2012 National Conference Presentations

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Conference Presentation | July 20, 2012

Opening Medicaid Doors: State Strategies to Support Homeless Assistance for Vulnerable Populations
Co-sponsored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, this half-day session convenes program and policy experts to examine state policy strategies for aligning homeless assistance with innovations in Medicaid financing and delivery. The focus will be on chronic homelessness and vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness. Specific topics include collaborating with state Medicaid transformation efforts, setting up Medicaid health homes, and implications of federal housing and health policy. Conference attendees interested in engaging at the state level to integrate housing solutions and health care services to end chronic homelessness are encouraged to attend. RSVPs were requested, space is limited.

Improving Safety and Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Survivors of domestic violence move in and out of the homelessness system, sometimes unidentified as survivors. While they are receiving housing assistance and a variety of services, this assistance may not be responsive to their unique needs and the trauma they have experienced. This pre-conference session is intended for homeless service providers who are interested in more effectively addressing the needs of survivors in their housing programs. The session, sponsored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness will address increasing safety for survivors, best practices for case managers, and developing successful partnerships that benefit survivors.

1.1 Introduction to Ending Youth Homelessness
There are approximately 550,000 unaccompanied homeless youth in the U.S. annually who may be in need of assistance to exit homelessness. This workshop will provide an overview of the Alliance’s framework for ending youth homelessness as well as overviews of the primary strategies targeted to each subpopulation of youth.

1.2 Understanding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
There is much to learn about better serving, housing, and protecting homeless survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. This workshop will provide an overview of the experiences and needs of young survivors, both male and female. Included in this discussion will be ways programs can identify survivors and provide housing, as well as emerging practices for keeping survivors safe and supported while in care.

1.3 Getting to Zero: Progress on the Five Year Plan to End Homelessness among Veterans
One of the major goals in the Administration’s 2010 plan to end homelessness, Opening Doors, was to end homelessness among veterans in five years. The halfway point to this historic goal has been reached. This workshop will assess where we have been, where we are, and what steps we will need to take to end homelessness among veterans. The plan will be reviewed from a data-driven, strategic perspective with an emphasis on current and future benchmarks, and on how people working across the country can help get to the final goal.

1.5 Health Care Reform and New Strategies to Address Chronic Homelessness
Linking chronically homeless households to Medicaid and new health care resources can play a critical role in helping those households obtain and maintain stable housing. This session will discuss changes in health care safety nets, and how to leverage Medicaid to support the housing stability of people experiencing chronic homelessness.

1.6 Developing an Inclusive and Effective Emergency Shelter System
Having an inclusive shelter system requires serving the needs of diverse populations, including LGBTQ youth and families that include adolescent boys. Having an effective shelter system requires permanent housing-focused services and a commitment to move households into permanent housing as quickly as possible. This workshop will discuss how communities can start on the path of developing both.

1.7 Successful Partnerships to Serve Survivors of Domestic Violence
The importance of stable housing in the lives of survivors has been well documented. This workshop will focus on successful partnerships between homelessness assistance agencies, which often have housing resources from which survivors can benefit and domestic violence service agencies that have allowed communities to successfully address both the housing and service needs of survivors.

1.8 Ending Family Homelessness: A Blueprint for Communities
Ending family homelessness is an achievable goal. This introductory workshop will provide an overview of the critical components of an effective, solution-oriented family homelessness system. State and local leaders will share how they are reshaping services in their communities to prevent and end family homelessness.

1.9 The ABCs of Rapid Rehousing
Rapid rehousing programs are reducing the length of time people reside in shelter before returning to housing in the community. This introductory workshop will provide an overview of the rapid rehousing approach for practitioners and local policymakers who are new to the model. Housing search, landlord negotiation, rental assistance, access to employment, and home-based case management service strategies will be reviewed.

1.12 New Research on Housing and Homelessness
Research and evaluation are integral parts of building an effective homelessness assistance system. This workshop will present some of the newest research on the impact of stable housing and effectiveness of different interventions in preventing and ending homelessness. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about the implications this research has on efforts in their own community.

2.1 Systems-Level Strategies for Ending Youth Homelessness
To truly end youth homelessness, communities will have to shift their focus from program level planning to the systems level planning. This will require the establishment of clear desired outcomes and outcome measures to evaluate progress and the implementation system-level strategies to achieve them. This workshop will examine both the essential elements of a systems’ level approach to youth, including how to use resources to a maximum effect, as well as methods for establishing and measuring impact.

