Search results for "TANF"

3rd December
written by Sharon McDonald

In July, The White House recognized Frank Cirillo, Director of the Mercer County Board of Social Services (MCBOSS) in Trenton, NJ as a “Champion of Change” for his work on ending family homelessness. It was well deserved recognition.

Cirillo’s agency, which administers the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, has taken a leadership role in the effort to end family homelessness in Mercer County. The agency’s efforts have paid off. Over a two year period, the number of families experiencing homelessness on any given day in Cirillo’s county decreased by 20 percent. The number of families receiving a motel voucher because they had nowhere else to stay declined by 66 percent.

How did this happen? It happened because this TANF agency and its partners focused on helping families in the Mercer County homeless service system exit homelessness faster by providing:

  • Temporary rental assistance;
  • Help negotiating with area landlords;
  • Assistance finding employment; and
  • Supportive Services.

When families move out of homelessness faster, the numbers of families in shelters each day decline. That means that the county doesn’t need to rely as heavily on motels when shelters are full. This strategy can free up funding, which can be used to help families move back into housing.

Leaders of the TANF agency were so pleased with the results that they decided to expand rapid rehousing capacity in the community by creating an in-house rapid re-housing unit. The agency staff of this unit help families look for housing in the community, negotiate with landlords (often achieving rent reductions), and ensure that families access employment services, so they can transition from temporary rental assistance to paying their rent independently.

It was the work of homeless advocates that led TANF leaders to make this investment in rapid re-housing. The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness engaged TANF agency leaders and other local funders in an exploration of how the county’s homeless assistance system could be improved, which led to a commitment by funders to supporting rapid re-housing.

On Thursday, December 6 at 3 p.m. EST, the National Alliance to End Homelessness will host a webinar that will explore how homeless advocates and service providers are effectively partnering with TANF leaders in their communities to promote rapid re-housing.

The webinar will explore the rapid re-housing models in use in three communities and how the local leaders on homelessness successfully built partnerships with their local TANF agency leaders to rapidly re-house families.

Speakers will include:

  • Herb Levine of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Michelle Flynn of The Road Home in Salt Lake City, and
  • Greg Morris of CATCH, Inc. in Boise.

Please consider participating in the webinar on Thursday. You can register here.

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12th October
written by Steve Berg

Earlier this week I had the honor of attending a planning session in Bloomsburg, Pa., sponsored by the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance and Bloomsburg University. The session kicked off planning in the two rural counties around Bloomsburg. It was an opportunity to review some of what we know about homelessness and how to approach it in rural and small-town America.

For years, the Alliance has done deliberate work to focus on rural communities. Homelessness is often thought of as an urban problem, and of course most homeless people are in cities. But homelessness definitely exists in rural areas as well. The impacts of rural homelessness are just as devastating to those experiencing it, while rural areas are less likely than cities to have programs specifically designed to help homeless people.

Rural communities seeking to end homelessness need the same broad categories of change as cities, although they will take different forms. Rural communities need a clear consensus on the goal, as well as commitment from the entire community and a sense of urgency about solving the problem. Rural communities also need a way to monitor progress and effectiveness in addressing the issue, and enough resources to get the job done.

That being said, there are a number of challenges that are unique to rural areas:

  • The scale of the problem of homelessness in rural areas is limited, compared to urban areas, which means that extensive programs specific to homeless people are unlikely to exist. Many rural areas have no shelter at all, and homeless people often must live outside or in cars or abandoned buildings. Doubling up is common, as it is in urban areas.
  • Progress will require that mainstream antipoverty programs take a leadership role. Mental health agencies and TANF agencies are often the key leaders on solving the problem of homelessness.
  • There is often no particular person or agency that is an easy fit for the task of developing and monitoring the implementation of a plan to end homelessness. Where it works, this role may be filled by a particular county official, a faith or business leader, an educational institution, or an influential volunteer.
  • Coordination is especially important. Progress will rely on a set of people for whom addressing homelessness is only part of their job duties.
  • A range of housing options will need to be considered. Typical urban apartment buildings are often not where most lower-income people live. There may be no expertise to back up a housing development strategy.
  • Working with state government is particularly important. Many of the federal resources designed for rural areas flow through the state.

