“In communities throughout the country, people are performing everyday heroics in effort to meet the needs of families. Yet too often, these providers are faced with the painful inability to adequately respond to families seeking homeless service, “ writes Zeilnger. “Even when community stakeholders agree on the importance of assessment and linking a family to an intervention best suited to their circumstances, shifting to such an approach might seem impossible —especially while responding to the constant flow of urgent needs.”
The Federal government has identified four key strategy areas for Federal, state, and local action on ending family homelessness:
Develop a centralized or coordinated entry system with the capacity to assess needs and connect families to targeted prevention assistance where possible and temporary shelter as needed
Ensure tailored interventions and assistance appropriate to the needs of families:
Provide rapid re-housing assistance to the majority of families experiencing homelessness
Increase access to affordable housing, and help communities target resources and
Direct more service-intensive housing interventions to the highest need households
Help families connect to the mainstream resources (benefits, employment, and community-based services) needed to sustain housing and achieve stability. Improve linkages to local mainstream systems to help families gain access to these resources more quickly
Develop and build upon evidence-based practices for serving families experiencing and at-risk of experiencing homelessness
Zeilinger quotes the President,
“’As President Obama remarked last month to an audience of more the 250 mayors from around the country, ‘We want to cooperate and coordinate with you as effectively as we can to make sure that whatever works is getting out there and hitting the streets and actually having an impact on people’s lives.’ When it comes to impacting the lives of families working to secure permanent housing, what works is becoming clearer and clearer.”
Click here for the blog post from Zelinger on the Partnership for Communities website.
Click here for the link to the USICH Family Connections page and more information about ending family homelessness.