In this year’s NOFA Registration Notice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is strongly encouraging Continuums of Care (CoCs) to reallocate funding to interventions that more effectively reduce homelessness.
In 2015 you can reallocate funds from existing eligible renewal projects to create new rapid re-housing projects for homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth, who are coming directly from the streets, emergency shelters or who are fleeing domestic violence. If your CoC decided to reallocate funds to fund rapid re-housing through the NOFA process or if you work for a foundation or a local government that wants to fund rapid re-housing, you will probably need to write a Request for Proposals (RFP) and figure out a way to evaluate applications.
One of the most heart-breaking experiences I had as a case manager was with a lesbian client who was invited, with her biological children, to stay at the family shelter where I worked. But because the faith-based shelter’s rules excluded same-sex couples, her female partner was not allowed to join them, even though they were, undeniably, a family unit. That family, understandably, elected to continue living in their car rather than being broken up.
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month, and we at the Alliance (and I personally, as a proud L) want to use our blog this month to highlight issues around LGBT housing and homelessness. A good place to start is the basics of the fight for fair housing: ensuring that everyone has equal access to housing opportunities, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Just yesterday the mayor of Houston Annise Parker announced that her city had ended veteran homelessness. The announcement is getting a fair bit of attention in the press and online (and deservedly so), but here’s one thing those stories aren’t telling you.
Over the last two years, Houston has also reduced the number of families experiencing homelessness on a given night by 39 percent. Houston leaders attribute this progress to their investment in rapid re-housing. If they’re right, the city has more dramatic declines in its future, because they recently tripled their rapid re-housing capacity.
This video is a recording of a webinar that originally streamed April 7, 2015, on family intervention models for homeless and at-risk youth. The Alliance highlighted two effective family intervention models that we learned about as part of our youth homelessness Practice Knowledge Project. Presenters discussed the models used by Cocoon House (Everett, WA) and the Ruth Ellis Center (Detroit, MI).
Those of us who have been engaged in efforts to end family homelessness over the past decade need to acknowledge one of two things: Either the work is extremely complex and difficult, or we’re not very good at our jobs. While both of these statements could be true, given the time, talent, and passion that so many have been focusing on this issue for so long, we conclude (and hope) that the first statement is more accurate.
There are many different crises that can catapult a family into homelessness: Loss of a job, domestic violence, accidents or serious illness, and inter-generational poverty – to name just a few. In addition, despite efforts to coordinate, past experiences in responding to homelessness have shown us that, although admirable, fragmented, non-integrated efforts to solve this problem by organizations and systems working independently and on their own have not stemmed the tide of this crisis.