Speaker: Nan Roman – CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness
This session will review the economic factors driving homelessness, and why permanent housing remains the ultimate solution. Join experts to explore policy opportunities to improve the homeless system’s interaction with people who are unsheltered and learn about permanent housing outcomes through the work of local communities. Speakers will also discuss diverse, effective advocacy strategies at the federal, state, and local levels while considering an equity framework.
The outside spaces of cities and counties were not built for long-term human habitation. Yet, with growing rates of unsheltered homelessness, thousands of people call the sidewalk their home. While the most effective solution to addressing the proliferation of encampments is more viable housing options, systems of care must reduce harm that people living in encampments face every day due to lack of heat, water, bathrooms, and safe places to store belongings. This session will outline the current practices in delivering life-saving resources on a street level and the creative partnership required to ensure people living in encampments have their basic human need met.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced communities to reevaluate their approaches to congregate shelter. Explore how communities are now assessing shelter operations to ensure that people who need shelter will access it. Attendees will also hear strategies for modifying or dismantling entry protocols, service requirements, and other factors that impede rapid access to shelter.
This session will focus on the October 2021 ACLU California’s Outside the Law: The Legal War Against Unhoused People report and the subsequent legislative efforts to end criminalization of homelessness. Communities must acknowledge that there is no evidence that criminalization assists in ending homelessness and begin to rethink their approaches to unsheltered homelessness and with people with mental and/or behavioral health disabilities. Learn from experts on effective alternatives to criminalization and the end of police involvement in strategies to address unsheltered homelessness as well as strategies to persuade and prevent elected officials from pursuing criminalization efforts.
This session will explore how racism has driven historical and structural barriers impacting people of color in the U.S. Attendees will learn about the linkage between racism and the overrepresentation of minority groups in the homelessness system and share how this connection can be centered in the work to end homelessness.
American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian populations account for one percent of the U.S. population, but seven percent of the unsheltered population. This workshop explores the unique challenges facing homeless Native Americans and Alaska Natives in urban areas, especially systemic racism that impacts housing and employment opportunities. Given new HUD policies, this session will also outline the difficulties in accessing CoC resources on reservations.
How can providers and systems support people who require more intensive services than traditional PSH programs can offer? Panelists will examine the funding streams that are making such intensive services possible, the partnerships with health and behavioral health programs that are needed, and the specialized staffing needs and training protocols required to assist high need populations. Together, panelists and attendees will discuss importance of attending to equity in access to, and outcomes from, PSH and other intensive housing responses.
Nurturing genuine relationships is the key to successfully engaging with those who are unsheltered and building a pathway to get them into housing. However, rural outreach looks different than outreach in more urban or populated areas. Learn more about the unique issues that unsheltered persons in rural areas face, as well as strategies for robust outreach practices. These include methods of engagement to forge trusting relationships between outreach workers and those they serve.
Rising unsheltered levels have become the focal point for the nation’s homelessness crisis. However, the differences between who is unsheltered and who is not also expose another crisis: that of racial disparities in homelessness. Learn how communities are researching and understanding the factors that drive these disparities, and what your community can do to address the most common causes of them.
LGBTQ populations face a myriad of risks related to homelessness, with a dramatically higher unsheltered rate among transgender and gender non-binary people experiencing homelessness. This workshop addresses sources of LGBTQ discrimination as both a cause of homelessness and perpetuating barrier to its resolution, including hate crimes, housing and employment discrimination, and estrangement from family support networks.
Households living in cars, vans, and recreational vehicles often have different needs than other populations, leading communities in search of effective interventions to engage these households. This session will explore what interventions are working to support these households, connect them to services, and identify permanent solutions for them.
Traditional law enforcement responses can be dangerously counter-productive when people experiencing unsheltered homelessness have non-violent behavioral health crises. But what are better response systems in such situations—on the streets, in shelters and assisted housing? Learn from two communities that are developing alternative responses that do and don’t involve police, including their decisions about staffing, training, and funding. Understand the intersection of race and differential responses to behavioral health crises, and learn how to build support for alternative responses. Determine how these communities are breaking the cycle of “street, crisis, ambulance, ER, and street again”.
This workshop addresses the disproportionate level of criminalization among unsheltered homeless youth, the need for better integration of youth services within the CoC system, and strategies to keep young people safe until shelter or housing becomes available.