2.2 Welcoming, Inclusive, and Affirming Policies and Practices for LGBTQ Youth
All youth deserve the right to equal access and non-discriminatory/non-harassment protection while obtaining shelter – regardless of their self-identified sexual orientation or gender identity. This workshop will examine ways in which programs can create welcoming and safe environments to achieve the goal of getting youth off of the street and keeping them safe while in care.

2.5 Medicaid: Enrollment and Next Steps
Medicaid can make a difference in the financing of services for residents of permanent supportive housing. In today’s changing health care landscape, supportive housing providers need to stay current about new benefits and how to get clients enrolled. But that is not all – homeless assistance providers can play a key role in transforming local safety nets to be more person-centered, service-integrated, and resource-wise. This session will focus on new health care benefits,enrollment programs, and navigation strategies.

2.6 Coordinated Assessment
Coordinated assessment provides targeted, right-sized assistance to homeless or at-risk households based on their individual needs. It will be crucial in helping systems meet the outcomes called for by the HEARTH Act. This workshop will provide an overview of successful models, as well as time to discuss more advanced issues and potential evaluation strategies.

2.7 Getting the Most out of Your System: Overseeing Homeless Assistance
Running a community’s homeless assistance system requires balancing multiple and sometimes competing priorities in order to effectively reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness. In this workshop, participants will hear about the strategies being used by nonprofit and public sector leaders to create a shared vision for ending homelessness in the community. Presenters will discuss approaches for bringing a wide range of stakeholders into the systems change movement and strategies for creating accountability for achieving outcomes, including through performance-based contracting.

2.8 Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Rapid re-housing is increasingly being used across the country to serve survivors of domestic violence. This workshop will cover valuable adaptations to rapid re-housing that keep survivors of domestic violence safely and stably housed, as well as lessons learned from domestic violence providers experienced in rapid re-housing.

2.9 Partnering with Child Welfare Agencies to Serve Highly-Vulnerable Families
Child welfare involved families often face housing challenges that increase the risk of children being placed into foster care and delayed family reunification. This workshop will examine opportunities for child welfare agencies and homeless service providers to work together to promote the safety, well-being, and housing stability of vulnerable families.

2.11 Engaging Public Housing Authorities to End Chronic Homelessness
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) can be a key partner in the creation of permanent supportive housing. Presenters will describe their own successes engaging PHA resources such as Housing Choice Vouchers and project-based rental housing to help end chronic homelessness. The workshop will include information about how to persuade PHA leaders and the flexibility and restrictions that PHAs have.

2.12 Sustaining HPRP-Funded Rapid Re-Housing
This workshop will discuss strategies for maintaining your rapid re-housing activities even as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program winds down. It will examine learnings from communities that have obtained new funds from private and public sources, as well as communities that have reallocated resources from other homeless programs.

2.13 Effective Strategies for Working with Undocumented Immigrants
Identifying and providing homeless assistance to undocumented immigrants is complicated by legal and cultural barriers. Presenters will discuss the legal restrictions and options available to programs serving undocumented immigrants experiencing homelessness and will present promising practices and program models.

3.1 Improving the Crisis Response for Youth
Youth face particular dangers when sleeping and living on the streets, including violence, drugs, and sexual exploitation. It is essential that communities provide young people with safe and appropriate emergency housing options. This workshop will focus on best practices for crisis housing for minors, alternatives to physical shelter beds including host homes, and making sure the adult system is responsive to the needs of youth in crisis.

3.2 Enhance Data to Improve Program Outcomes and Opportunities for Youth
Data is used to tell an under-told story of the numbers, needs, and experiences of homeless youth. Communities can improve data by conducting targeted youth counts and using Homeless Management Information Systems. Attendees will be provided with emerging practices in conducting youth counts and ways that youth-serving providers can benefit from using HMIS. Also discussed will be new ways to report outcomes.

3.3 Helping Veterans Access Benefits
Veteran benefits are often overlooked as a key piece for maintaining housing and self-sufficiency. The Veterans Benefit Administration is an important partner in helping veterans file for and obtain a wide variety of benefits, including: medical care, homeless assistance, service-connected disability payments, and veterans’ pensions. By combining these veteran-specific income sources and benefits with mainstream resources targeted to low-income families and individuals, veterans can be lifted out of homelessness or avoid it entirely.

3.5 The Federal Budget: Update and Impact on Ending Homelessness
In the past year, Congress has made a number of decisions about the federal budget that may greatly impact efforts to prevent and end homelessness. This workshop will update participants on the status of housing and homelessness funding. Presenters will discuss the timeline and outlook for key program funding levels, in addition to describing the effect of broader deficit reduction efforts on affordable housing and homelessness resources. An overview of the decision making process for program funding will also be provided.

3.6 Health Home Models
The “medical home” concept is taking hold in mainstream health care systems. This translates to new opportunities to make supportive housing a key component in the care and recovery plan of someone who has experienced chronic homelessness. Presenters will share knowledge and experience from communities that are updating their service strategies with coordinated-care approaches.

3.7 Retooling Your Transitional-Housing Program
If you are planning to make significant changes or redesign your transitional-housing program, this workshop will help you identify the steps to consider and provide tools for taking those steps. Transitional-housing providers who have retooled their programs will share experiences in areas of planning, staffing, contracts, and working with their Boards.

3.8 Chronic Homelessness: Getting to Zero by 2015
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) met this past spring to discuss the country’s slowing progress on chronic homelessness (USICH) and – based on new data analysis – to identify steps needed to “finish the job” by 2015. This workshop will be led by USICH staff, who will share their recent analysis and discuss what it will take to bend the curve to reach this goal. The session will also feature presentations from communities that are continuing to make progress on chronic homelessness despite the challenging economic times.

3.9 Effectively Allocating Homeless Assistance Resources to End Homelessness
As more and more communities look to data and performance outcomes for information on how to redesign their systems, they are seeing the need to shift available funding between different homelessness interventions. This workshop will provide information on how communities can begin the process of determining what shifts need to be made in order to create the most effective system and information on the mechanics of moving funds around.

3.10 Preventing Family Homelessness: New Research, New Approaches
Is your community’s investment in preventing family homelessness having an impact? This workshop will examine new and emerging research that can inform how communities target their homelessness prevention resources. New approaches to homelessness prevention will also be explored.

3.11 Service Models for Aging Populations
In addition to housing needs, elderly people who experience homelessness later in life have high health care and home care needs. This workshop will discuss how to design service and housing models to address the challenges of this growing, high-need population.

3.13 Beyond the City Limits: Ending Homelessness in Rural and Tribal Areas
What progress has been made in ending homelessness in rural and tribal areas? This interactive workshop will explore the successes rural and tribal communities have had in implementing strategic plans, prevention and rapid re-housing strategies, and other best practices, as well as new funding opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rural Housing Stability Program.

4.1 Family Intervention for Youth
Family intervention is a strategy used to link unaccompanied runaway and homeless youth, regardless of age, to their family. This workshop will explore family reunification, one of the primary strategies used to keep families together, as well as family connection and aftercare services.

4.2 Promoting Self-Sufficiency through Youth Services
Youth should have access to a menu of supportive services that will act as a springboard to propel them toward global well-being. Life domains to address can include housing, health, interpersonal relationships, community building, education, and employment. Various programs, services, interventions and opportunities will be explored.

4.3 Permanent Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless Veterans
The joint Department of Housing and Urban Development – Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program is a permanent supportive housing program designed for chronically homeless and high-need veterans. Promising program models, contracting case management services to community based organizations, effective targeting, engaging community partners and incorporating HUD-VASH into a broader homeless veteran response will all be covered in this workshop.

4.4 Implementing the HEARTH Act: The New Emergency Solutions Grant
The HEARTH Act turns the Emergency Shelter Grant into the new Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). Under the new ESG program, communities will be able to continue funding some of the rapid re-housing and prevention efforts brought to scale under HPRP. Representatives from HUD will describe the new ESG program, its requirements, and its eligible activities, as well as how lessons learned from HPRP have shaped HUD’s vision for the program. Presenters will also describe how they are prioritizing their limited ESG funds to successfully rapidly re-house people experiencing homelessness and to target prevention to those most at risk.

4.5 Designing and Piloting Wellness Programs in Permanent Supportive Housing
With changes in health care delivery, providers that serve chronically homeless people are investing in ways to prevent health care problems from occurring or getting worse. One example is wellness programs offered in supportive housing. Along with piloting innovations, there is interest in understanding how such efforts can increase housing stability and contain costs. This session explores how to design wellness programs so that outcomes and best practices can be shared effectively with community partners, funders, and policymakers.

4.7 Measuring and Improving System Outcomes
Communities that successfully reduce homelessness typically focus on system-wide outcomes: reducing entries into homelessness, reducing the duration of homeless episodes, reducing returns to homelessness, and promoting stable, permanent housing. This workshop will cover how to measure these outcomes across your community and how to create incentives that promote better performance.

4.8 Selling Your Program: Landlord Engagement and Rental Assistance Strategies
A key component of successful rapid re-housing is the development of landlord relationships. This workshop will provide examples of how communities have developed and used marketing tools and short term rental subsidies as incentives for successful landlord recruitment and engagement. Strategies for engaging landlords to rent to households with high housing barriers including families and survivors of domestic violence will be discussed.

4.10 Stages of Change: Addressing Chronic Substance Use Disorders
Homeless people who have substance use disorders can be at different stages of the recovery process and consequently need different kinds of interventions. The stages of change paradigm – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse – is often used to assess people with substance use disorders. This workshop will describe how to tailor interventions for people in various stages of recovery, including strategies such as harm reduction approaches, treatment, drug-free housing, and various recovery support models.

4.11 Hospitals to Housing: Preventing Homelessness for People Exiting Hospitals
Many people who experience chronic homelessness have severe health problems that result in hospitalization. This workshop will provide examples of how hospitals and homeless assistance providers are working together to house people after a hospital stay.

4.12 What’s New in Research on Veterans’ Homelessness?
In December, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development announced that veterans homelessness has decreased by 12 percent nationally from 2010 to 2011. What else do we know about veterans homelessness? Presenters will discuss what we know about this subpopulation, including data on homeless prevalence, related demographics, risk factors, and other relevant topics.

5.1 Helping Young Adults Pay for Rent
Homeless young adults aged 18 to 24 have the advantage of being able to sign their own leases but often need help leasing an apartment and paying for rent until they are able to afford it independently. This workshop will examine scattered-site transitional housing programs and rapid re-housing models that help young adults rent their own apartments as well as connections with employment opportunities so young adults can stabilize long term.

5.2 Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare’s Response to At-Risk and Homeless Youth
Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare are two major systems of care that can intersect with youth experiencing homelessness. This workshop will survey initiatives, housing opportunities, and research in juvenile justice and child welfare for former foster youth, homeless youth, and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

5.3 Addressing Veterans’ Mental Health Needs
Veterans face a host of challenges when they return to the civilian world. With historic rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms of traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma occurring among our recently returning veterans, there is an increasing focus within VA on addressing mental health treatment needs. This workshop will cover some of VA’s mental health and homeless initiatives addressing these issues, as well as program and case management techniques for addressing these complex conditions.

5.5 Promoting Recovery and Well-Being in Permanent Supportive Housing
Chronically homeless people have a variety of needs: for mental health and substance abuse treatment, employment, and health care. As they move into permanent supportive housing, there are a variety of service delivery models that can be used to address these needs. This workshop will examine these models including supported employment, assertive community treatment, and others.

5.6 Program and Performance Measurement Simplified
Effective homeless assistance systems rely on quality data, performance measurement, and information management systems. This workshop will provide simple steps to improve data quality and performance measurement in your community as well as practical strategies for using data systems to support a performance-based homeless assistance system.

5.7 Shifting Gears: Community Planning to Re-Allocate Resources to Support New Strategies
As a result of increased use of prevention, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing strategies to end homelessness, communities are beginning to reallocate resources from existing programs to more outcome-oriented strategies. This workshop will provide examples of how communities are planning to improve their performance by repurposing resources within the Continuum.

5.9 Coordinating with TANF Agencies to Improve Families’ Housing and Employment Outcomes
Integrating housing and employment interventions can reduce the amount of time families remain homeless, increase the effectiveness of short-term rent subsidies, and allow families to become more self-sufficient. This workshop will examine how some local communities are building bridges between their family homeless service system and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) income and employment services.

