Biden administration’s plan to end homelessness features ‘gender-affirming’ care

Albuquerque Homeless Lawsuit
Rhonda Salazar, left, and a small group gather to keep warm around a fire at a makeshift camp under Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, N.M., on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and others are suing the city of Albuquerque to stop officials in the state’s largest city from destroying homeless encampments and jailing and fining people who are living on the street. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) Adolphe Pierre-Louis/AP

Biden administration’s plan to end homelessness features ‘gender-affirming’ care

A plan unveiled by the Biden administration on Monday to prevent and end homelessness features calls for shelters to incorporate gender-affirming care in their slate of services.

Under the plan, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness will continue working with local groups to provide technical assistance on inclusive models for tending to the homeless, including “gender-affirming care” and other types of services that distressed populations might need.

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The plan outlines ways to “encourage partnerships between providers of housing, aging and disability services, and health care … and create better resources for providers to connect program participants to culturally appropriate and gender-affirming housing resources.”

Throughout the report, which is titled “All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” the Interagency Council on Homelessness emphasized the importance of addressing inequalities in homeless populations and the needs specific to different groups, such as minorities and the LGBT community.

A study cited in the report found that a majority of youth shelters have already been implementing many of the Housing and Urban Development’s gender-affirming policies.

Those gender-affirming policies refer to “processes whereby a person receives social recognition, value, and support for their gender identity and expression,” according to the report. Some of those policies include updating “dress code policies from a universal design perspective.”

“The key components to effective emergency shelter include culturally appropriate, gender-affirming, and specific, low-barrier access and housing-focused services aimed at rapid exits back to permanent housing,” the plan further explained.

The Interagency Council on Homelessness is comprised of 19 agencies and annually updates its plan to attack homelessness. Its current goal is to slash homelessness by 25% by 2025, according to the agency. The American Rescue Plan, which passed Congress in 2021 as a COVID-19 stimulus measure, allocated $5 billion for a homelessness program and $5 billion for housing vouchers.

An estimated 580,466 people were homeless in January 2020, per endhomelessness.org.

“While homelessness impacts people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations, it disproportionately impacts some groups and populations, particularly people of color, and especially Black people. This increased focus, as well as the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to a whole-of-government approach,” the plan continued.

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The plan also discouraged local municipalities from clearing encampments, sometimes referred to as “tent cities,” without establishing “alternative housing options for the people living in them.”

“These ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policies can lead to lost belongings and identification which can set people back in their pathway to housing; breakdowns in connection with outreach teams, health care facilities, and housing providers; increased interactions with the criminal justice system; and significant traumatization,” the report underscored.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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