Libby Schaaf – Mayor, City of Oakland, CA
Jeff Olivet – Executive Director, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
As the federal government puts an increasing focus on racial equity, what resources can best support the homelessness sector’s work? Learn more about existing government efforts, as well as the resources and programs being developed by government agencies that can impact efforts to reduce disparities in unsheltered homelessness.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, unsheltered individuals struggled to meet their most basic needs for nourishment, hydration, hygiene, and health. What did we learn about delivering these necessities during a pandemic? Did these efforts promote or undermine racial equities, and what lessons should be incorporated into ongoing practices after the pandemic? Learn how communities are making health care and medication more accessible to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness through street medicine and drop-in clinics.
Research shows that many individuals experiencing homelessness die on the streets having never been identified or engaged by the homeless system. This session will explore how communities can bolster their efforts to quickly identify individuals who are reluctant to engage and how innovative programs like integrated and interdisciplinary mobile street outreach teams use housing first and harm reduction to quickly connect individuals to health supports and housing.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is the largest federal program to pay for housing, and new voucher resources have already been made available through the Emergency Housing Voucher program. This workshop will provide examples of using vouchers to house people who are homeless and have severe barriers to rehousing. Coordinating other community resources is key: reaching out to people and organizations who may have critical need but may not be in the homeless system’s records, especially people of color; working with potential landlords to make units available; and ensuring that people have access to behavioral health and other kinds of services.
There are varying and often diverging points of view on how to address people living in public spaces, as well as mounting pressure on elected officials to quickly resolve highly visible encampments. But what does the current research say about effective practices in encampment engagement? This session will not only review emerging research outcomes on effective practices but also examine strategies to advocate for data-driven approaches, as opposed to political decisions, on how to thoughtfully move people from the streets into safe housing options.
No one should ever experience homelessness, and this is especially true for families with children. This population faces even greater challenges if they go unsheltered. Learn from communities using innovative housing practices that are moving homeless families with children from the street into housing.
With an eye towards advancing racial equity, communities are rethinking the ways they collect and share data. In doing so, some systems are incorporating more POCs and people with lived experience in their decision making. Further, new data-based approaches are being used to reduce racial disparities tied to assessment tools. These innovations can help triage the unsheltered and others. Panelists will discuss these emerging pathways towards greater equity.
Law enforcement are often the de facto first responders at encampments. However, mitigating unnecessary police involvement can be critical to a person’s successful journey off the streets. This session will explore effective alternatives to traditional police engagement in encampments and examine whether law enforcement have a positive role to play when partnered with the right service provision.
Hotels to housing strategies have been one of the most innovative success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic. Explore how communities in a variety of geographic regions have successfully converted hotels and motels to permanent housing. This session will discuss the funding, partnerships and support leveraged in these efforts. Presenters will identify strategies used to prioritize units for unsheltered and high-need populations.
The Point-in-Time Count provides an important snapshot on the state of homelessness in America. This workshop will highlight the issues related to an incomplete picture of unsheltered homelessness from 2021. It will also explore successful approaches used to conduct 2022’s unsheltered count in various geographic regions, including the adoption of mobile technology.
Including state matching funds, California will have $1.3 billion in one-time Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that it plans to spend on homelessness. The state has proposed that Medi-Cal managed care plans should be able to earn incentive funds for making investments and progress in addressing homelessness and keeping people housed.
This session will explore several questions: How will these funds be spent? What will these investments mean for local homelessness systems in California? How will these decisions promote racial equity? What plans have other states made to use ARPA HCBS funds to reduce homelessness, and what can be learned from California’s decisions?
Older adults are increasingly represented among those experiencing unsheltered homelessness. New federal funding provides an opportunity to elevate the needs of unhoused older adults, especially those with disabilities. This session will examine opportunities across the continuum of services for homeless people to ensure older adults, particularly those with disabilities, receive the accommodations and support they require and are entitled to receive. Participants and audience members will explore how to leverage these opportunities to reduce unsheltered homelessness among older adults and leverage new federal resources to help them transition to safe permanent housing with supports tailored to their needs.
This session will explore common mental and behavioral challenges experienced by people in homeless services systems. Panelists will cover what clinical and therapeutic supports are available to people experiencing homelessness and how they are best integrated into homeless services. Participants will discuss best practices for partnering with relevant agencies.
How are Rapid Re-Housing strategies, such as innovative housing navigation tactics and robust case management, being used to help people connect directly to housing from unsheltered homelessness? This session will provide a deep dive on how to prepare program participants to succeed in housing. Panelists will explore the use of shallow subsidies (like RRH) when permanent housing resources are unavailable, share landlord recruitment strategies to re-house those with poor (or nonexistent) rental histories, and examine how case managers play a vital role in encouraging housing stability. This session will also explore strategies to advance equity in housing outcomes, promote fair housing, and respect housing choice.
