Category: Chronic Homelessness

Here are 6 Places that are Using Medicaid to End Chronic Homelessness

As communities are becoming more advanced in their efforts to end chronic homelessness they are taking steps to secure funding in systemic ways and from a variety of sources, including Medicaid.

Chronically homeless people make up just a small part of the overall homeless population (15 percent on a given night), but they are the hardest to help. All chronically homeless people struggle with serious physical or mental disabilities, including mental illnesses like schizophrenia and alcohol or drug addiction, that make obtaining and maintaining housing on their own extremely difficult.

The State of Homelessness in America 2015: Trends in Chronic Homelessness

Here at the Alliance, we like to say at homelessness should be rare, brief, and non-recurring. For many people who experience homelessness, this is true. But for 15 percent of the homeless population, the opposite is true: they experience homelessness repeatedly and/or for long periods of time, and they have a disability (such as serious mental illness, chronic substance use disorders, or chronic medical issues). These people are chronically homeless.

People experiencing chronic homelessness tend to be the most difficult to stably house and, as a result, are the most vulnerable people in the homeless population. Many communities, with the support of the federal government, have targeted interventions toward chronic homelessness in the past decade. Research shows that most effective intervention to end chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing, which combines stable housing with supportive services.

Ending Chronic Homelessness, Now in 2017

Over the years, chronic homelessness in America has dropped significantly. Thanks to the hard work of housing agencies, and advocates in communities around the country, working with the support of federal policies, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has declined by 21 percent since 2010.

Even so, on a given night, more than 80,000 individuals experience chronic homelessness, which means they are disabled and have experienced homelessness either for a year or longer or at least four times in the last three years. Chronically homeless people make up less than 15 percent of the overall population on a given night, but they are the most vulnerable, and therefore the most in need of our help.

(It’s also cheaper to house them than let them remain homelessness, when you weigh the cost in social services against the cost of providing them with housing services.)

That’s why, back in 2010, the Obama administration set a goal for ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016 in “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.” That’s a year later than the date the administration set for ending veteran homelessness, and while we’re optimistic about ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 (and we’re not alone), ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2016 seemed increasingly unlikely.

Here’s How the President’s Budget Would Reduce Homelessness

Earlier this week President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016, which begins Oct. 1, 2015. The proposal includes strong measures to help communities re-house homeless people and prevent people who are at-risk from becoming homeless. As has become typical over the past several years, however, grave disagreement between the administration and Congress over larger budget issues means a lot of uncertainty for the future of homeless programs. The President’s budget presents a feasible best-case-scenario for progress on homelessness. (The worst-case-scenario is decidedly grimmer.) It’s based on some commonsense assumptions about homelessness.

Preparing for the 2017 Unsheltered Point-in-Time Count

In this recording of a webinar, " Prepare for the 2015 Point-in-Time Count: Unsheltered Count 101," which originally streamed Nov. 3, 2014, speakers discuss the basics of planning and implementing an unsheltered Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. William Snow of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides guidance on federal regulations, and leaders from the Continuums of Care (CoCs) in Las Vegas and Winston-Salem, N.C., share their most effective unsheltered PIT Count strategies.

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