Is ending homelessness a dream? No, says the National Alliance to End Homelessness and other national leaders in addressing this challenge that faces every community. According to research and the experts in the field, our nation can end homelessness or at least shorten its duration, quickly matching homeless persons with housing and services to help them stay there. In fact, this has become the nation’s policy on homelessness, informing the work of every community to respond to the homeless. Below is what every community needs to make meaningful progress toward this crucial goal (from National Alliance to End Homelessness at www.endhomelessness.org). NELA has a plan that has nearly all of these elements in place, or work ongoing to achieve them quickly. Read the list below then see how NELA is on the forefront of addressing homelessness in NELA.
PLAN: Your community has a set of strategies focused on ending homelessness. A wide range of players (government programs, elected officials, homeless providers, etc.) has made funding and implementation commitments to these strategies.
DATA: Your community has a homelessness management information system that can be analyzed to assess how long people are homeless, what their needs are, what the causes of homelessness are, how people interact with mainstream systems of care, the effectiveness of interventions, and the number of homeless people.
EMERGENCY PREVENTION: Your community has in place an emergency homelessness prevention program that includes rent/mortgage/utility assistance, case management, landlord/lender intervention, and other strategies to prevent eviction and homelessness.
SYSTEMS PREVENTION: I. Mainstream programs (mental health, substance abuse, TANF, child welfare, etc.) that provide care and services to low-income people consistently assess and respond to their housing needs; and II. There is placement in stable housing for all people being released from public institutions.
OUTREACH: Your community has an outreach and engagement system designed to reduce barriers and encourage homeless people so that they enter appropriate housing (including safe havens) linked with appropriate services.
SHORTEN HOMELESSNESS: The shelter and transitional housing system in your community is organized to reduce or minimize the length of time people remain homeless, and the number of times they become homeless. Outcome measures will be key to this effort.
RAPID RE-HOUSING: Your community has skilled housing search and housing placement services available to rapidly re-house all people losing their housing or who are homeless and who want permanent housing.
SERVICES: When households are re-housed, they have rapid access to funded services, and mainstream programs provide the bulk of these services.
PERMANENT HOUSING: I. Your community has a sufficient supply of permanent supportive housing to meet the needs of all chronically homeless people; II. Your community is implementing a plan to fully address the permanent housing needs of extremely low-income people.
INCOME: When it is necessary in order to obtain housing, your community assists homeless people to secure enough income to afford rent, by rapidly linking them with employment and/or benefits. It also connects them to opportunities for increasing their incomes after housing placement (opportunities provided primarily by mainstream programs).
Check back for the updated version of our 2020-2022 Strategic Plan!