The strategy of surging resources to resolve a specific encampment or a defined geographic area has become a common practice, particularly in West Coast cities. What have we learned from these various pilot efforts? How are response systems balancing the policies of Coordinated Entry System while also focusing on place-based strategies? Can communities ensure an Encampment-to-Home project has lasting results? This session will explore the emerging learnings from 3 encampment resolution projects in Los Angeles and spark discussion on what next steps are recommended for future projects.
Unsheltered people of color face a much higher level of interactions with law enforcement than their white peers. As the movement for police reform continues to gain momentum, what opportunities does this create to better serve BIPOC spaces? Panelists will share models that employ alternatives to policing, with a focus on practices for better matching people experiencing unsheltered homelessness with experts who are best equipped to address their needs.
The United States Congress has taken on big issues related to homelessness. Important decisions could be made about resources and priorities as early as the week of the conference, and continuing throughout the year. This workshop will allow people to understand what policy proposals are on the table now and will likely be through the year, with a focus on funding for homelessness programs, housing, health care, and other key issues.
This session will discuss the pivotal role of Medicaid in keeping vulnerable people stably housed. Participants will learn about specific Medicaid benefits that can be aligned with housing initiatives to boost support for people experiencing homelessness.
This session will focus on the collaborative work done in 2019 and 2021 by the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, public funders, street outreach providers, and OrgCode Consulting to develop Street Outreach standard for the region. Attendees will learn about what instigated this work, how the collaborative process was designed, the development of the standards, and the expected and hoped for results of this work to quickly connect unsheltered households to housing and services.
Participants will hear from leaders in the field about involving people with lived experience in their organizational racial equity work to improve outcomes. The session will explore the value of qualitative analysis, diversity, and inclusion to better serve people of color disproportionately impacted by homelessness.
How is problem solving properly implemented as part of both individual and system-level diversion and rapid resolution practices? In this session, presenters will share how problem solving is being used to assist unsheltered people out of homelessness, and explore how systems are using data and forging new partnerships to ensure equitable implementation.
Presenters will also examine research on the impact of problem-solving diversion and rapid resolution on people assisted with these strategies. This session will explore use of flexible financial assistance, including implementation of a centralized diversion fund, and other sources of funding to support problem solving strategies.
This session will activate a critical conversation on how to maintain and recruit valuable front-line staff, who are often working under stressful conditions amidst the current disruptions in the labor market. Presenters will explore how homeless service organizations can best support their workforce, especially when it comes to curtailing burn out.
The growing population of older adults experiencing homelessness faces unique needs and greater levels of vulnerability. Join this session to understand the causes of premature aging in the homeless population and its policy implications and consequences; learn about the intersection of premature aging, race, and race equity; and discuss possible solutions to guide policy and practice.
This session will discuss opioid use disorder among people experiencing homelessness and the challenges of balancing appropriate medical care with a Housing First approach. Attendees will learn about innovative strategies to address the intersection between the unsheltered homelessness crisis and the opioid epidemic.
This workshop explores best practices for making HUD-VASH vouchers available to all veteran communities, with an emphasis on navigating “Other Than Honorable” discharges, expanding resources for case management, and strengthening technical assistance to grantees.
Presenters will discuss the intersection of racial trauma and the trauma of homelessness. Attendees will learn how culturally specific approaches and racially conscious trauma-informed care can help organizations navigate the complexities of racial trauma. This session will discuss building a genuine rapport with clients of color experiencing homelessness, as well as concepts like trust building and provider-client racial match or mismatch.
With more people living unsheltered than ever before, service and housing providers must re-evaluate antiquated program models or requiring in-person appointments. This session will review the “whatever-it-takes” approach to meaningfully engage and bring services to the field in the most low-barrier way possible.
This workshop examines the scarcity of shelter beds, high rates of violence/sexual assault, and racial disparities within the unsheltered population of homeless women surviving the streets on their own. Presenters will also discuss effective partnerships between the domestic violence and homeless service sectors.
Unprecedented new resources are on the table to address homelessness. Effective partnerships between CoCs, Mayors’ offices, and local, state, and federal agencies are critical for equitably expending permanent housing resources for the highest need homeless populations. Attendees will explore strategies to expedite availability of housing, including using underutilized hotels and other commercial buildings, expanding rapid rehousing, adhering to fair housing standards, and overcoming NIMBYism in the siting or acquisition of property. Speakers will also share advice for ensuring that the highest need households – including unsheltered individuals – are prioritized for these resources.
Marcia L. Fudge – 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Joy Moses – Director, Homelessness Research Institute, National Alliance to End Homelessness
Earl J. Edwards – Homeless Policy Researcher and Founder of EverExcel Consulting LLC
Nan Roman – CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness