4.4 Interagency Councils on Homelessness: Case Studies from the United States and Alberta

This chapter presents the origins and purposes of interagency councils in North America and contemplates the extent to which they have led to progress in identifying and implementing solutions to homelessness, both in the U.S. and in Canada. We begin by exploring the roots and organization of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). We track the key developments of the USICH, first in the context of an increased awareness of homelessness as a complex social problem, but also its role in a nation-wide push for interagency coordination in order to end, rather than simply manage, homelessness. We then proceed to briefly present Interagency Councils on Homelessness (ICHs) at the state level, particularly those found in Ohio and Texas to understand the diversity with which they can be organized, the criteria for success and the resulting progress and outcomes. The third section of the chapter introduces the Alberta Interagency Council on Homelessness (IAC) as the first in Canada, identifying its origins, structures and functions, as well as its early successes and challenges going forward. We conclude the chapter by reflecting on what the Alberta IAC might mean for other Canadian provinces and the future of homelessness policy and governance across Canada.

Naomi Nichols; Carey Doberstein
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness