Five homeless service professionals from the United States and five from the United Kingdom are spending two weeks this spring studying approaches to ending homelessness across the pond. It is called the Transatlantic Practice Exchange, and the Alliance is partnering with Homeless Link and the Oak Foundation to facilitate this amazing opportunity.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) examines the declarations of homelessness as a state of emergency (SOE) from nine jurisdictions to determine whether an SOE declaration could be used as an advocacy tool to advance permanent solutions.
Here at the Alliance, we believe the solution to homelessness is housing. Connecting homeless people to housing ends their homelessness, but finding the resources to help people access housing isn’t always easy. And unfortunately, economic trends are making this task even harder.
In many places across America, there is simply not enough affordable housing available to move people out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Without this housing stock, many homeless Americans are likely to remain stuck in the homeless assistance system. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this problem is about to get better any time soon.
On behalf of the District of Columbia, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to our nation’s capital – where we have joined the nationwide race to end homelessness.
Washington is a wonderful city, a world-class city. This is my hometown, and I can tell you firsthand – we’ve come a long way since I was a kid. We enjoy one of the healthiest economies in the country. We are one of the fastest growing cities. We top just about every ‘top 10’ list when it comes to livability. And our city finances are strong. Yet despite our tremendous success and prosperity, prosperity does not reach every corner of our city.
Here at the Alliance, we believe that homelessness has a solution: housing. This solution sounds simple, right? In many ways, it is.
So if the solution to homelessness is so simple, why haven’t we ended homelessness yet? In large part, the answer lies in a lack of affordable housing. Recent economic and housing trends have resulted in a shortfall of affordable housing, particularly for low-income households. This in turn has left many people homeless and many more people vulnerable to homelessness.
A recent report on housing and rental market trends from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, The State of the Nation’s Housing, shows that rents have been rising across the nation while the supply of affordable housing has been falling. The growing disparity has forced many low-income renters (particularly those in high-cost markets) into precarious positions and placed them at particular risk of homelessness.