In many rural communities, the idea of rapid re-housing is a natural fit. People working in human services have the attitude that someone who loses their housing should receive immediate help finding new housing, and they will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

I’m happy to say that everyone who attended the session in Bloomsburg was devoted to aggressively tackling these challenges , as many people in rural communities around the country are also doing.

The Alliance already has a number of useful resources on the Rural Homelessness Section of our website that people working to end homelessness in rural communities will want to investigate.

13th September
written by Sharon McDonald

Yesterday the U.S. Census released data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in 2011. By now you’ve seen the headlines:  the poverty rate has leveled off at 15 percent after three years of increasing and remains at the highest level since 1993, while median income has declined by 1.5 percent, which means that the middle class continues to feel the strain of the bad economy.  More people are covered by health insurance (1.4 million more than in 2010), which is certainly welcome news, since the number of people with health insurance has been going down for the last 10 years. But while poverty has leveled off, it remains at historically high levels, and children continue to be disproportionately impacted. We could be doing a lot more.

  • 16.1 million children in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2011—that’s more than one in five children.
  • Young children in families headed by a single mother were hardest hit: 57.6 percent of children under the age of 6 in families headed by a single mother live in poverty.
  • Over 7 million children live in deep poverty, subsisting on less than $1,000 a month for a family of four ($11,511 annually) – that’s 9.8 percent of all children in the U.S.
  • And deep poverty is much more prevalent among very young children, with 11.8 percent of all children under the age of 6 living in families with incomes below half the poverty level.

We know social benefits can help lift people out of poverty.  One example is Social Security benefits.  Social Security benefits have lifted 14.5 million adults age 65 and older out of poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) reduced poverty for 3 million children, even though they’re still included in the 16 million children living in poverty reported in the Census poverty data since it excludes income from the EITC. That’s a start (a good one).

The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program could do more. The program provides states with resources to support low-income families so children can be cared for in their own homes and helps parents connect to employment.  How well is it working? Not as well as it could be. States choose how they use TANF resources and sets benefit levels, which are currently insufficient to lift most families without other sources of income out of deep poverty, never mind out of poverty altogether.

States could do more. States could increase TANF benefit levels and allow families on TANF who are employed to keep more of their earnings.  Many families living in poverty are not accessing TANF benefits at all, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. States could reduce the number of families without income from work or TANF benefits by helping families enroll quickly on TANF and meet program requirements.

States could also do more to help people on TANF connect to employment.  States predominately rely on a narrow set of tools to help people on TANF prepare for, and enter, the workforce.  For too many families, particularly in an economy with high unemployment, these tools simply aren’t enough.

But there’s been some progress on this front. In July, the Administration released an Information Memorandum inviting states to submit applications for waivers. Under these waivers, states can test new strategies to increase the number of families on TANF who transition to employment.  This is an opportunity for states to improve how they use welfare resources to help reduce the number of children living in deep poverty.

And that’s a big step in the right direction, because perhaps the most effective strategy to lift children out of poverty is to help their parents find employment.

21st August
written by Sharon McDonald

In July, researchers contracted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided an update on a study that examines the comparative impact of various housing and service interventions on families experiencing homelessness. To date, more than 2,000 families in 12 communities have enrolled in the Family Options Study. While the current data available is limited to the baseline level, some findings do raise questions about how well we are using our homeless and mainstream resources to prevent and end homelessness.

Readers who are interested in listening to an audio recording of HUD’s July 19 presentation on this study can download Part 1 of the recording here, and Part 2 here.

Here’s a look at the study’s findings:

