2012 Family Conference Presentations

The 2012 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness ended on Friday, February 10. For those unable to make our conference - or unable to make certain workshops - presentations materials from select workshops are available here.

Keynote Remarks, Nan Roman
On Thursday, February 9, 2012, Nan Roman - president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness - delivered keynote remarks at the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness.

Pre-Conference Session on Coordinated Entry
The Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building is hosting a pre-conference session focused on planning for the development of a coordinated entry and implementation steps. The session will open with short presentations on the key aspects of successful coordinated entry. A facilitated discussion on these concepts, as well as others of interest to participants, will follow. Audience members will then have time to work on their own communities’ coordinated entry processes. Communities are encouraged to bring their ideas and any work they are currently doing on planning for or implementing a coordinated entry system. Multiple stakeholders from each community are encouraged to attend. Space is limited to the first 50 registrants.

1.1 A Blueprint for Ending Youth Homelessness
How do we end youth homelessness? This workshop will summarize research and examine an emerging typology that can be used to inform and appropriately scale interventions to end youth homelessness. Presenters will describe strategies that are working to help young people reconnect with family and other caring adults when appropriate, and prepare to transition successfully to independent living with housing and supportive services.

1.2 Implementing the HEARTH Act: Preparing for Changes to the Continuum of Care
The HEARTH Act makes many changes to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care programs, including to the incentives and expected performance outcomes. In this workshop national and local experts will share strategies for positioning your program and your community for these changes.

1.3 Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Rapid re-housing is being adapted by domestic violence providers to respond to the housing needs of the women and families they serve. This workshop will examine how rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention strategies are being used to serve survivors of domestic violence. Presenters will share their service models and lead a discussion on how to assist survivors in finding and maintaining safe, permanent housing.

1.4 Preventing, Diverting, and Referring: Keys to Successful Front Doors for Families and Youth
A strong homelessness system entry point can help some families and youth avoid homelessness or reduce the time they remain homeless by quickly connecting them to the right interventions. This workshop will review the key elements needed to create a successful system entry point. Presenters will discuss the logistics of setting up a successful front door and the outcomes they have achieved as a result of it.

1.6 Improving Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Nearly 28,000 youth emancipated from foster care in 2010, and it is imperative that they have access to services, affordable housing options, education, and employment to prepare them to live independently. Communities that have extended foster care to older youth under the Fostering Connections Act and that are creatively using resources to increase housing opportunities will discuss their successes and lessons learned.

1.7 Getting Involved: Effective Messaging for Advocacy
It is critical that policymakers understand the importance of providing adequate resources for homeless assistance. However, it can be difficult to find a message that resonates with this key audience. This workshop will review the basics of getting involved in advocacy and developing a message. Presenters will also explore effective strategies for communicating with policymakers in the current fiscal climate.

1.8 Weathering the Storm: Employment Strategies That Work
To transition back into housing and off of time-limited rent subsidies, families and youth require immediate assistance to achieve sustainable work and economic security. This workshop will examine strategies that have helped low-income parents and youth find and maintain employment. Presenters will discuss strategies cultivated from successful subsidized and transitional employment program models and strategies for parents experiencing homelessness.

2.1 A Blueprint for Ending Family Homelessness
The recent recession and continued economic downturn have negatively impacted families more than any other homeless population. This workshop will explore local program innovations and discuss what systems changes and other efforts are needed to stem the rising tide of family homelessness. Presenters will offer a big-picture look at family homelessness across the nation and what it will take to end it.

2.2 Implementing the HEARTH Act: Preparing for the New Emergency Solutions Grant
Under the HEARTH Act, homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing are eligible activities for the new Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). Presenters will review the changes to the ESG program and discuss ways to transition programs from HPRP to ESG funding. Presenters will also discuss strategies for implementing ESG and will explore successful program models. Other resources for funding these programs will be explored in workshop 5.6.

2.3 Retooling Transitional Housing I: Examining the Options
Many providers and community leaders are exploring options for retooling their transitional housing programs in order to improve their communities’ performance. This workshop will provide an overview of the options available and helpful strategies for deciding which options are preferable.

2.4 Preventing Family Homelessness
One of the keys to ending homelessness is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This workshop will examine the most effective strategies to prevent family homelessness, including using homelessness data to target interventions and partnering with providers serving high-risk families. Presenters will cover a wide array of services and solutions.

2.5 Rapid Re-Housing for Unaccompanied Youth: An Effective Housing Solution
Rapid re-housing has proven effective at ending homelessness among families and individuals. With the increase in the number of these programs, some have expanded to also serve youth with a rapid re-housing model. This workshop will describe the components of the model, and the necessary adaptations to make this model work for unaccompanied homeless youth.

