Posts Tagged ‘HPRP’

10th December
written by Catherine An

Happy Friday, everyone!

To start, I thought I’d just point out that in this week’s episode of , the song-singing cast decides to donate presents and money to the McKinney Vento Program for Homeless Kids – or some variation of those six words.

So they didn’t get it exactly right, but it was awesome seeing the all-important McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, the federal government’s largest investment in homeless assistance, get a shout-out on such a hit show. First Glee – then the world!

In more down-to-earth news, youth homelessness is at it again. There were three stories, an opinion piece in Oregon’s Statesman Journal, a news article from the Associated Press, and a Boston Globe piece (quote our own Nan Roman!) going over the purported rise in youth homelessness across the country. Just last week, we were discussing in the office the ascendancy of this issue in the news media – more evidence that the time is ripe to act on this important topic.

New York is under fire again. A controversial new study evaluating the effects of prevention has reached front page status in the New York Times. I know advocates across the country are feverishly discussing this new study – and whether or not it’s the right thing to do. What do you guys think about the New York study?

Prevention does seem to be doing something in Salt Lake City, UT. Our good friend Julia Lyon at the Salt Lake Tribune wrote a swift little post about the effects of HPRP in her community. Keep up the good work, guys!

And speaking of good work, the federal government is trying to make some strides with homeless veterans. The Navy Times reports that the number of homeless veterans is down 18 percent, and just this week, the VA hosted a meeting about the problem (which our own Nan Roman attended). It seems like all the pieces are in place: political will, financial support, human resources, interagency collaboration. Now it’s time to put it all together.

And finally, a piece about the basics. This week in Affordable Housing Finance, our pal Donna Kimura interviewed Sam Tsemberis, one of the fathers of Housing First. If you have a minute, you should definitely check it out.

And that’s it for the news of the week – have a great weekend!

20th October
written by Catherine An

So after tipping my hat to the 100,000 Homes Campaign for featuring our interactive tools and maps on their (awesome!) blog, I did a little tooling around to remind myself of other really useful tools on our very own website!

The Alliance has, for almost 30 years, lead the campaign to end homelessness in the United States. And over the decades, we’ve accumulated the data, best practices, and effective strategies necessary to end homelessness.

And we’re hoping to share them with you!

After checking out our most visited pages and most popular tools, we’ve compiled a list of ten things – links, pages, reports – you need in order to end homelessness in your community (read: really great tools and info). And, just for good measure, I’ve tossed in a couple not-so-popular but ever-so-useful links as well.

    1. The About Homelessness section.
      This section gives you a broad snapshot of homelessness at the national level and includes sections and information on different demographics, the cost of homelessness, and maps produced by the Homelessness Research Institute(HRI).


    1. The Interactive Tools and Solutions section.
      HRI produces a number of charts, tools, and maps to help you better understand homelessness. Some of the more recent tools illustrate the number of doubled-up households in the United States, HPRP spending per household in the cities we’re tracking, and reductions in point-in-time counts necessary to meet the goals outlined in the federal strategic plan to end homelessness.


    1. The (new!) HPRP Youth Profile series
      If you feel like youth homelessness has broken the media barrier, I’d agree with you. Youth homelessness is getting noticed as, as ending youth homelessness is one of our 2010 Policy Priorities, we’ve had our eyes out. This series highlights how some communities are effectively using federal HPRP dollars to service this vulnerable population.


    1. Our Issues Sections.
      So you’re feeling ready to go a little deeper? We go over the major topics we study at the Alliance. You’ll get an overview of chronic, family, veterans, and youth homelessness. We also go over rural homelessness, domestic violence, mental and physical health, and re-entry issues.


    1. Check out the Solutions.
      Don’t forget: we don’t just study homelessness – we’re about ending it. In this section, we show you how. We go over the best practices and effective policies necessary to end all types of homelessness. Among then is the Alliance-championed Ten Year Plan, as well as the [also Alliance-championed] Housing First principle. We also include information about prevention and rapid re-housing, including the President’s stimulus-funded, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.


    1. The new Training section
      Our capacity building team has really been making waves! They’re working on serious, on the ground issues with local communities to help them implement the best methods to end homelessness in their communities. They’ve also launched a great  Performance Improvement Clinic (formerly called the HEARTH Academy), helping people prepare for the changes that’ll take effect next year. If you’re a provider, this is the section for you!


    1. Local Progress
      Here we post on-the-ground examples of real, live plans put into practice. And, as you can imagine, those plans yielded some quantifiable results! We’ve posted snapshots from San Francisco, New York City, Denver, Chicago, Columbus, and other communities. Is your community among these snapshots??


