Barbara Poppe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Barbara Poppe (born 1958) is the founder and principal of Barbara Poppe & Associates LLC.[1]

Barbara served as Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) from November 2009 to March 2014. In this role, she oversaw the federal response to homelessness by working with 19 federal agencies to create partnerships at every level of government and with the private sector with the goal of preventing and ending homelessness in America. She was appointed to serve as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness in October 2009. In June 2010, Barbara and four Cabinet Secretaries announced Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness the nation’s first-ever comprehensive federal plan to prevent and end homelessness.[2] Prior to her appointment at USICH, Barbara spent over 20 years working on homelessness with housing-related organizations in Ohio.


Barbara completed her undergraduate degree at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She continued her education at the University of Cincinnati, first as a medical student and then as a student of epidemiology in the College of Medicine’s Department of Environmental Health. She received her Master of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Cincinnati in 1987.[citation needed]

Early career[edit]

During her time in Cincinnati, Poppe began her work in the homeless sector through volunteering. Notably, she worked to help establish a shelter for families and children and played an active part in establishing both a local and state coalition to address homelessness. During her time following the completion of her Master’s in Epidemiology, Poppe spent time working as a Field Instructor for the University of Cincinnati in the Department of Environmental Health from July 1988 to June 1990. Barbara then served as the executive director of Friends of the Homeless, Inc. from June 1990 to October 1995 in Columbus, Ohio. While at Friends of the Homeless, Inc., Poppe oversaw the management of all the organization’s programs, including an emergency shelter, transitional and supportive housing, chemical dependency treatment, and vocational training programs. During Poppe’s tenure, Friends of the Homeless developed the first permanent supportive housing for disabled Veterans working with Columbus Housing Partnership and the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter. Poppe led the development of Rebecca’s Place, emergency and transitional housing for single women.[citation needed]

Community Shelter Board, Columbus, Ohio[edit]

Ms. Poppe served as executive director of the Columbus, Ohio-based Community Shelter Board (CSB) from October 1995 to November 2009. CSB is a nonprofit organization that runs programs to end homelessness in Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio. Poppe was involved in achieving community-wide homeless services and prevention objectives. She was responsible for strategic planning and collaborative efforts, private sector fundraising, resource development, effective management systems and private sector relationships. The Community Shelter Board received national recognition for the Rebuilding Lives Initiative[3] that began in 1998, which is focused on collaborative planning and coordination of homeless services for all populations and across sectors in both the city of Columbus and Franklin County. Using a results and performance driven approach, the Rebuilding Lives initiative focused on creating solutions to reduce and end homelessness by the provision of prevention services, coordinated access to emergency shelters, innovative re-housing services, and development of permanent supportive housing. These strategies continue to be advocated by all levels of government and the service provider community as best practices. CSB was one of the first national figures in homelessness services to pursue and advocate for a Housing First model of care, which proved effective in Columbus as well as elsewhere for housing those who have experienced long-term, chronic homelessness.[4] Under Poppe’s leadership, CSB began using its community wide homeless data system to measure program and system performance to inform policy and resource allocation decisions. The effectiveness of this approach contributed to the national movement related to the development of Homeless Management Information Systems.[5]

In 2002, Community Shelter Board received the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Nonprofit Sector Achievement Award for its, “leadership and work to build the partnerships necessary to end homelessness for so many in Columbus.”[6] In 2003 Barbara played a lead role in securing a combined federal grant of $3.3 million to fund an innovative project to address chronic homelessness in the Columbus community, Rebuilding Lives PACT Team Initiative. It was one of just 11 grants awarded nationwide. In 2004 she received the Buddy Gray Award for homeless activism from the National Coalition for the Homeless.[7] In early 2009, under Barbara’s leadership, CSB was awarded a HUD Rapid Re-housing Demonstration Project to serve families with children.[8]

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness[edit]

Barbara Poppe was appointed to serve as executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in October 2009. In June 2010, Barbara joined Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary Hilda Solis of the Department of Labor, Secretary Eric Shinseki of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and White House Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes, to announce Opening Doors, the nation’s first-ever comprehensive federal plan to prevent and end homelessness.[9] She spearheaded interagency collaboration on Opening Doors’ development and worked closely with federal government stakeholders and Council Member Agencies to develop the Plan’s vision, goals, objectives and strategies. She also helped to encourage engagement by advocacy and community stakeholders. Since the release of Opening Doors, USICH continues to work with federal, state, and local leaders to promote best practices and encourage cross-sector collaboration centered on the basic tenets of the Federal Plan.

Poppe facilitated increased federal government collaboration surrounding the four goals of Opening Doors:

  • End chronic homelessness by 2015;
  • End Veterans homelessness by 2015;
  • End homelessness among families, children and youth by 2020; and
  • Set a path to ending all types of homelessness by 2020.[10]

In September 2011, under Barbara’s leadership, USICH released the Opening Doors 2011 Update, detailing the implementation of the Plan in its first year. This Update included progress on the four goals of Opening Doors with data collected from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is the first time that the federal government measured progress in ending homelessness against clear numerical targets, and the data included in the report provides a clear baseline for future measurement. Beyond the four goals, USICH noted progress in areas related to the 10 objectives in Opening Doors, including better use of targeted resources, such as those in the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program; better data collection and reporting in HUD, VA and HHS; improved access to mainstream resources in communities by collaborative work with HHS to prepare for Medicaid expansion in 2014; and increased engagement with local communities by USICH, and other federal partners.[11]

Throughout her tenure, Poppe successfully met the requirements of the HEARTH Act to convene the Council on a quarterly basis, and engaged members of the Council and Congressional leaders on how to best integrate existing programs to serve more Americans experiencing homelessness. Unprecedented collaboration by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has enabled USICH to serve more Veterans and individuals experiencing homelessness with cross-agency collaboration. These initiatives coupled housing assistance with much needed mainstream resources such as physical and behavioral healthcare and income supports in order to permanently house those with barriers to housing.[citation needed]

Poppe announced that she was leaving USICH February 4, 2014,[12] and on February 18, 2014, it was announced that Laura Zeilinger would replace her.[13]


  1. ^ Poppe, Barbara. "Barbara Poppe and associates, The collective for impact".
  2. ^ [USICH, Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness Archived 2011-11-11 at the Wayback Machine]
  3. ^ [1], Rebuilding Lives Initiative
  4. ^ S Tsemberis, L Gulcur, M Nakae, Housing first, consumer choice, and harm reduction for homeless individuals with a dual diagnosis, American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 651-656, 2004.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-17. Retrieved 2012-01-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), HUD, Homelessness Management Information Systems(HMIS)
  6. ^ Community Shelter Board History
  7. ^ Community Shelter Board History
  8. ^ National Alliance to End Homelessness, Rapid Re-Housing White Paper 2008
  9. ^ Opening Doors home page, USICH website
  10. ^ [USICH, Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness Archived 2011-11-11 at the Wayback Machine]
  11. ^ [USICH, Opening Doors Annual Update 2011, September 2011]
  12. ^ "Barbara Poppe to Step Down from USICH Post" (Press release). USICH. February 14, 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  13. ^ "Council Appoints Laura Zeilinger to USICH Eexecutive Director Post" (Press release). USICH. February 18, 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2015-01-28.

External links[edit]