  • Resources for homelessness prevention: As in other studies, the data indicate that parents in homeless families are very young. Nearly 30 percent of the mothers are under the age of 25. They are also very poor, with an annual income averaging around $7,500. Significantly, more families are coming from doubled-up situations than are being evicted from housing they hold in their own name. This is useful information when it comes to assessing our use of homelessness prevention resources and the characteristics of the kinds of families most likely to fall into homelessness. It tells us that we should be targeting our resources at multi-generational and doubled-up families, families with very young parents, and families with minimal incomes.
  • Resources for vulnerable and low-income families: The findings also provide further evidence that the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program is underserving families: only 41 percent of the families reported receiving income from the TANF program. The data also show that a larger percentage, 27 percent, of parents enrolled in the program spent at least parts of their childhood and adolescence in foster care, though it remains unclear how many aged out of foster care and how many were reunified with their family. Though incomplete, this finding is important. If we are to improve the services that children and youth in foster care receive in their transition from the welfare system to their families of origin (or independent living) we must have a better understanding of this relationship between child welfare and subsequent homelessness.
  • Resources for homeless families: Perhaps one of the most surprising findings, and one that should give pause to all homeless service providers and system planners, concerns the use of transitional housing. Nearly 80 percent of the families the researchers referred to a project-based transitional housing were denied admittance to that program. Indeed, the eligibility criteria for many of these programs, which are supposed to offer service-rich interventions for homeless families, screen out all but a small segment of that population. Given the relative cost of transitional housing, this finding alone should generate some critical evaluation of how local communities are using scarce resources to assist at-risk and homeless families.
2nd August
written by Sharon McDonald

States have an important new opportunity to improve the employment outcomes of low-income families. In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an Information Memorandum indicating the Administration’s interest in granting waivers to states for the administration of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. States may now seek waivers from the administration that allow them to experiment with new strategies to help low-income parents on TANF connect with employment.

States are required to demonstrate that 50 percent of the TANF caseload complies with work activity requirements. Advocates have long been concerned that the federal rules regarding “what counts” as a work activity is often a poor match for what many parents need to successfully prepare for, or enter, the workforce. Families in which a parent or a child has a disability are often poorly served under the current rules. Some are unable to meet the required number of hours in a work activity. Others require work preparation activities that are not countable, and so are simply not offered.

The mismatch between what families need to transition to work and what TANF agencies can provide has important consequences. Some households face impending time limits for cash assistance without ever receiving the individually tailored supports that could help them succeed in the workforce.  High numbers of families, including those that include a member with a disability, lose cash assistance because they are unable to comply with work participation requirements. This contributes to the growth in the number of families living in extreme poverty without income from employment or social benefits. It also places families at greater risk of becoming homeless.

Waivers that allow States to expand the services they offer can help those with the most significant barriers to employment succeed and help them avoid falling deeper into poverty. When TANF agencies are able to successfully transition families into the workforce, they also reduce their vulnerability to homelessness. Ensuring States have the flexibility to deploy the tools that work to help families quickly connect to work can also help reduce their need for homeless services, allowing those scarce dollars to go further and help other vulnerable families in need.

Homeless service providers and advocates should explore how their State plans to take advantage of the new opportunity made available to improve employment services to low income families. For more information, contact Sharon McDonald at

20th July
written by Steve Berg

We’d like to thank the nearly 1,500 practitioners, public officials and other stakeholders who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our 2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. For us in the Alliance, the level of enthusiasm and positivity on display in the plenary sessions and workshops was immensely gratifying. The homeless assistance community has come far, in terms of its overall level of sophistication and focus on implementation in order to get results, and the conference was a great opportunity for people to share what they have learned, as well as for those of us in the community to engage in a discussion about what we still must do to achieve our goals.

In her remarks at the conference’s closing plenary, Alliance CEO Nan Roman touched on a few of the themes that emerged over the course of the three days. I’ll expand on some of those here.

Targeting – The message came through loud and clear: there are a range of interventions to draw upon, but for an intervention to be successful it must be targeted at the right people. Specifically, supportive housing is our most intensive intervention, and it is designed for the most vulnerable population with the most severe disabilities. If such people are screened out in favor of people with fewer challenges, they will live and probably die on the streets.

Olmstead – The Olmstead case reminded us that large programs devoted solely to housing people with severe mental illness are seldom the best way to serve people, and often are not what people in such programs would choose for themselves if they had more reasonable options. In some cases, such programs actually violate civil rights laws. This challenges people who run housing programs for people with disabilities to consider when it might be appropriate to develop mixed-use projects.

Rapid Re-housing – Somebody once said that the only people who believe in rapid re-housing are everyone who’s ever tried it. Now that virtually every sizeable community around the country has tried it, thanks to HPRP, there is a consensus that it’s the right model for moving most people who are experiencing homelessness into housing. With HPRP winding down soon, much of the talk at the conference was about how to maintain funding for rapid re-housing programs. Fortunately, new HUD regulations make it easy for communities to use Continuum of Care and ESG funds for this purpose, and many communities have also identified other funding sources for rapid re-housing.

Youth and youth counts – The homeless assistance community has begun developing a range of ideas about a more systemic approach to ending youth homelessness. A double track of workshops about youth homelessness, as well as increasing collaboration with the federal Administration for Children, Youth and Families and organizations like the National Network for Youth, focused on advancing these ideas. When the January 2013 point-in-time counts roll around, expect a stronger push for a more accurate count of youth experiencing homelessness.

Veterans’ money and leadership – During the conference, VA announced the awards for about $100 million in grants for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, which funds community-based organizations that run rapid re-housing and emergency homelessness prevention programs for veterans and their families. This announcement drew attention to the fact that VA now has a full array of programs to address homelessness, and that those programs are on their way to being funded at the scale necessary to end homelessness among veterans.

The struggle over other federal money – It’s clear that federal money for HUD programs has been harder to come by in the past two years, and that this will continue to be the case. Many communities are increasingly turning to the large antipoverty entitlement programs – TANF, SNAP, SSI, and Medicaid, for example – where federal funding has not been cut, while programs for veterans, which are less threatened by budget cuts, must serve as examples of what can be accomplished with the proper funding. Homeless assistance practitioners are also turning to more efficient models like rapid re-housing, which require less money per household. And they are making sure that their representatives in congress, who determine the funding levels, know about the good that their programs do.

Medicaid – The prospect of funding most services and treatment for chronically homeless people through Medicaid appears closer to reality that anyone would have thought possible only a few years ago. The Affordable Care Act will allow states to expand eligibility in 2014, and the majority of states will opt to do so. A lot of work behind the scenes has already gone into ensuring that the right kinds of services will be funded by Medicaid, but it will take new partnerships, particularly at the state level, to make the most of these new opportunities.

Progress – Perhaps the most rewarding part of the conference for us in the Alliance was seeing the resolve of advocates, in the face of enormous obstacles put up by the economy and the political system, to try new options, discard methods that are less effective, and work smarter and more efficiently to develop programs that, for thousands of people, mean the difference between housing and homelessness.

14th June
written by Steve Berg

Originally only in the wonky DC-based policy blogs, but increasingly also in the mainstream media, the phrase “fiscal cliff” has been appearing. It describes a number of simultaneous events scheduled for the beginning of 2013 that together would disrupt the federal budget, cutting federal spending and raising taxes in an unprecedented and clumsy manner. What does it mean, in general and for homelessness in particular? This blog will attempt to answer that question.

To start, with the way things usually go in the mainstream media, you can virtually count on the phrase “fiscal cliff” soon being abbreviated by writers, so I’ll get that over with by coining the word “FisCliff” right here. FisCliff consists of at least the following, all happening around the beginning of next year:

  • Domestic and military spending for nonexempt discretionary programs is cut across the board under the “sequestration” provision of the Budget Control Act;
  • Emergency unemployment insurance for long-term unemployed people expires;
  • The “Bush tax cuts” (since extended under President Obama) expire;
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax is applied to households with lower incomes than those who must pay it currently;
  • Monthly payroll taxes go back up to their usual levels;
  • Miscellaneous other tax breaks worth $65 billion per year expire;
  • Temporary increases in Medicare payments to doctors expire; and
  • The limit on the federal debt is reached again, as it was last summer, requiring another expansion.

All of this adds up to $483 billion in revenue increases and spending cuts in one year. This is big-time deficit reduction, but done in a way that’s not necessarily very intelligent. The most relevant example is that sequestration cuts high-priority, extremely effective programs (like homelessness programs!) by exactly the same percentage as lower-priority, inefficient programs.

Probably the biggest single negative impact on homelessness, however, is likely to be the impact on a fragile economy. Economists largely agree that raising taxes and reducing spending that much in one year would make joblessness substantially worse – people would have less money to spend, so businesses would have fewer customers and would lay people off. High unemployment over the past several years has sent millions of people to shelters. More unemployment means more bad news for homeless assistance systems.

As noted before, spending cuts under sequestration would negatively impact homelessness programs.  The exact impact is still unclear because Congress has not yet passed final fiscal year 2013 spending levels, but we believe a likely estimate is that about 150,000 people would be homeless instead of housed, just from the impact on the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and the Continuum of Care (CoC) programs. The large antipoverty entitlement programs like SSI, TANF, and SNAP are exempt, as are all VA programs for veterans – there is still an open question, to be resolved by the White House, whether the HUD rent vouchers under the HUD-VASH program are exempt.  Otherwise, all HUD programs are subject to the across-the-board cuts of sequestration.

