is elected by the council on an annual basis and each agency has one vote. There are council meetings to discuss the implementation of the plan and to gather the public’s attention towards homelessness. 

Under the leadership of the outgoing VA Secretary, Denis McDonough, significant strides were made to combat homelessness. During McDonough’s tenure, USICH introduced the “All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” a plan that reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to the “Housing First” strategy and aimed to address systemic racism contributing to homelessness. A significant component, the ALL INside Initiative, was launched to integrate federal expertise and streamline access to housing, healthcare, and other essential services in seven communities with high rates of homelessness. McDonough steered the VA to surpass its goal of rehousing 38,000 veterans over two years, with projections indicating they will outdo this year’s target. This effort is separate from the Biden-Harris administration’s House America Initiative, which assisted over 100,000 individuals in finding homes between 2021 and 2022. Moreover, in the past year, the VA initiated the Legal Services for Veterans Grant Program, designed to assist veterans at risk of homelessness by providing legal aid, securing benefits, and preventing evictions.

VA Secretary McDonough said, “Every veteran and every American deserves a safe and affordable home in this country. It’s been my honor to lead this council over the past year, and I know that it’s in great hands moving forward with Secretary Becerra. Together, we cannot and will not rest in the fight to end homelessness for veterans and all Americans.”

When many communities are reporting the increase in homelessness, Becerra and Vilsack are taking the lead on homelessness. The rise in homelessness is due to the rise in rents and the expiration of post-pandemic protections. 

USICH Director Jeff Olivet said, “We are thrilled to have the leadership of Secretary Becerra and Secretary Vilsack for the coming year. They bring the experience and wisdom needed to guide our work at this critical moment.”

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The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “USICH Elects HHS and USDA Secretaries as New Leaders of Federal Homelessness Strategy”. United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, October 30, 2023, 

USICH Elects HHS and USDA Secretaries as New Leaders of Federal Homelessness Strategy | United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Last Updated: September 20, 2021