2011 Family Conference Presentations

The 2011 National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness ended on Friday, February 11. For those unable to make our conference - or unable to make certain workshops - presentations materials from select workshops are available here.

1.1: Ending Family Homelessness: An Overview
This workshop will provide an overview of the research, policies, and local program innovations that are transforming the nation’s response to family homelessness. It is an ideal introduction to the “big picture” of what it will take to end homelessness for families.


1.2: Building Blocks: Planning a Family Homelessness System
This workshop is for those interested in how to make their community’s family homelessness programs into an efficient system. For state and local officials, planners, advocates, and leaders of provider agencies, this session will cover reducing fragmentation and organizing a family system that gets results. This workshop will discuss how a well-planned family homelessness system can produce more effective prevention, shorter spells of homelessness, and minimized consequences of homelessness for families.


1.6: Addressing Family Homelessness in Rural Communities
Responding to rural family homelessness is complicated by problems of identifying homeless families and allocating scarce resources across wide service areas. Rural communities across the country have made significant progress in reducing family homelessness and increasing the effectiveness of their Continuums of Care (CoC). This workshop will profile the strategies of effective rural programs and communities and identify how these strategies can facilitate successful HEARTH implementation.


1.7: Understanding the HEARTH Act
The HEARTH Act will put a greater focus on performance and flexibility, significantly changing how the Department of Housing and Urban Development funds homelessness assistance. This session will detail the basic features of the HEARTH Act and its implications for your community.


2.1 Basics of Rapid Re-Housing
Rapid re-housing programs offer a constellation of services, including housing search aid, rental assistance, and transitional case management to help families minimize their time in shelter to secure a home of their own. This workshop provides an introduction to rapid re-housing for families and includes a discussion of how the model is being used to serve domestic violence survivors.


2.4: Growing Resources: Connecting Families to Benefits and Services
he process of accessing public benefits and services can be a challenge for both caseworkers and families. Presenters in this workshop will discuss ways to better advocate for families experiencing homelessness, including ways to implement the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery Initiative (SOAR), leverage TANF benefits, and more.


2.5: A Rising Tide: How to Respond to Increased Family Homelessness
Across the country, many communities are experiencing an increase in homelessness among families. This workshop will offer examples of how some communities are responding to these increases, and discuss alternatives to developing shelters as a means to address homelessness.


2.6 Expert Forum: Data and Performance Simplified
Homeless assistance increasingly relies on data, performance measurement, and management of information systems. This workshop will describe elementary concepts in data and performance management, as well as practical strategies for using data systems to support a performance-based homeless assistance system. This workshop is designed to prepare those inexperienced with data and performance measurement for the HEARTH Data and Performance Measurement workshop.


2.7: Addressing the Substance Abuse Challenges of Homeless Families
Oftentimes, families experiencing homelessness have either a history of substance abuse or active substance use, which presents a barrier to helping them re-access housing, particularly within organizations or programs that require abstinence. Presenters in this workshop will identify ways of addressing the substance abuse challenges faced by families. Both abstinence and harm-reduction strategies will be included.


2.8: Expert Forum: Advancing the Federal Strategic Plan
Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness set ambitious goals for ending homelessness this decade. In this workshop, staff from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness will provide an update on progress toward the goals laid out in the plan and discuss implementation efforts made by the Administration.


3.2: On Point: Targeting your Prevention Efforts
In this workshop, speakers examine how to target prevention resources by identifying key risk factors, evaluating prevention outcomes, and improving program performance. Invited speakers will go over their own prevention programs, evaluate their successes and failures, and share strategies that have proven effective at efficiently targeting precious resources.


3.4: Ending Homelessness for Veterans and their Families
More veterans are experiencing homelessness with their families. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is aggressively pursuing an end to veterans’ homelessness by collaborating with community partners that are working to end family homelessness. This workshop will focus on how VA programs and local communities can work together to meet their mutual goals of ending veteran and family homelessness, and discuss new funding opportunities for nonprofits.


3.7: Voluntary Case Management Strategies
Interest in voluntary models of case management is growing with the increased use of rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing models. Speakers in this workshop will discuss engagement strategies and the organizational shift needed to serve families through a voluntary approach. Panelists will focus on services for young mothers and survivors of domestic violence.


4.3: In Transition: Making the Most of Your Transitional Housing Resources
Increased use of prevention, rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing is giving communities a new set of tools to end family homelessness. As a result, transitional housing providers can now target this resource much more strategically or redesign their approach altogether. Presenters will provide examples of conversion, specialization, and modification of transitional housing programs to improve outcomes.