2.7 Intensive Service Models for Families and Youth
Some families and youth benefit from more intensive and long-lasting supportive services to help them successfully transition out of homelessness and achieve housing stability. This workshop will focus on evidence-based service models, including Critical Time Intervention (CTI) and “wrap around”, and how homeless service providers are adapting these service models to get better outcomes for homeless and at-risk families and young adults.

2.8 Roundtable Discussion: Improving Economic Stability Through Employment and Education
This roundtable discussion will explore strategies to improve the long-term economic well-being of homeless families and youth. Attendees are invited to share the strategies they use to help families and youth transition out of poverty. Strategies to facilitate families’ and youth’s access to education, workforce development, and asset development opportunities will be discussed.

3.2 Introduction to Rapid Re-Housing for Families
Even as Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program funding recedes, federal emphasis on rapid re-housing is here to stay, with implications for plans to end family homelessness. This workshop will provide an overview of rapid re-housing for families experiencing homelessness. Presenters will outline the basic housing and service elements needed, with examples showing how communities are making the systemic changes in response to federal policy.

3.3 Emergency Housing Solutions for Runaway and Homeless Youth
When young people run away from home or are thrown out, they need a safe place to stay in order to work on reunifying with family or finding housing. Youth shelters, often called basic centers, are those safe places. Basic centers play a key role in keeping youth away from dangers they would face on the streets or in the home of a stranger and help to facilitate a return to family or other permanent housing placement. This workshop will focus on best practice.

3.4 Effectively Collecting, Coordinating, and Using Youth Data
Data is essential to create effective evidence-based strategies to prevent and end homelessness. This workshop will examine methodologies of point-in-time counts and other surveys, discuss coordinating HMIS with mainstream data systems and explore ways to use these data to inform policy decisions and interventions.

3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?
Building effective homeless assistance systems requires an understanding of the characteristics of families and the effectiveness of interventions that prevent and quickly end homelessness. This workshop will provide the newest findings from the field that can be used to inform decisions and interventions that affect homelessness in your community.

3.6 Ending Homelessness for Veterans and Their Families
In order to reach the federal goal of ending veterans homelessness by 2015, new grants such as Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) have recently been released. This workshop will look at how these and other programs will be implemented to prevent homelessness and help homeless veterans and their families reconnect to housing in their communities.

3.7 Partnering to Improve Employment Outcomes
Several federal programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), are specifically charged with helping low-income people connect to employment. This workshop will examine innovative partnerships between homelessness service providers and state and local programs to improve the housing and employment outcomes of families and youth. Experts will explain how to navigate requirements for WIA, TANF, and other programs. Presenters from the field will explore engagement strategies and how to develop partnerships with local agencies and educational institutions.

3.8 What’s at Stake: Federal Policy Decisions in 2012 and Beyond
The deficit reduction deal and further decisions made by Congress to reduce the federal deficit have made, and will continue to make, a tremendous impact on low-income housing and homeless assistance programs for many years to come. This workshop will cover the important funding decisions of the past months with an outlook on select programs for the upcoming year and beyond. Presenters will discuss ways in which advocates can make an impact at this incredibly important time to preserve and increase funding for key programs.

4.1 Running on All Cylinders: Homeless Systems Measurement
All parts of the homeless system engine should be working together. How well are your collective responses working? Is your community experiencing system-wide reductions in homelessness? Are individual’s and family’s length of homeless episodes decreasing? This workshop will discuss ways to measure your homeless assistance system and will help your community answer these questions to stay on the path toward ending homelessness.

4.2 Partnering with Landlords
One of the key strategies in rapidly re-housing families is creating and maintaining strong relationships with a variety of private and public landlords. This workshop will cover how to develop strong partnerships with landlords and how to use those relationships to quickly acquire housing. Strategies such as finding housing units, landlord mediation, and conflict resolution will be discussed.

4.3 Designing Effective Housing Subsidy Programs
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program has led to experimentation with different housing subsidy models. During this workshop, presenters will discuss their experiences designing, implementing, and evaluating a variety of short- and medium-term rental subsidy programs. Presenters will also discuss how programs are preparing families to transition off of time-limited rent subsidies.

4.4 Strategic and Systematic Planning for Serving Unaccompanied Youth
To effectively end youth homelessness, strategic planning and coordination of the systems and programs that youth use are necessary. This workshop will examine how some communities have tackled the process of system-wide planning to end homelessness for youth.

4.5 Family Reunification: Promising Approaches, Promising Outcomes
There is a window of opportunity to reunify runaway youth with their families. At times, providers rely upon collaborations with local law enforcement, child welfare, and other community providers to facilitate reunification. This workshop will explore promising practices and interventions to reunify youth with their families. Research on family acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth as a tool to prevent and end homelessness will also be discussed.

4.6 Unique Challenges and Innovative SolutionsServing families and youth experiencing homelessness in rural communities includes a distinct set of obstacles that are not always covered in larger discussions about homelessness. In this interactive workshop, audience members and presenters will discuss the problems their communities have faced and how they have attempted to overcome them, with additional discussion on opportunities and challenges associated with HEARTH Act implementation.

4.7 Supporting Undocumented Families and Youth
It is often unclear what programs can be accessed by families and youth who are undocumented. This workshop will explore eligibility criteria for homelessness programs for undocumented residents, and protections in the law for immigrant victims of domestic violence. Presenters will also share strategies local providers have adopted to reach out to undocumented families and youth experiencing homelessness.

5.1 Retooling Transitional Housing II: Implementing Changes to Your Program
If you are planning to make significant changes to your transitional housing program, this workshop will help you identify the steps you can consider and provide examples and tools for taking those steps. Providers who have retooled their transitional housing will share their experiences about making the shift, and cover topics such as staffing, contracts, and working with board members.

5.2 Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach
Programs increasing rely on voluntary services and harm reduction strategies to successfully work with vulnerable families and youth. This workshop will examine how providers have made the transition to a voluntary-services approach and how it has impacted their program outcomes.

5.3 Better Outcomes for All: Working with Mainstream Services Agencies to End Homelessness
Ending homelessness requires the support of agencies and resources outside of the homeless assistance system like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and child welfare. This workshop will identify some of these key agencies and offer ideas on how they can work with homeless assistance providers to improve outcomes for youth, families, homeless providers, and themselves. An additional focal point will be how to ensure community resources are allocated fairly based on need.

5.4 The Role of Permanent Supportive Housing in Ending Family Homelessness
To remain stable, some families with disabling physical and behavioral health challenges need the services linked to housing provided by permanent supportive housing (PSH). With limited PSH capacity and increased family homelessness, communities have to be strategic in deciding PSH placements and designing appropriate service plans. This workshop will look at successful PSH programs for families and suggest targeting strategies under the overall goal of ending family homelessness.

5.5 Housing and Service Interventions for Youth and Young Parents: Successful Models
For unaccompanied youth and young parents who cannot be reunified with their families or quickly re-housed independently, longer-term housing interventions may be necessary. This workshop will examine transitional housing models currently being utilized to serve youth and young parents, including congregate facilities and scattered-site units, as well as methods of targeting and minimizing involuntary exits.

5.6 Beyond HPRP: Sustaining Rapid Re-Housing and Prevention Programs
As the resources from the stimulus-funded Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) diminish, communities are faced with finding new ways to keep their HPRP-funded programs running. In this workshop, presenters will share creative strategies to preserve and maintain rapid re-housing and prevention efforts.

5.7 Serving LGBTQ Youth through Equality and Inclusion
It is important that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)youth receive culturally-competent services that consider their unique trajectory into, and experience of, homelessness. LGBTQ youth have an opportunity for improved outcomes when programs provide interventions that facilitate healthy family connections, provide equal access and treatment, and foster their positive development by connecting them with affirming LGBTQ health and community services.

6.1 Innovative Partnerships with PHAs
Ending homelessness cannot be done without the support of mainstream partners, including public housing agencies (PHAs). This workshop will highlight innovative models being used by PHAs to prevent and end family homelessness in their communities. Presenters will also discuss strategies for strengthening the relationship between local homeless assistance systems and PHAs.

6.2 Smart Shelter: How Shelters Can Improve Outcomes in Housing First Systems Having supportive, permanent housing-focused shelters is a crucial piece to any Housing First homeless assistance system. In this workshop, presenters will talk about the key role shelters play in improving system performance on key outcomes and reducing episodes of homelessness in their communities.

6.3 Protecting Homeless Youth from Sexual Trafficking
Runaway and homeless youth are at great risk of sexual trafficking and exploitation. This workshop will help homeless service providers identify at-risk youth, provide models of intervention, and look at ways to prevent the sexual trafficking of homeless youth.

6.5 The Role of Faith Based Providers
It can be challenging to ensure that all of the key players are participants in the planning and implementation of community initiatives to end homelessness. This workshop will explore how to engage and work with faith-based providers who are key providers of services and transitional housing. Part of the discourse will include looking at philosophical differences among organizations as well as different service models and how they can be combined into a cohesive community response.

6.6 Family and Youth Program Measurement Simplified
Effective homeless assistance systems rely on quality data and performance measurement. This workshop will describe simple steps to evaluate program outcomes as well as practical strategies for using data systems to support a performance-based homeless assistance system.


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