Increasing Affordable Housing Opportunities & Learning More from Individuals with Lived Experience of Homelessness
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recently released a report titled Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The report details specific efforts to prevent and end homelessness in various places across the United States over the next four years and highlights six specific areas of increased focus.
These areas will address the needs of people who are currently experiencing homelessness. The six focuses include:
- Increasing affordable housing opportunities
- Finding solutions for un-sheltered homeless individuals
- Creating strategies for rural communities battling homelessness
- Helping those who exit homelessness to find stable employment
- Strengthening prevention and diversion practices
- Learning more from individuals with lived experiences of homelessness
The report outlines three overarching goals which focus on “federal strategies that will support states and communities to make homelessness a rare, brief, and one-time experience- and that will sustain that success once achieved.”
These goals are broken down into eight different objectives to be met through strategic planning across the country as well as collaborative efforts on all levels of systemic change.
The objectives include:
- Ensure homelessness is a rare experience
- Build lasting systems
- Increase capacity and strengthen practices to prevent housing crises
- Ensure homelessness is a brief experience
- Identify homeless population as quickly as possible
- Provide Immediate Access to Emergency Shelters
- Implement Coordinated Entry to standardize assessments and connections to Housing and services
- Assist people to move swiftly into permanent housing
- Ensure homelessness is a one-time experience
- prevent returns to homelessness through adequate services and opportunities
- Sustain an end to homelessness
- sustain practices and systems to respond to future needs
The report states, “Homelessness prevention is not the responsibility of the homeless crisis response system alone.”
There needs to be resources and plans in place to ensure that each and every American is given the proper care should they experience homelessness.
Another aspect the report focuses on is to “strengthen the collection, reporting, and utilization of essential data sources.” Many cities are now using updated technology to better understand where their homeless populations are located, collect their public records so they can receive services, and therefore help them most effectively.