Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has issued Executive Order 9-13 transferring the Interagency Council on Homelessness from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.
"Ending homelessness requires a collaboration among state agencies, local governments, the private sector and service provider networks to coordinate program development, deliver essential services and provide housing," said Gov. Tomblin. "I am confident the Council's collaboration with these groups will help reduce homelessness -- improving the overall quality of life within our communities."
A recent study conducted by the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness indicates that there are 3,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in West Virginia, with 45 percent being families, 18 percent being chronically homeless, and 15 percent being veterans.
The objectives of the Council and the services it provides are well-matched to the Department of Health and Human Resources' mission. The Council will be chaired by the Commissioner of the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, or his or her designee, and will be comprised of the following additional seven members:
* The Governor or his designee
* The Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Children and Families, or designee
* The Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans' Assistance, or designee
* The Superintendent of the West Virginia Department of Education, or designee
* The Executive Director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, or designee
* The Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, or designee
* A representative from the Office of Economic Opportunity.
The Council will serve as a statewide homelessness planning and policy development resource for the Governor and the State of West Virginia. The Council will develop and implement a plan to prevent and end homelessness in the State of West Virginia--including evidence-based improvements to programs and policies to ensure services and housing are provided in an efficient, cost effective, and productive manner. The Council will also develop recommendations and strategies, oversee the implementation of the plan to ensure accountability and consistent results, as well as identify and maximize the leveraging of resources to improve the system of services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Council will be supported by a workgroup to assist it in its duties and make recommendations to the Governor. The work group may be comprised of state agency staff, representatives of the state's continuum of care organizations, a statewide homeless advocacy group, and other public and private entities as determined by the Council.