Ending Homelessness Today — Rural Homelessness
The Challenges of Ending Homelessness in Rural America
October 12, 2012
Earlier this week I had the honor of attending a planning session in Bloomsburg, Pa., sponsored by the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance and Bloomsburg University. The session kicked off planning in the two rural counties around Bloomsburg. It was an opportunity to review some of what we know about homelessness and how to approach it in rural and small-town America.
For years, the Alliance has done deliberate work to focus on rural communities. Homelessness is often thought of as an urban problem, and of course most homeless people are in cities. But homelessness definitely exists in rural areas as well. The impacts of rural homelessness are just as devastating to those experiencing it, while rural areas are less likely than cities to have programs specifically designed to help homeless people.
Read More »
Adapting Host Homes to Meet Rural Needs
August 13, 2012
Today’s post was written by Edward J. SanFilippo, Youth Policy Fellow for the Alliance.
Over the last few years, host homes have gained traction as a means of housing youth experiencing homelessness in rural areas. Host homes entail a formalized, mutual agreement between a community member and a service provider. The community member provides shelter, food and sometimes transportation for youth, while the provider delivers case management services. Community members typically receive a small stipend and undergo training and background checks.
Read More »
Notes from the Field: A look into tribal homelessness
March 31, 2011
Today's post comes to us from Alliance Center for Capacity Building Associate Kim Walker.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to work with a group of seven different Chippewa bands located in northern Minnesota on developing ten year plans to end homelessness.
It was remarkable to learn about the struggles that many tribal nations face in defining, preventing, and ending homelessness. Tribal leaders share many of the challenges that rural areas face, like serving people spread over a large land area, finding adequate funding, and providing shelter amid a startling lack of housing infrastructure.
But beyond that, tribal homelessness is still unique.
Because tribes are officially considered sovereign nations, funding can become complicated or come with limitations that may prove difficult to overcome (i.e., some funding may be unavailable to tribes unless they are able to become an incorporated non-profit).
Additionally, homelessness, or near homelessness, on a reservation looks different than what people might expect. The Wilder Survey, one of the most comprehensive surveys of tribal homelessness, found that many Native Americans living on reservations are doubled up for long periods of time, often moving from one doubled up situation to another as long as that’s sustainable. Street homelessness is less common, meaning homelessness is less visible. Even the term “homeless” can cause confusion on a reservation, as the land itself is often considered a “home” for all tribal members.
Tribes may also struggle in gaining attention for this ... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Are we really okay with that? Edition
November 05, 2010
News stories from across the country this week seemed to point to a growing epidemic of youth homelessness.
In New Hampshire a letter to the editor (aptly) titled “In Claremont, 1 in 10 kids is homeless - Is New Hampshire really okay with that?” called for more funding for youth programs. Headed out west, in Green Bay, WI another piece reports a 20 percent increase over last year in the number of school-aged kids experiencing homelessness.
How can we let this happen? I think most people agree that youth homelessness is a problem that just plain shouldn’t exist.
It’s time to take action. Unfortunately, there is just not enough data on youth homelessness - and we can’t solve a problem unless we fully understand it.
Luckily (!) we’re here to help! The Alliance president, Nan Roman, along with executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness will hold a webinar on Monday, November 8 at 2 p.m. ET going over strategies to acquire an accurate homeless youth count. We know they’re out there, we know we can help, and now it’s time to figure out how. Join us for our webinar on Monday – register here.
Another buzz topic this week was the prevalence of homelessness in rural areas. Folks in rural North Carolina and North Dakota are proclaiming “Homelessness is here.” The prevalence of rural homelessness can come as a surprise, even to those in the communities themselves. Homelessn... Read More »
Roundup of Helpful HPRP Resources
October 26, 2009
HUD has recently posted several resources to help communities implement their HPRP programs. The resources include:
Case studies of seven communities that have implemented homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs similar to those that can be funded through HPRP:
The HomeBase prevention program in New York City
The Ohio Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot
Chicago's Housing Locator program
The Family Housing Collaborative and rapid re-housing program in Columbus, OH
Hennepin County's rapid re-housing program, Rapid Exit
Shelter to Independent Living, a prevention program in Lancaster, PA
The Rural Homeless Initiative of Southeast and Central Ohio
A guide to designing and delivering financial assistance, including rental assistance
A description of the role of case management in preventing homelessness and in rapidly returning homeless individuals and families to housing stability, including specific information about case management within HPRP and useful information for system planners
Strategies for connecting HPRP with mainstream workforce programs
A presentation of HUD's vision for HPRP
Several resources to assist with documentation and certification, including a Habitability Standards Checklist and description of HPRP unit inspection requirements, and tools to assist with income and housing status determination
A sample sub-recipient agreement
These resources and others can be found in the HPRP Resource Library on HUD's Homelessness Resource Exchange.
