A surprisingly high number of young mothers with very young children – infants and toddlers – experience homelessness each year. In some communities, nearly half of homeless families include a mother under the age of 25.
In addition to having very little financial resources to pay for housing, these young moms also often lack support to meet their children’s needs. That’s why rapid re-housing providers who serve homeless families may want to explore working more closely with organizations that are designed to provide early childhood development services.
Diversion has become a critical part of our conversations on how to end homelessness. But what do we really mean when we talk about diversion? It seems that when we start talking about how to implement diversion as part of a best practice crisis response system to end homelessness, everyone has a different idea of what it means.
To make sure we are effectively using diversion as a best practice to meet the objective of reducing the number of people who become homeless, let’s start with what the word “diversion” means. According to the Cambridge American Dictionary, "diversion" is defined as “the act of causing something or someone to turn in a different direction.”
A few years ago, the Commonwealth of Virginia decided to make a major change in the way their homelessness funding and strategies worked.
In Virginia, like many communities, state funds were invested heavily in emergency shelter operations. Based on the success with rapid re-housing Virginia experienced when implementing the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), they decided to adopt rapid re-housing as the commonwealth's primary intervention for homeless families.
This resource examines the Department of Housing and Urban Development's short-term impacts report on its Family Options Study. It looks at what the report's findings say for the effectiveness of family homelessness interventions, including long-term subsidies, rapid re-housing, and transitional housing.
Whether you work with unaccompanied youth, families, or single adults experiencing homelessness, I want you to stop and think about the proposed Homeless Children and Youth Act, S.256 and its implications. Frankly it is one of those pieces of legislation that sound awesome until you pull back the curtain. It is not mom and apple pie. There are implications to this that we need to dissect and consider from a funding, operational, and policy perspective. It is possible to think critically about the bill and still be supportive of ending homelessness amongst youth, as well as ending homelessness for children and their families. And yes, there are implications to communities and service providers that customarily do not work with youth or families. S.256 impacts all people experiencing homelessness, funders, service providers, and Continua of Care.
Here are the highlights of S.256.