More than 1,000 Homeless Families Re-Housed with TANF Support

written by Sharon McDonald
January 15, 2013

Over the course of the last several years, more than 1,000 formerly homeless families have returned to permanent housing in Salt Lake City thanks to a rapid rehousing program supported by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) resources.

A new profile by the Alliance examines the partnership between the homeless service provider, The Road Home, and the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the state agency that administers TANF and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, that helped all these families escape homelessness. This partnership is a unique one. It brings together both the expertise and the resources of The Road Home and Workforce Services in order to help homeless families. More communities would benefit from adopting this approach.

Here’s how it works:

Families entering The Road Home’s emergency shelter program meet with a Workforce Services staff person who helps connect them to benefits they may be eligible for (including TANF) and conducts an employment barriers assessment. Provider staff refer most families entering the shelter to the rapid re-housing program.  While Workforce Services staff help parents find employment, The Road Home’s housing specialists help families look for housing and provide case management to families who have been re-housed.

The temporary rental assistance is funded with TANF and HUD resources. The TANF funds are used to cover the cost of the first four months of rental assistance for all families. The Road Home devotes HUD resources to families who require assistance for longer than four months.

On average, families exit the program after receiving five months of rental assistance, so TANF is absorbing 80 percent of the cost of providing families rental assistance.

Through their partnership with The Road Home, Workforce Services is helping ensure that TANF resources, which are funded through the federal TANF block grant program designed to promote employment and self-sufficiency among low-income families and ensure that “children can be cared for in their own homes,” are devoted to meeting these goals.