1.1 Ending Family Homelessness: An Overview

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This workshop will provide an overview of the research, policies, and local program innovations that are transforming the nation’s response to family homelessness. It is an ideal introduction to the …

This workshop will provide an overview of the research, policies, and local program innovations that are transforming the nation’s response to family homelessness. It is an ideal introduction to the “big picture” of what it will take to end homelessness for families.

Presented by Betsy Lieberman, Building Changes.

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  • Emerging Approach: Right-sizing services to individual families’ needs. Recognizes that most homeless families need affordable housing and a living-wage job Counties’ Five Principles: 1. Prevention: keeping families at the edge of homelessness housed and linked with right services.2. Coordinated entry: implement a common way for families to access homeless services and for providers to quickly link families to resources3. Rapid re-housing: Moving families quickly into permanent housing4. Tailored programs: right services at right level at the right time5. Economic opportunities: creating stronger connections to family-wage jobs
  • Homelessness: NAEH 2011 annual report, Overall and family homelessness counts based on January 2009 Point-in-Time counts Doubled-up count based on 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, based on 2009 Census Bureau American Community Survey Unemployment data: Latest figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • 1. The Emerging Approach incorporates not just homeless families but vulnerable ones as well because we’re also looking at preventing homelessness in the first place. Our paper offers some figures on just how big that population is in Washington State.2. What this concept means is that a family’s housing and service needs don’t necessarily correlate. You could have low housing needs—maybe just some rental assistance to keep you in your home—but moderate service needs because your family experienced domestic violence, and you need trauma-informed counseling and treatment for depression. Or, you could have high housing needs—you’re homeless living in an emergency shelter—but you could have moderate needs—cash benefits and employment training to get you back on your feet.3. Given the wide range of needs among families, we created a continuum for both vulnerable and homeless families. Each offers gradations in level of need—and what might be the appropriate housing supports for each.
  • 4. Each community knows best how to organize their resources, and our paper offers one example of how they can be organized to optimize their response to homeless and vulnerable homeless.5. The healthcare law that was passed last year brings about many new changes—by expanding coverage to a large segment of the low-income population that would include our vulnerable and homeless families, as well as re-organizing how care is provided in a way that would allow for partnerships between healthcare and homeless providers.6. We all know what respect is. Resilience means the ability to overcome setbacks and trauma, and recovery is the journey that people who’ve experienced setbacks and trauma take to re-gain their footing and achieve stability.
  • While these recommendations are directed at our state leaders, they are applicable at all levels of government. They call for improved cross-systems communication, coordination and use of resources through:Information-sharing and relationship-building between homeless and mainstream system providersDeveloping common data standard and performance measures, as called for by the Federal Plan. Eliminating racial disparities in access to services.2. The U.S. has an acute shortage of rental units for low-income families. We need policies that encourage the development of affordable units. Additionally, we need to make sure that we remove policies that make it difficult for domestic violence survivors or families that had past eviction or poor credit histories can get into the housing.3. Our economic security recommendations mainly target two big federal programs: the Workforce Investment Act and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families—which provides welfare benefits. They focus on ensuring that these programs actually serve homeless and vulnerable families.4. On health care, our recommendations ensure that services and resources are structured and funded to serve homeless and vulnerable families. The recommendations highlight pilots and grants for which providers can apply to target families with high levels of medical and behavioral health needs. We also refer to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program grant, which promotes maternal and child health and development through in-home visits.
  • 5. These recommendations focus on reducing our reliance on transitional housing as the main recipient of homeless funds so that some of those dollars can be diverted to a wider range of options, from prevention to permanent supportive housing.6. As you can imagine, financial instability and actual homelessness is incredibly destabilizing for children. Housing and school stability are linked, and we offer recommendations to bring homeless providers and school personnel together to ensure that children stay in their schools and have their needs met. 7. Here, we’re trying to align the two systems so that families aren’t caught in a Catch-22—where parents lose custody of their children because they don’t have housing but need to have their children with them to be eligible for family housing.8. Finally, having an incarcerated parent means loss of income and increased risks for a family. Research shows that having an incarcerated parent increases an African-American child’s chance of becoming homeless by 50%. Our recommendations call for ensuring housing stability and school supports for children.
  • We finished writing this paper at the end of the 2010. You’re the first copies of the executive summary. You can access the full paper on our website. Please think how the concepts and recommendations work in your communities. This is YOURS: The paper is meant to be a living document. It’s important to see how it can fit your own context and needs. Feel free to disseminate it among your peers and partners.Raise awareness about paper in local communities Lead advocacy effort on select recommendationsEducate partners who might take lead on other recommendationsServe as a resource for everyone

Transcript

  • 1. Ending Family Homelessness in Washington State: An Emerging Approach
    Workshop 1.1−Ending Family Homelessness: An Overview
    NAEH Conference
    February 2011
    Betsy Lieberman
    Executive Director
    www.buildingchanges.org
  • 2. About Building Changes
    • Work in partnership with public, nonprofit sectors, and private philanthropy to end homelessness in Washington State
    • 3. For more than 20 years, paired housing with services for our most vulnerable populations
    • 4. How we work:
    Grantmaking and evaluation
    Consulting and technical assistance
    Advocacy and communications
    2
  • 5. Why Building Changes Developed This Paper
    • Capture the Emerging Approach to prevent and end family homelessness
    • 6. Opportunity to align federal and local resources
    • 7. 2010 Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness
    • 8. 3 counties in Puget Sound have family homeless plans to implement systems changes
    • 9. Recession is impetus for more efficient use of resources
    3
  • 10. Who Contributed to This Paper
    National, State, and Local:
    • Advocates and experts
    • 11. Government agencies
    • 12. Philanthropy
    • 13. Public housing authorities
    • 14. Nonprofit providers
    4
  • 15. The Scope of Need in the U.S.
    • Homelessness: 656,129 in 2009
    • 16. Overall homelessness up by 3%
    • 17. Family homelessness up by 4% (79,652 families)
    • 18. Doubled-up persons up by nearly 12% (6 million)
    • 19. Unemployment:
    • 20. 9.5% in 2010
    • 21. 17% for African-Americans in 2010
    • 22. 12-14% for Latinos in 2010
    5
  • 23. Concepts Supporting the Emerging Approach
    Define and understand the needs of the population
    Housing and services aretwo distinct domains of need.
    Balance prevention, early intervention, and housing stability.
    Cont.
    6
  • 24. Concepts Supporting the Emerging Approach
    Develop a network of community services andsupports.
    Opportunities for collaboration under healthcare reform.
    Interactions with families should be based on respect, resilience, and recovery.
    7
  • 25. Policy Recommendations
    Promote leadership and collaboration
    Expand supply and access to affordable housing
    Increase economic security
    Utilize changes under healthcare reform to serve homeless and vulnerable families
    8
  • 26. Policy Recommendations, cont.
    Re-focus resources in the homeless system
    Ensure educational opportunities for children
    Strengthen links between child welfare and the homeless systems
    Support families of incarcerated individuals
    9
  • 27. Going Forward
    • Building Changes will:
    • 28. Continue partnership with NAEH on federal advocacy
    • 29. Use paper for advocacy work
    • 30. Paper is a guide for WA State and others
    • 31. We urge our partners to champion recommendations.
    10