One thing to remember about FisCliff is that the word “cliff” probably implies a suddenness of impact that will not be evident. Tax cuts and spending increases would go into effect over time. HUD’s Homeless Assistance programs are one example. Reductions in ESG would take place when contracts for 2013 are signed, which occurs in different places over the course of the year. For the CoC programs, the impact would not be felt until the 2013 awards are distributed in early 2014.

In other words, if Congress meets after the election, in a so-called “lame duck session,” and can’t pass a reasonable alternative to FisCliff by January 1, they should keep working!

And what will a “reasonable alternative” look like? For those concerned about homelessness and similar issues, key criteria are:

  • First, do no harm to the economy, particularly employment at the low end of the job market. With HPRP running out, the fight to end homelessness will get a lot harder if joblessness gets worse.
  • Protect the poorest Americans. So far, the biggest antipoverty programs are exempt from sequestration, with the notable and unfortunate exception of HUD housing programs.
  • Resist further cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending. This is actually the focus of a new national “coalition of coalitions” that had its first meeting last week – for more information click here. This coalition is circulating an organizational sign-on letter, and the Alliance encourages you to join by next Friday, June 22.
  • Prioritize what works.  Across-the-board cuts almost always represent bad, lazy policymaking. Congress has the ability to figure out which programs really work, and it is irresponsible to act otherwise.

As you can see, FisCliff would greatly harm our efforts to end homelessness, so we must educate Congress on these impacts. As a result, advocates from across the country will educate their Members of Congress about these very issues during Capitol Hill Day 2012, held in conjunction with the Alliance’s annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness in July in Washington, DC. For more information or to get involved in Capitol Hill Day, contact Kate Seif.


12th June
written by naehblog

The following are remarks from the Alliance’s President and CEO, Nan Roman, regarding the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services’  new framework to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, as announced at a live webcast of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness applauds the commitment of Chairman Sebelius and the members of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to end youth homelessness by 2020.  For far too long the plight of unaccompanied children and young adults has gone unaddressed.  Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness brought much needed attention to this particularly vulnerable population.  The USICH Proposed Framework for Ending Youth Homelessness is an important next step in laying out what the Federal government will do to achieve this goal.

The Alliance concurs with the major focus areas in the Framework:  sizing the population; identifying the key segments of the population; identifying solutions for each segment; and going to scale with the solutions for each segment.  We also support the outcomes of housing, connection, wellbeing, and education/employment.

Earlier this year the Alliance made a preliminary effort, using existing data, to estimate the size and segments of the population and examined this information for implications to policy and practice. Based on this framework as well as the USICH Framework presented today, the Alliance offers the following thoughts for the future.

Improving Data. The Alliance concurs that better data is essential to size and address the problem to scale.  Further, the experiences of both HUD and VA clearly indicate that setting numerical goals for ending homelessness, and driving performance toward these goals, works.  Without solid data there is no baseline and progress cannot be measured.  For all of these reasons, the need for better data is critical.   The Alliance recommends:

  • Merging RHYMIS and HMIS in 2012 and beginning to create the tools by which the increasing volume of youth data can be analyzed.
  • Requiring youth providers and local Continuums of Care to include youth in the HUD mandated point in time counts in 2013.  Any inclusion of youth will be an improvement.
  • Prioritizing research and evaluation of different intervention models for different subpopulations of youth to better inform resource allocation and targeting.

Serving High Need Youth. Approximately 40,000 youth have higher levels of physical and mental health problems and rates of substance use, as well as longer or more frequent episodes of homelessness.  These youth may spend long periods on the streets because they cannot or do not access programs that lack either the ability or the inclination to address their need for treatment.  While on the street, they face a host of challenges, including violence, drugs, and the risk of sexual exploitation.  HHS and HUD should incentivize youth-targeted programs to serve the most vulnerable youth by providing bonus points in the competitive granting process to programs that target “street youth” with a diagnosed/diagnosable mental health, substance abuse, physical and/or developmental disorder; and that clearly define the outcomes they will achieve.  Evaluation of these efforts, and practice collaboratives to share best practices are also recommended in order to advance successful approaches.

