HHS Cites Progress in Fighting Chronic Homelessness
Secretary Thompson Completes Tenure As Chair Of U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today vowed to continue to push for an end to chronic homelessness by increasing the coordination among government programs to better serve those who have disabling conditions as well as no permanent place to live.
"In the past year, we've made significant strides in providing chronically homeless people with the comprehensive services needed to give them a real chance at recovery and stability," Secretary Thompson said. "We must build on this success and continue the momentum to better coordinate services and resources for the tens of thousands of Americans who are chronically homeless."
Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi today will succeed Secretary Thompson as chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the activities of 20 federal agencies that are involved in addressing homelessness and develops strategies to reduce and end homelessness. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao will serve as vice chair.
During his one-year tenure as chair, Secretary Thompson focused on helping people who are chronically homeless to find permanent housing and become self-sufficient. These individuals often face special challenges arising from serious and disabling health conditions, such as psychiatric disorders and substance abuse, that greatly complicates their recovery.
On the day he assumed the chairmanship in March 2003, Secretary Thompson launched an HHS-wide strategy to address chronic homelessness. Since then, substantial progress has been made to coordinate government programs and resources to help this population:
"With Secretary Principi's leadership, this council will continue to find new opportunities to pool our resources and skills to promote coordinated services to reach those in need," Secretary Thompson said. "By working across the federal government, and with state and local leaders, we can help more people find a permanent place to call home and provide the care and services necessary for them to return to community life."
"Secretary Thompson's leadership has made tangible this Administration's commitment to new resources and partnerships to end chronic homelessness," said Philip Mangano, the council's executive director. "Building on the accomplishments of the past year, we are now looking forward to the leadership of Secretary Principi and Secretary Chao." President Bush activated the Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2002. More information on the council is available at www.ich.gov.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last Revised: April 1, 2004