4.4: Closing the Front Door: Decreasing Homelessness through Successful Diversion
What does it take to create a successful diversion program? Which strategies work the best? Speakers in the workshop will go beyond surface-level discussions and explore how diversion programs help participants avoid entry into homelessness. Representatives from successful programs will discuss the tactics they use in their everyday work, including ways to help people who come to the “front door” of their homeless system secure temporary housing with family members or friends when that is a better option.


4.7: Rethinking Services: Partnering for Results
Families could benefit from a wider array of services than homeless programs are typically able to provide. This workshop will examine how homeless service providers are developing new partnerships to leverage quality services for families and improve housing outcomes.


5.1: Learning Labs: Using Workgroups to Improve Community Interventions
Some communities regularly convene workgroups to monitor implementation of HPRP and other initiatives to end homelessness. The workgroups monitor progress and use preliminary data to refine program interventions, inform local policies, and educate stakeholders. This workshop will examine the use of local workgroups to improve a community’s response to family homelessness.


5.2: What's Working: Examples from Successful Prevention Programs
Community-based prevention strategies have shown strong, measurable results when programs have utilized effective targeting techniques. This workshop will offer case studies from communities that have successfully implemented prevention strategies by targeting high-need families.


5.4: Identifying and Serving Unsheltered Families
Families experiencing homelessness are sometimes hidden in substandard housing, tent cities, or cars. Inability to find these families may lead to inaccurate homeless counts and a dearth of appropriate services. Speakers in this workshop will offer suggestions on how to work with different community partners to find, serve, and relocate unsheltered families.


5.5: Leveraging Your Message to Advance Your Advocacy Agenda
Communication is one of the most integral parts of any advocacy effort. By properly identifying their main messages and effectively communicating with decision makers and opinion leaders, communities are able to build momentum and secure new resources for their efforts to end homelessness. Presenters will discuss ways to create and identify core messages, as well as the most effective strategies for sharing their messages with policymakers.


5.6: One Month or 18? Maximizing HPRP to End Homelessness
The Department of Housing and Urban Development encourages the use of HPRP to provide just enough financial assistance, but no more than is needed, to prevent or end homelessness for families. This workshop examines strategies to allocate local HPRP funding and maximize the number of families served.


5.7: Bridging the Gap: Connecting Systems to Benefit Families
Coordinating homeless assistance services with mainstream services ultimately leads to better outcomes for families experiencing homelessness. The workshop will focus on ways to integrate resources across systems, including use of systems integration and regional interagency councils on homelessness. Speakers will discuss strategies they have used to create collaboration on issues such as child development and domestic violence, to develop agency memorandums of understanding, and to establish other connections with mainstream services.


6.1: Supporting Families: Federal Funding Opportunities
This workshop explores new federal funding resources that can serve homeless and at-risk parents and children. Home Visiting and the Housing and Services Demonstration for Homeless Persons are among the programs covered.


6.2: Building Employment Capacity for Homeless Families
Helping individuals build the skills necessary to secure stable employment and earn an income is a key part of ensuring housing stabilization and ending homelessness. This workshop will cover strategies to help parents find long-term employment and build their educational credentials. Speakers will explore engagement strategies and how to develop partnerships with local employment and educational institutions.


6.3: Prioritizing Permanent Housing: Advanced Re-Housing Strategies
This workshop examines strategies for placing permanent housing front and center on the local homelessness assistance agenda, in line with increasing federal emphasis on that goal. Speakers will discuss useful strategies for assisting families by working with landlords, facilitating shared living arrangements, and providing homelessness diversion services.


6.4: Family Matters: Family Preservation and Family Reunification
Homeless and at-risk families are often times impacted by prior or current involvement with systems such as Corrections and Child Welfare. This workshop will focus on understanding the impact of these systems on families and how housing models and programs can help families to stay together or reunify.


6.7 Intensive Service Interventions for People with Disabilities
This workshop will bring together program staff who have experience working with parents who are struggling with mental health, substance abuse or physical challenges such as HIV/AIDS. Presenters will share service models to help families stabilize in housing and thrive.


6.8: Understanding the HEARTH Act
The HEARTH Act will put a greater focus on performance and flexibility, significantly changing how the Department of Housing and Urban Development funds homelessness assistance. This session will detail the basic features of the HEARTH Act and its implications for your community.



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