Mainstream Resources. Reunification with family remains the most practical and promising solution for a vast majority of homeless youth, particularly those under 18.   Additionally, the reason that families break apart is often poverty and eviction rather than conflict.  The homelessness system is not sized to address these needs.  As Opening Doors points out, mainstream programs such as child welfare, TANF, juvenile justice, and housing must assume much of this responsibility.  The education system has a critical role both in identifying risk and improving outcomes. Ending youth homelessness will require a clear plan for how mainstream programs will assume responsibility for these vulnerable youth.  HHS should encourage state child welfare agencies to include these minors as a targeted population in state plans, with goals for reducing homelessness.  HHS could also provide guidance as to how child welfare agencies can work collaboratively with RHYA programs to better serve homeless youth.  The Administration could set goals for other mainstream programs including affordable housing, TANF, juvenile and criminal justice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment to strengthen families and both prevent youth from becoming homeless and facilitate youth returning to their families.


Once again, thank you to Chairman Sebelius and the members of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, as well as the HHS Administration on Children, Youth and Families, for the commitment to end youth homelessness.   The Alliance looks forward to being a partner with the Administration on these efforts.


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4th June
written by Sam Batko

Last week, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosted the 15th Annual Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference in Washington, DC.  This conference provides welfare and poverty researchers, state and local administrators, practitioners, and Federal officials to meet and discuss research, programs, and policies that impact welfare and related programs.

This year, the conference featured tracks on TANF, education and the labor market, child and youth well-being, fatherhood, evaluation of social programs, and alleviating poverty and strengthening the safety net. While a number of the sessions at the conference had implications for homeless families, individuals, and youth, there was a session specifically dedicated to the role that TANF and other human services programs play in ending family homelessness.

The session was moderator by the Alliance’s own Sharon McDonald, Director of Families and Youth, and featured:

  • Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania who provided an overview of his widely accepted typology of homeless families and discussed the important role that short- and medium-term rent assistance in ending homelessness for a large proportion of homeless families;
  • Frank Cirillo of the Mercer County Board of Social Services in New Jersey who discussed the successful efforts in Mercer County to fund rapid re-housing for families using TANF funds; and
  • Alvaro Cortes from Abt Associates who provided a broad overview of findings from a study that looked at how communities are linking housing supports with social services.

A detailed agenda of the conference is available and electronic copies of powerpoint presentations from the above workshop as well as from other workshops from the conference are available upon request via email.

18th May
written by Sam Batko

On Thursday, May 17, the Alliance hosted a Congressional Briefing, “Rapid Re-Housing: Ending Family Homelessness.”  The briefing was sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, and provided a glimpse into how a couple of communities are using rapid re-housing to revolutionize how they are responding to family homelessness as well as the critical important role that federal funding plays in continuing the success of these programs.

In addition to the Alliance’s own Nan Roman, the speakers included:

  • Matt Minkevitch, Executive Director of The Road Home in Salt Lake City, UT, who discussed how they have used rapid re-housing to prevent an increase in family homelessness during the recession by helping over 1,000 families move out of shelter and back into their housing using both TANF and HPRP funds;
  • Nan Stoops, Executive Director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in Seattle, WA , who shared the important benefits they have seen for both survivors and their families as well as to providers through the work they have been doing with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide grants and technical assistance to providers that help survivors get rapidly re-housed or safely stay in their own housing; and
  • Kelly Thompson, from Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. in Davenport, IA, which has just begun to implement a rapid re-housing model with a grant from the Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program and has already seen the impact it has had on both the families it has served and their own capacity to serve families they were not able to before.

The panel also included the voice of a father who experienced homelessness with his family after unexpectedly losing his job.  He detailed the challenges he, his wife, and his children faced while trying to navigate homelessness and the dramatic difference that rapid re-housing provided in the lives of himself and his family.  His daughter has returned to school and he happily reported that he is going to take it easy on her, despite her getting a “93 on an English test.”

This briefing highlighted what we know to be true across the country: rapid re-housing is working to end homelessness for families, it is helping them get their lives back on track and helping providers serve more families in need, but HPRP funding is disappearing, and without federal support, the great progress made by these programs is in danger.