Examining Approaches to End Family Homelessness

Family Options Study Poses Questions for Policymakers and Advocates Ending Family Homelessness

A July 2016 Policy Research Commentary from the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) takes a closer look at the impact on family homelessness of the July 2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Family Options Study.

The Family Options Study was the most comprehensive study ever conducted to test different approaches to addressing family homelessness, some believed these questions finally had an answer.

The ICPH analysis indicates that to house everyone counted as homeless in 2014 in Nj we would need to increase the number of housing choice vouchers by 12%.

In its Commentary, HUD’s Family Option Study: Revisiting the Preliminary Results, ICPH:

  • Provides a plain-spoken explanation of the study,
  • Explores whether the study’s methodology blurred interim results as households assigned to a particular type of assistance may have used a different type entirely, whether rapid rehousing really saves money in the long-run, and whether the long-term stability of families was or should be taken into account, and
  • Offers questions for policymakers, funders, advocates, service providers, and taxpayers to consider as we await the final results of the Family Options Study in late 2017.

The Family Options study makes the case about the critical need now to organize around funding for more vouchers and solutions.  It is important for all advocates to be part of the conversation around increasing voucher funding.  Housing Choice vouchers are the crucial tool in ending family homelessness?

The ICPH commentary raised the following questions for policymakers, funders, advocates, service providers, and taxpayers to consider as we await the final results of the Family Options Study in late 2017:

  • Should federal funding to reduce family homelessness focus primarily on rapid rehousing? or
  • Should those efforts also address the factors that cause many to become homeless in the first place (such as a lack of education or job skills) through service-rich transitional housing?

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is an independent nonprofit public policy analysis and research organization based in New York City. The Institute produces publications and content designed to illuminate the complex issue of family homelessness, and inform and enhance public policy related to homeless families, with an emphasis on the impact and outcomes on children.

ICPH focuses its work on homeless families, as well as those living in extreme poverty, examining the demographics of this growing population, the challenges these families face in becoming self-sufficient, and the programs that are most effective in helping them transition out of homelessness.

Working with programs and partner organizations across the country, the Institute disseminates these findings to policy makers at all levels of government, colleagues in the research community, advocates, and educators, to promote a robust, evidenced-based dialogue and positively influence services and policy toward homeless families.

ICPH Commentary

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