the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Improving Performance and Delivering Impact

Summary: 
Early on in the Administration, we laid out an ambitious goal of ending veterans’ homelessness in 2015. Announcing the goal was the easy part. However, to truly make sustained progress on this goal and drive on-the-ground results, we recognized the need to put in place rigorous management practices that would help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and providers of care improve services for veterans and their families.

Early on in the Administration, we laid out an ambitious goal of ending veterans’ homelessness in 2015. Announcing the goal was the easy part.  However, to truly make sustained progress on this goal and drive on-the-ground results, we recognized the need to put in place rigorous management practices that would help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and providers of care improve services for veterans and their families.  

In 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Agency Priority Goals and the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals initiatives that established a series of clear, measurable benchmarks to help agencies deliver on their missions and drive better outcomes for citizens. VA and HUD’s efforts are prime examples of what the Priority Goals are all about. Each quarter, OMB tracks progress on Performance.gov to provide accountability and allow the public to see how we are doing, what is working well and what is not. Today, the Administration is posting performance results for Priority Goals on Performance.gov for the 3rd Quarter of 2014. The agency reports show significant progress across the Federal government in delivering results, which includes the President’s recent announcement of a 33 percent decline in veteran homelessness since 2010.

Here are some highlights:

  • Veteran Homelessness.  Over the last four years, the Administration has reduced veteran homelessness by one-third (or by more than 24,800 people). To do this, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs collaborated to identify the biggest cause of homelessness and the most effective measures to reduce and prevent homelessness. As a part of the overall reduction in veterans’ homelessness, 35,000 homeless veterans have moved into permanent housing through VA-funded residential and rapid rehousing programs and the HUD-VA Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) through Q3.
  • Renewable Energy.  As part of cross-agency efforts to expand the development of clean, domestic sources of energy, the Department of Interior has greatly expanded permitting for renewable energy on Interior-managed, approving over 14,100 megawatts of renewable energy capacity over the past 4 years which, when built, would help power approximately 4.8 million homes.
  • Disaster Loans.  By implementing a new process for issuing applications to disaster survivors, the Small Business Administration has increased the proportion of its disaster loan applications returned by those who request them in each quarter in FY 2014. In Q3, the return rate increased to 80%, as compared with 50% and 62% in Q1 and Q2 respectively. This higher application return rate means more disaster survivors will receive much needed Federal disaster assistance, and SBA will improve the efficiency of its operations. This new approach also improves customer service by adding multiple touch points with disaster survivors and allowing them to more easily apply for assistance.
  • Federal Real Estate Footprint.  GSA is working proactively with agency customers to refine their leasing requirements and consolidate where economically and financially appropriate. In doing this, GSA is helping agencies minimize operations, maintenance, and investment costs. By the end of FY15, GSA expects to have reduced the amount of leased space by 5% on replacement leases. Though FY14 data is not yet available, GSA helped reduce the Federal real estate footprint by 1.4% in FY13.

When I was Secretary of HUD, we used the Agency Priority Goal framework to take concrete actions that would advance our goal to end homelessness and set intermediate annual targets to significantly reduce the number of homeless veterans.  I led regular data-driven reviews with VA’s Deputy Secretary (a.k.a. HUD STAT) and our respective teams to see what was working and remove any roadblocks.  For example, by analyzing data reported from field offices, we could identify and work with cities that were not using a “housing first” approach, which removes barriers to help veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, with fewer prerequisites. By using the APGs the Administration has made significant progress on our goal to end veterans’ homelessness – going from aspirations to practical steps we could implement across the country to improve outcomes.  And now as OMB Director, I am pleased to help enable these types of performance improvement efforts across agencies on a range of issues. 

The Agency and Cross-Agency Priority Goals are an opportunity for senior policy officials, career executives, managers, front line employees, and providers to come together to accelerate progress on the government’s bottom line outcomes.  By using a data-driven, implementation-focused approach, agencies are achieving significant gains in their respective missions to accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for the American people.

For more information on the Administration’s performance improvement efforts, please visit Performance.gov.

Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget