2014 National Family and Youth Conference Presentations


Conference Presentation | February 24, 2014

1.1 The Big Picture: How We Can End Family Homelessness

Family homelessness can be ended. This workshop is intended for new conference participants who would like a broad overview of the policies and practice strategies that are helping communities reduce family homelessness. The workshop will include updates on Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan, the new federal framework for ending family homelessness and federal efforts to end family homelessness.

1.2 Governance and the Building Blocks of Effective Homeless Assistance

How does a community build the infrastructure to end homelessness? The Collective Impact model describes some of the key components of a successful system change effort, including the importance of “backbone organizations” that plan, oversee, and support homeless assistance. This workshop will describe the important features and roles of governance entities in a successful effort to end homelessness.

1.3 Planning and Funding a Youth Homelessness System

Preventing and ending youth homelessness requires more than a collection of good programs. It requires a systemic approach that ensures that every young person gets the most effective assistance, and that all of the stakeholders in a community are working toward shared outcomes. This workshop will describe how to plan such a system, how that system interacts with the adult and family homelessness systems, and how it is affected by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. It will also provide guidance for funders of youth programs about how they can use their resources to achieve the best overall outcomes.

1.4 On the Frontlines: Strategies for Case Management

Successful case management can play a large role in a client’s ability to find and retain housing. Case managers increasingly use motivational interviewing to empower their clients to make decisions that will achieve better housing and personal outcomes. This workshop will cover this client-centered strategy focused on achieving specific goals and will also touch on the importance of trauma-informed care and cultural competency. Presenters will discuss implementing these strategies in your own case management work.

1.6 Health Care Reform: What’s in It for Homeless Families and Youth?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to provide improved health services to vulnerable youth and families experiencing homelessness. This workshop will explain the ACA and other changes in health care and what they mean for ending homelessness. Presenters will also explore how homeless service providers are responding in order to improve health and housing outcomes in their communities.

1.7 The New Face of Veteran Homelessness

Homelessness among veterans has long been characterized by the aging Vietnam veteran. Now, veteran homelessness more closely mirrors nonveteran homelessness, including younger veterans and veterans with children. This workshop will provide an overview of veteran homelessness today, the impact of recent changes in the population, and how veteran service agencies should adapt to meet the needs of this more varied veteran population.

1.9 Preventing and Addressing the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Homeless Youth

Runaway and homeless youth can be emotionally and physically vulnerable and can easily find themselves coerced into prostitution or falling victim to other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. The longer a youth lives on the streets, the higher the risk of exploitation. In this workshop, presenters will discuss strategies to identify youth at-risk of exploitation, and prevention and intervention methods.

2.1 From Vision to Design: Planning a Homelessness System

Ending homelessness requires more than just the right programs; it requires that those programs are part of a homelessness system that ensures that every person in the community who experiences homelessness receives the right intervention at the right time. This workshop will describe the essential features of such a system and provide examples of how to create one. It also will include an interactive exercise to demonstrate some of the principles and methods of designing a community’s homelessness system.

2.2 Implementing Rapid Re-Housing: What You Need to Know

Rapid re-housing is a solution to homelessness that involves three main components: assistance searching for housing and negotiating with landlords; provision of time-limited rental assistance; and services focused on crisis resolution, housing stability and increasing income. This workshop will further define rapid re-housing and introduce best practices to use when implementing the model. Presenters will also provide examples of how to adapt the model for survivors of domestic violence and how faith-based providers and congregations can be involved.

2.3 Working Together to End Homelessness: TANF and Workforce Development Agencies

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Workforce Development Agencies have an important role to play in ending family homelessness. This workshop will examine how housing and homelessness service providers are coordinating with TANF and Workforce Development Agencies to rapidly re-house families while also working to improve families’ economic self-sufficiency through employment.

2.4 The Role of Transitional Housing

Transitional housing has been funded by HUD and VA for many years to provide longer term shelter and services to individuals, families, and veterans. This interactive workshop will explore what populations should be the focus of transitional housing programs and the appropriate role of transitional housing in ending homelessness.

2.5 Improving Your Crisis Response: Key Elements for Success

When people are at imminent risk of homelessness or initially become homeless, they turn to emergency shelters and other emergency assistance programs. This workshop will highlight the principles of an effective crisis response system, such as ensuring that communities are able to safely accommodate anyone seeking shelter (including survivors of domestic violence, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and families of varied configurations) and quickly meet emergency needs and put people on a path to re-housing. This workshop is targeted to local planners and Continuum of Care leaders.

2.7 Rapid Re-Housing for Veterans and Their Families

Part of the ongoing effort to end homelessness among veterans is the acknowledgement that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a duty to serve not only the veteran, but the veteran’s family as well. To this end, VA has implemented a rapid re-housing and prevention program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). Although this grant can also serve singles, many recipients are families. This workshop will highlight promising practices and help both new and existing grantees best serve their veteran family clients.

2.8 Housing Models and Interventions for Families in Recovery

Successfully re-housing a family can be a challenge when an adult needs behavioral health supports for mental illness or substance use disorders. Presenters in this session will examine several models and service strategies, including harm reduction, that support family housing stability as well as individual recovery goals.

