What Happens When We Really Start Ending Homelessness?

Alliance Conference Builds
Momentum Drawing Key Speakers

David WertheimerOn August 6, 2014, David Wertheimer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation write a blog post, “What Happens When We Really Start Ending Homelessness,” for the Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog.

Wertheimer cites data documenting the overall decrease of homelessness across the United States. And he recognizes that the National Alliance to End Homelessness very early on sold out its recent annual national conference.

The conference drew speakers such as the new U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and First Lady Michelle Obama.

“… We are, in fact, now making significant progress towards our goal of ending homelessness. And it’s the documentation of this success that is winning us more champions, and increasing support for our work.”

The evidence points towards the best responses: Permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing within a “housing first” framework, service-enriched transitional housing for homeless youth, formal programmatic linkages to mainstream systems to help build skills, job-readiness, social capital and individual and family resilience, just to name a few. The rich content of the workshops that were offered during the NAEH conference provided example after example from across the nation of communities that are implementing these and other promising and evidence-based practices that are ending homelessness for tens of thousands of Americans.

Writes Wertheimer.

Proven best practices that are helping to end homelessness such as supportive housing, rapid re-housing and housing first are making a difference!

“Even as conference attendees acknowledged enormous remaining obstacles that include decreasing supplies of affordable housing and not enough jobs that pay a family wage, the progress we are making has spawned an optimism that was hard to miss. The skeptics are losing ground as we demonstrate that we can achieve the day when homelessness, if it does occur, will be something rare, brief in duration, and a one-time-only experience.”

Concludes Wertheimer.

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