Please note that these resources are posted to HUD's Homelessness Resource Exchange, and they come with the following disclaimer:
All peer-to-peer resources shared on www.HUDHRE.info have been provided by the community... Read More »
Data + Research: Geography of Homelessness, Part Two
September 11, 2009
This month, we continue to the ongoing Geography of Homelessness series with an issue about the prevalence of homelessness in rural and urban areas.
The Alliance began the Geography of Homelessness series to investigate the popular concept of urban homelessness (and to make use of new homeless information collected by the Department of Housing and Urban Development).
The Alliance began be defining all existing Continuums of Care (CoC) into one of five categories: rural, mostly rural, mixed, mostly urban, and urban. After defining each of the CoCs, we counted up how many were rural, how many were urban, how many were mixed, etc. Ultimately, we concluded - as is explained by the first issue of the Geography series - that 77 percent of those people who were experiencing homelessness were doing so in an urban environment.
In this second issue, we look into the prevalence of homelessness in each of these area types. While it is popularly accepted homelessness tends to be an urban phenomenon, it is also widely known that rural areas have higher rates of poverty, deep poverty, and other characteristics that are commonly associated with homelessness. We try to reconcile these two ideas in this second issue of the Geography series.
The Alliance calculated the rate of homelessness in all the CoCs, counting the number of people experiencing homelessness per 10,000 people in the community.
The Alliance found while the two communities with the highest rates of homelessness were... Read More »
Friday: News Roundup! Veteran's Edition
August 28, 2009
It seems to be that there’s been quite a hullabaloo about veterans and homelessness lately. Has anyone else noticed that?
Just this week, there were two articles about Secretary Shinseki’s commitment to ending veterans homelessness – one from the AP about veteran homelessness in rural areas and one in the Argus Leader as well.
The Secretary’s message has be gaining momentum this month. Since early August, Secretary Shinseki has promised the American Legion that the country “will end vet homelessness.” He discussed homeless veterans issues in Oregon and in his home state of Hawaii. Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth also carried a similar message on Fox News this week.
The attention is certainly welcome and warranted. Veterans account for approximately one-quarter of the homeless population, and the group exhibits a high incidence of mental illness, substance abuse, and other behavioral disorders.
We at the Alliance are heartened by the renewed commitment to addressing and ending veteran homelessness – and we wholeheartedly agree that it’s not only a social ill long overdue for transformative action, but one that we can fix as a nation.... Read More »
Data + Research: Geography of Homelessness
July 16, 2009
There's been a lot - a pretty hefty amount - of data collected about the size of the homeless population. I mean, we really have to had it to HUD; there's been a concerted effort to make sure we have as much information as possible about this social problem.
Less is known, however, about where that population is. Where are they? Where do they sleep? Are they able to access services? Do we really have an accurate count?
So here, at the Alliance, we've been taking a good, hard look at geography.
Geography is important. Just ask people about redlining and redistricting and public school systems. It’s why people look for apartments and houses in particular neighborhoods. It’s one reason there are so many people in NYC and SF and LA.
And it’s no less important to the homeless.
Homelessness is often painted as an urban phenomenon, but we know there are homeless people in suburban and rural areas – and we’re fairly sure that they’re experience is different than that of their big city counterparts because of their geography.
But just to be super-sure, we’ve launched: the Geography of Homelessness!
In this monthly series, we’re answering the following questions (not necessarily in this order):
Do rural areas have different rates of homelessness than other areas?
How do aspects of homeless systems assistance (e.g. funding, beds) vary by geography?
Have certain geographic types (e.g. rural, sub... Read More »