3.1 Research on Rapid Re-Housing

Building evidence on effectiveness is key to the continued adoption and funding of an intervention. As results from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program emerge, and communities continue to examine the impact of their rapid re-housing efforts, the evidence base on rapid rehousing grows. This workshop will feature evaluations of rapid re-housing programs’ effectiveness, and how communities use them to build support and increase implementation.

3.2 Coordinated Assessment: An Introduction

Coordinated assessment can, and should, affect how your entire homeless assistance system operates. This workshop will review the basic components, including access, assessment, prioritization, and referrals.

3.3 What’s Happening on the Hill? A Federal Budget Update

Congress has recently made numerous funding decisions that will have significant implications for homeless assistance programs’ efforts to prevent and end homelessness. This workshop will provide an update on what current funding levels mean for the capacity of homeless assistance and affordable housing programs. Presenters will review where we are in the budgetary process and how you can impact key upcoming funding decisions through advocacy.

3.4 Retooling Transitional Housing: Steps for Implementing Changes to Your Program

Transitional housing providers are retooling their programs to align with HEARTH Act objectives and meet the needs of their local Continuums of Care and consumers. There are a number of issues to consider when moving to new models of service. This workshop will highlight providers who have retooled their family transitional housing programs into successful rapid re-housing models.

3.5 Improving Economic Self-Sufficiency: Enhancing Employment Outcomes and Increasing Income

Improving families’ and youths’ employment and income is a critical component of promoting long-term housing stability. This workshop will examine strategies providers are adopting to increase attachment to the labor market for the people they serve. It will also examine how to improve access to education and work supports for youth and par-ents, as well as the income supports they may be eligible to receive.

3.6 Ending Youth Homelessness through Family Intervention

Family conflict is the most commonly cited reason for runaway and homelessness incidents among youth. Despite this, most youth return home to their families or other caring adults. This workshop will explore family intervention models that are being used to help young people safely and appropriately reconnect with family to escape homelessness.

3.8 Understanding and Implementing VAWA: A Workshop for Homeless Assistance Providers

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an important piece of legislation that affects all survivors, not just those being served by domestic violence agencies. Presenters in this workshop will give an overview of VAWA, specifically the expansion of housing protections to survivors being served in McKinney-Vento funded homeless assistance programs, and why understanding these protections is important for program staff and the survivors they serve.

3.9 Wide Open Spaces: Addressing Homelessness in Rural Areas

There are many unique challenges to serving people experiencing homelessness in rural areas, including a lack of resources, siloed service providers, and vast distances to cover. In order to fully address homelessness in America, Balance of State Continuums and rural areas will need to operate at maximum capacity. This workshop will explore critical success factors for rural areas and what might work in your community. Attendees should come prepared to discuss their own challenges and successes, particularly around transportation, engaging faith-based providers, and identifying creative funding streams.

4.1 Q&A with HUD: Federal Priorities and Progress on Ending Homelessness

In this workshop, presenters from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will address such topics as the implementation of the HEARTH Act, specifically as it relates to homeless youth; implementing cuts in the next Notice of Funding Availability; dealing with sequestration; the rental assistance issue; and the impact new Violence Against Women Act protections will have on McKinney programs. Attendees should come prepared with questions, as presenters will make themselves available to respond to audience questions about HUD homeless assistance programs.

4.2 Research on Families and Youth

This workshop will feature findings from studies conducted by leading family and youth homelessness researchers. Presenters will focus on the characteristics and service needs of families and youth experiencing homelessness and the effectiveness of intervention models. Key policy and practice implications will be discussed.

4.3 Drilling Down: Advanced Concepts in Coordinated Assessment

Are you looking to refine your system’s coordinated assessment process? This workshop will discuss how to give your coordinated assessment process the best chance for advancing positive system change. Topics covered will include developing prioritization standards, linking coordinated assessment with permanent housing options, and using data from coordinated assessment to improve service delivery.

4.5 Housing and Service Interventions for Young Adults

For those homeless youth who are unable to quickly return home, the homeless assistance system needs to have appropriate housing and service response options. This workshop will examine a variety of short- and long-term housing and service models for homeless youth, including rapid re-housing, transitional living programs, and permanentsupportive housing.

4.6 Using Child Welfare Resources to House Families

Families being served by the child welfare system often experience homelessness or housing instability. Presenters in this workshop will discuss opportunities to partner with child welfare agencies and promising strategies for housing families using child welfare system resources.

4.7 Leveraging Successful Landlord Relationships

Successful housing search and landlord engagement strategies are key components of robust rapid re-housing programs. This interactive workshop will provide examples that providers have used to place families and youth in housing units, despite the fact that the rental assistance is short term. Examples will include landlord incentives, marketing tools, and models of shared housing that can be particularly successful in high-rent and low-vacancy communities.

4.8 Reaching and Engaging Homeless Youth through Social Media

Research shows many homeless youth are active users of social media. In this workshop presenters will address the advantages of using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others to connect and maintain communication with youth who might not otherwise engage the homeless assistance system.

5.1 Community Performance Improvement: Using Reallocation Strategies to Meet System Needs

Communities are using performance standards and reallocation strategies to effectively change their homeless service system. This workshop will highlight communities that have implemented performance standards and reallocation strategies to ensure that they have the right components to effectively reduce homelessness. Presenters will share tools utilized for prioritization and reallocation.

5.3 Homelessness Prevention and Diversion

Well-designed homelessness prevention and diversion strategies can provide better options for people seeking shelter, reduce shelter overcrowding, and make existing shelter available to more people who would otherwise live on the streets. Presenters will describe techniques for targeting prevention assistance, identifying diversion possibilities, and facilitating stable shared housing arrangements. The workshop will also explore the impact of effective prevention and diversion strategies on shelter capacity.

5.4 Advocacy’s Impact on Ending Homelessness

Decision-makers on Capitol Hill do not always understand the impacts their actions have on local homeless assistance systems. Advocacy is the process of sharing that information, and it works. This advanced advocacy workshop includes targeted organizing strategies, innovative messaging, and how to put it all together into an effective advocacy campaign.

5.5 Making the Case: Partnering with Public Housing Authorities

Public Housing Authorities are facing difficult times because of federal budget cutbacks. Yet even in times of austerity, many communities are working with their Housing Authorities to create more housing options for people experiencing homelessness. Presenters will describe how communities can create mutually beneficial partnerships between the homeless assistance system and Housing Authorities even in these challenging times.

5.6 Promoting Housing Stability for Newly Re-Housed Families and Youth: Case Management and Financial Assistance

This workshop will examine how rapid re-housing providers tailor case management services and financial assistance to promote housing stability for newly re-housed youth and families. One important strategy is progressive engagement, in which intensity and duration of services and financial assistance are adjusted based on an ongoing assessment of household needs. Another is increasing household income through< employment.

5.7 Early Intervention: Improving Youth Outcomes

Runaway and homeless youth face all sorts of dangers when living on the streets, including exposure to drugs, physical and sexual violence, and even recruitment to gangs and prostitution. Some of these dangers can be avoided by either preventing a runaway episode in the first place or immediately intervening to help a youth reunite with family or access alternative emergency housing. This workshop will focus on strategies to target youth most vulnerable to a runaway episode, as well as outreach efforts to identify youth early in their homelessness experience and protect them from the dangers of living on the streets.

5.8 Ending Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

More states are choosing to extend foster care for youth until age 21. In doing so, states are designing new approaches that offer these older youth greater autonomy. They are also designing housing and service models that are appropriate for young adults’ developmental life stages. This workshop will examine the most promising policies and practice models child welfare agencies are adopting.

5.9 Improving Point-in-Time Counts for Youth

The January 2013 point-in-time count was the first time that HUD asked communities to differentiate unaccompanied children and unaccompanied youth under the age of 25. Nationwide fewer than 50,000 unaccompanied homeless children and youth were counted and many Continuums of Care, including in some major cities, counted zero unaccompanied children and youth. This workshop will focus on how communities can do a better job of capturing unaccompanied children and youth in their point in time counts with a focus on community planning and volunteer training leading up to the January 2015 point-in-time counts.

6.1 Taking Your Rapid Re-Housing Program to the Next Level

Households considered to have high barriers to housing, including those with no current income, can be successfully rapidly re-housed. Presenters in this workshop will discuss strategies for rapidly re-housing these populations including creating shared housing and roommate situations; and for evaluating and measuring the success of these programs.

6.2 Using Organizational Change Strategies to Create a Systemic Approach to Ending Homelessness

Participating in a systemic approach to ending homelessness challenges service providers to rethink many aspects of their programming. Organizations may have to change their internal policies, their organizational structures, and in some cases, their founding missions and components of their programming to better fit the broader community’s needs. This workshop will examine the use of the learning collaborative model to help organizations adapt to system-level changes while creating smooth transitions for staff, funders, and consumers.

6.4 Serving People Better through Emergency Shelter

Emergency shelters are an important part of a community’s Housing First strategy. This workshop will cover numerous topics, including: inclusive emergency shelter policies for subpopulations such as LGBTQ persons, incorporating rapid re-housing principles to help families and youth exit shelter more quickly, and ensuring high standards of health and safety. The workshop is designed for shelter providers who are looking to improve the way they serve families and youth.

6.6 Frontline Interventions to Support Children under the Age of Five

Schools and early learning programs can offer vital links to services that protect young children and promote their long-term health, development, and academic outcomes. This workshop highlights successful partnerships that work to close the bridge between early education programs and the homeless service community.

6.7 Building Supports for Homeless Youth

Youth and young adults, particularly those who cannot return home to family, require the support of caring adults. This workshop will focus on service models that help youth build a supportive network, achieve education and employment goals, exit homelessness, and establish independent households.

6.8 Assisting Undocumented Immigrants

Identifying and providing assistance to undocumented immigrants is complicated by a number of barriers, including language, questions about legal eligibility for programming, and cultural differences. Presenters will discuss legal restrictions for certain resources, options available to programs serving undocumented immigrants experiencing homelessness, and outreach into immigrant communities to ensure their needs are not being neglected.