5.10 Leveraging Resources to Fund Your Supportive Housing Program
As funding for new permanent supportive housing units becomes more challenging, communities are accessing alternate funding streams to complement Continuum of Care funding. This workshop will explore how communities are creatively developing partnerships and leveraging alternative funding streams to create permanent supportive housing options including mixed use housing.

5.11 Crossing Hard Thresholds: Access to Housing from Jails and Prisons
Every day, people are discharged from jails and prisons with little or no access to stable housing. Federal policies and community practices provide a patchwork of assistance and support, but those exiting the corrections system remain at very high risk of homelessness. Presenters will identify best practices and funding sources to bridge re-entry gaps, and discuss avenues for improving public policy.

5.13 Creating Flexible Permanent Housing Options
Leasing a single apartment is not the only permanent housing solution for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. In some cases, shared housing or renting a room in a house may be a more preferable option. This workshop will provide information on how communities can identify alternative permanent housing opportunities for people exiting homelessness, and use diversion strategies to prevent households from having to enter the homeless assistance system. Strategies for funding these opportunities and partners that can be helpful in these endeavors will also be discussed.

6.1 Increasing Access to Youth Programs and Keeping Youth Engaged
There is a subset of homeless youth who have mental health and substance abuse disorders, may have lived on the streets for significant periods of time, and have significant barriers to obtaining and maintaining housing. In order to end youth homelessness and protect these youth from significant dangers on the street, it is essential to engage them, house them, and keep them housed. This workshop will feature programs that are successfully engaging youth and maintaining that engagement through specific strategies. • Mark Evans, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Boston,

6.2 Emerging Grant and Per Diem and Transition-In-Place Models for Homeless Veterans
As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs moves forward in its plan to end homelessness, new programs are evolving to meet the needs of a new generation of veterans. VA’s transitional housing program, the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, is accepting applications for a transition-in-place (TIP) model. TIP is emerging as an important new way in which the GPD program can be implemented. This workshop will examine the transition-in-place model, look at how traditional facilitybased transitional programs are interpreting it, and answer questions around implementation, program design, and funding.

6.3 Homeless People with Disabilities: Working across Silos for Housing and Supports
Programs that support people with disabilities are working across agency silos with implications for plans to end homelessness. Presenters in this session will share examples of mainstream initiatives that cross silos to combine housing and services. HUD’s Section 811 program for people with disabilities, state efforts to address Olmstead, and innovative partnerships led by public housing authorities will be covered.

6.4 Creating Successful Partnerships with Public Housing Authorities
Ending homelessness cannot be done without the support of public housing authorities (PHAs). This workshop will highlight innovative ways that communities and PHAs are working together to create preferences and other partnerships to place households experiencing homelessness in Section 8 and public housing. Presenters will discuss specific ways in which the relationships between local homeless assistance systems and PHAs have been structured.

6.5 Elections 2012: Engaging Consumers, Candidates, and Your Community
The upcoming elections offer an exciting opportunity to use the political process to raise awareness and prioritize ending homelessness. Presenters will explain ways a 501(c)(3) can participate in election activities, including voter registration, education, and candidate engagement.

6.6 Successful Exits and Permanent Supportive Housing Turnover
Permanent supportive housing Permanent Supportive Housing is crucial for serving chronically homeless households and households with intensive service needs but may not need to be the final housing destination for everyone. This workshop will present methods to identify and support eligible individuals and families who wish to move out of PSH, and to plan for this positive turnover in managing PSH capacity.

6.7 Using Media to Advance your Mission
As communications tools and strategies are increasingly available to organizations, choosing the right ones and using them effectively can be a challenge. This workshop will discuss how to maximize social media and traditional media tools and outlets to advance your mission of ending homelessness. Presenters will discuss Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and how to engage the press.

6.9 Coming Together: Engaging Reluctant Providers in Community Planning to End Homelessness
A continuing challenge for communities is engaging all key players in the planning process to end homelessness. It is of particular importance that there is full participation in collecting and sharing data, systems planning, and coordinating services. Presenters will share stories of how they engaged and partnered with reluctant service providers to bring them to the table.

6.10 Effective Continuum of Care Leadership: Examples and Strategies
The HEARTH Act will modify the role and responsibilities of Continuum of Care lead agencies. In several communities, lead agencies already carry out the major responsibilities that the HEARTH Act will require. In this workshop presenters will describe how to manage and coordinate resources and offer strategies for effectively implementing HEARTH Act.