The New ESG: Using the Lessons of HPRP and Other Initiatives to Inform ESG Implementation

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Federal Policy Brief | January 6, 2012

Files: PDF | 329 KB | 6 pages

The new regulations for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program add rapid re-housing and more robust prevention to the traditional shelter and prevention activities that were part of the Emergency Shelter Grant.

The new ESG program offers a great opportunity to improve homeless assistance — continuing some of the successful initiatives funded by HPRP and also developing community-wide rapid re-housing strategies. At the same time, it comes at a time of great fiscal challenges. To have a meaningful impact on homelessness, the new ESG program will have to be implemented carefully.

The Alliance has been investigating how HPRP and other initiatives were implemented in numerous communities. This brief distills those findings into six recommendations for implementing the new ESG program:

  • Small amounts of assistance can be extremely effective. It is better to stretch resources by providing smaller amounts of assistance to more people.
  • Rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention work for people with many barriers to housing stability. Concerns about tenants being able to sustain their housing should be addressed through program design rather than by screening people out of assistance.
  • The evidence for the effectiveness of rapid re-housing is strong and therefore rapid re-housing should be prioritized.
  • Targeting prevention to people who are most likely to become homeless is critically important and extremely challenging, and it requires a focused effort.
  • Successful prevention and rapid re-housing assistance programs rely on a community-wide performance and outcome measurement process.
  • Ending homelessness requires a robust, community-wide system of rapid re-housing, and the new ESG funding should be combined with other resources to create that system.

Click here to download the entire brief.