The following reports, studies, and noteworthy news items illuminate the particular issues homeless families face, why some federal initiatives such as HUD’s Point in Time count of the homeless and Rapid Rehousing do a disservice to homeless families, and what better approaches are being utilized to provide effective solutions to family homelessness.
Click here for a study on Rapid Rehousing titled, “A Better Way: Providing Real Solutions for Homeless Families.”
Proponents of rapid rehousing claim that it is the most cost-efficient method for addressing family homelessness while delivering the best outcomes. However, these assertions are based on faulty evidence, fundamentally flawed studies, and accounting gimmicks.
This bad data is used to promote continued funding for rapid rehousing while defunding transitional housing and supportive services projects.
Click here to read the Brooking Institute’s study, “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream.”
This report made two unequivocal assertions:
- The most important criteria for any social program is to strengthen people’s ability to take care of themselves and their children.
- Employment must be at the center of any strategy to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility.
Click here to read the study titled “Homelessness During Infancy: Associations With Infant and Maternal Health and Hardship Outcomes.”
Click here for details on this study published by the John Hopkins University Press titled, “A Pediatric Profile of a Homeless Patient in San Jose, California.”
These two studies show that if we do not focus on families, we will perpetuate adult homelessness. Homelessness is more than just a housing problem. The study on infants uses a broader definition of homelessness, which helps us on the question of vulnerability. The one indisputable conclusion that the study found is that the majority of the homeless population experiences severe trauma as children.
Click here for The New York Times – “When Days Aren’t So Sunny: Sesame Street Takes on Homelessness”
Sesame Street addresses issue of homelessness when one of its Muppets, an adorable little girl named Lily, and her family lose their home. Like most homeless families, Lily’s camps out at various friends’ houses and even motels while homeless. According to HUD’s definition of homelessness, Lily’s family would not be considered homeless and would not qualify for certain HUD funded services as a result.
Sesame Street in Communities has provided a host of resources for providers working with homeless children. They can be found here.
HR 1511 will amend the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to meet the needs of homeless children, youth, and families, and honor the assessments and priorities of local communities.
Legislative Hearing June 6, 2018 on H.R. 1511 Homeless Children and Youth Act by the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives
Click here for the May 2018 “Report to the Utah Legislature: A Limited Review of Three Facilities Operated by the Road Home” regarding challenges due to low barrier approach to shelter.
Drugs, syringes, and other drug paraphernalia were found in the common area of these community shelters run by these “low-barrier” facilities. Reports showed some tenants not even paying rent for over a year.
Be sure to look at the response from The Road Home Board President at the end of the document.
Click here for an Opinion piece in the December 12, 2018 Deseret Times “Jay Evensen: A wakeup call for better accountability of homeless programs,” a report on a performance audit of Utah’s homeless services, conducted by Utah’s legislative auditor general.
This article illustrates the reality behind Utah’s claim that homelessness has been reduced by 91 percent in the last 10 years.
Transitional Housing Programs that combine housing with services to help people to be able to maintain housing independently upon exit have been de-funded. They are being replaced by rapid re-housing programs, a relatively new innovation that aims at moving individuals and families quickly out of homelessness. In this article “Set Up To Fail: Rapid Rehousing in the District of Columbia,” Max Tipping, a D.C. attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic, depicts the negative outcomes of rapid rehousing. Despite its obvious failures, HUD continues to promote rapid re-housing as a key national strategy to end family homelessness.
HUD’s Point-in-Time (PIT) count is incredibly influential because the data dictates how much funding will go to Homeless Assistance Grants. Yet, it is famously inaccurate – particularly when it comes to families. The Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH) discusses the “big glitch” with the PIT count and offers a new approach.
National Coalition for Homelessness Solutions Congressional letter to HUD regarding Continuum of Care priorities; and responses