Families

Rapid re-housing with an avenue to access services will provide families with the stability necessary to achieve independence.

The solution to family homelessness is often rapid re-housing. Providing families immediate access to permanent housing often provides them with the stability necessary to achieve independence. Communities that have paved the road to reducing homelessness among families are continuing the effort to help families who become homeless to quickly return to housing while addressing an increasing demand for services during the recession.

The majority of families who experience homelessness are in shelter for a brief period of time and do not become homeless again. Episodes of family homelessness are typically caused by some unforeseen housing or financial crisis: a death in the family, a medical emergency, abuse in the family. Most families utilize the shelter system until the problem is resolved and are then able to move forward. A small portion of families require more intensive services and longer-term assistance.

Communities across the country have seen dramatic declines in family homelessness by committing political will and resources to the issue. Diverting funds and resources normally dedicated to the existing shelter system toward rapid re-housing and family services has been shown to reduce family homelessness.

Prevention policies can do even more to address family homelessness. Ending the vulnerability of families requires a comprehensive effort focused on the income and work support needs of very poor families and that addresses affordable housing.

Spotlight

Library Resources

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Report | December 11, 2012
Prepared by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this paper provides information on national trends that are suggesting significant changes in the country’s approach to ending family homelessness and guidance for responding to these changes by creating well-designed local systems.
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Toolkits | October 3, 2011
This tool may help determine which services a rapid re-housing eligible household needs. Communities would ideally use this tool only after prevention or diversion had been ruled out as options for a household and before or very shortly after admitting them to a shelter program if they have no place else to stay.
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Solutions Brief | September 28, 2010
| Minneapolis and Hennepin County, MN began implementing their Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, Heading Home Hennepin, in January 2007. Using a few replicable practices, the community has made significant progress.
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Solutions Brief | March 29, 2010
The TANF program is an important resource for homeless advocates and planners to be using to help homeless and low-income families. States use TANF resources for a host of supports for low-income families.
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Toolkits | July 29, 2009
The Alliance has published this guide to help organizations develop Rapid Re-Housing programs.
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Solutions Brief | July 13, 2009
This joint paper by the Alliance and Enterprise Community Partners demonstrates the importance of affordable housing in ending homelessness for families.