(L to R) HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,
and Veterans Affairs Secretary Erick K. Shinseki, with Domestic Policy Council Directory, Melody Barnes. Photo/CD Brown.
The initiative, in collaboration with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and under the guise of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Erick K. Shinseki, seeks to end chronic homelessness in five years; prevent and end homelessness among Veterans; and prevent and end homelessness for families, youth, and children in ten years. The Opening Doors initiative also seeks to align with mainstream housing, health, education, and human services while strengthening existing partnerships with agencies like HUD and the Veterans Affairs, to forge new partnerships with agencies like HHS and the Department of Labor.
"Opening Doors will require strong partnerships with Congress, states, localities, philantrhopy, and faith based and community organizations across the country", said USICH Vice Chair and Labory Secretary Hilda Solis.
Sharayna Warmsley of Buffalo, New York (and Ohio) knows homelessness.
"I've been homeless quite a few times", said Warmsley who told us that unstable family conditions caused her to be homeless. She left home over issues of abuse and violence.
"After the abuse I said no, and I didn't want to take it, and went off on my own."
Warmsley said she had been on her own since ten, even though she continued to come back home.
"It was hard to obtain funding or get into programs without ID, or a social security card, or birthday certiticate so I came home."
Sharayna Warmsley shares her homelessness story with a reporter. Photo/CD Brown.
She says the strategy of USICH "makes sense". Although currently unemployed, she shares her story of homelessness with other youth around the country to encourage them.
Homelessness Documentary: Dr. Sheila Johnson's Other City