    1. The 2011 National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness website
      It’s new and improved and waiting for you! Registration has opened and we’ve already received applications – are you one of them? This year’s conference is in sunny Oakland, California and we can’t wait to see you there!


    1. The Policy Updates.
      A chart organizing the major pieces of federal legislation about homelessness! Information about the implementation of the HEARTH Act and McKinney-Vento appropriations are kept up-to-date there – and you can find more information about other policies as well.


  1. And one more for good measure: the homepage.
    Find out about the latest policy updates, reports, documents, campaigns, events, and news. And what’s most important (read to me?) This is where you can connect with us.I know you’re already here (on the blog) but are you connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter? If you aren’t, you should! Our social networks are a great way to connect with us online, meet our experts and advocates, and learn (up-to-the-minute) what’s happening in our office and the field of homelessness. We talk with our friends, trade notes, links, and resources, and chat about emerging issues and upcoming innovations.


8th October
written by Catherine An

Let’s start with some good news.

A great little article from up in Oneida, NY notes the importance of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. In Madison County, the Community Action Partnership (CAP) took their HPRP stimulus money and used it to extend short-term, temporary housing assistance for nearly a hundred families in the community.

According to the executive director of CAP, this temporary assistance can be a “soft gap” for people waiting to qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers or for those who need a little extra time before achieving self-sufficiency. The program has been “phenomenal,” not only aiding vulnerable families and providing budgeting counseling but also preventing hundreds of instances of homelessness in the neighborhood.

Things are less phenomenal in Las Vegas, NV where public schools are witnessing an influx of homeless students – an increase of 15 percent according to this morning’s article on the issue. Officials in Nevada note the affect – particularly hard in that state – of three year’s of recession the state resulting in persistent unemployment and, sometimes, job loss (a lagging indicator, as we’ve noted.) The story notes a specific increase in the number of “couch surfers” and doubled up families. Homeless youth are even more vulnerable than their adult counterparts, at higher risk to violence, abuse, and crime.

New York caused a bit of a buzz earlier this week when it announced the city’s Department of Homeless Services decided to run a study to determine if prevention services proved effective at helping people avoid homelessness (CNN ran a decent article about this). This meant that of 400 families randomly selected for the program, half would receive services and the other half wouldn’t. Needless to say, the move has sparked uproar in the community despite the fact that, “The DHS is stressing the fact that all group members were aware they might be chosen to participate in the study and have signed informed consent forms agreeing to the terms.“
And, if you really want to read an article about the Homeless World Cup, this is a pretty good one. While soccer is no solution to homelessness, writer Michael Fox does a good job of explaining the tournament and placing in the context of a larger, national effort.

Note: we’re taking Monday off (federal holiday – controversial or not), but will be back on Tuesday. Happy three-day weekend!

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21st September
written by Catherine An

A while back, the Alliance released the third Quarterly Leadership Council HPRP Report.

This report – like the two before it – illustrates how 13 cities across the nation are implementing the HPRP. Data from the following cities are included in this quarterly report:

  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus and Franklin County, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami-Dade, FL
  • Minneapolis and Hennepin County, MN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle and King County, WA
  • Washington, DC.

Overall, the cities have spent $28.4 million (through June 2010) on homelessness prevention for 57,220 people at risk of homelessness and $12.5 million to rapidly re-house 35,135 people experiencing homelessness.

Of the over 92,000 people have been served by rapid re-housing and prevention programs in the Leadership Council cities, 45,205 people have exited to permanent housing. This includes at least 18,033 who have exited from prevention programs and at least 27,172 who exited from rapid re-housing programs.

The report highlights spending by strategy (prevention and rapid re-housing), by categories of those strategies (financial assistance, case management, outreach and engagement, motel vouchers, rental assistance, etc.), and by city. Both Washington, DC and Miami, FL have spent almost 75 percent of their prevention allocations. Minneapolis and Los Angeles are unique among the cities in having served more persons with rapid re-housing resources than with prevention resources.

You can read the entirety of the two-page report online. There, you can also access the first and second quarterly HPRP reports.

The Alliance has done a great deal of work around the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) and continues to examine the strategies and results of the program. Only be examining the performance, outcomes, and data of the program can we determine if we are indeed making progress toward ending homelessness.

For more information, please check out our website or leave us a comment here!

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3rd September
written by Catherine An

News on homelessness this week was a mixed bag.

Our friend Lornet Turnbull wrote a touching story about refugees facing homelessness in the United States. The piece highlighted the struggles of refugee families fleeing conflict areas across the world only to experience homelessness in the United States. Not only do they face the often-complicated homeless support system, they face language and cultural obstacles as well.

Merrill Balassone of McClatchy Newspapers reported more sobering news – that people experiencing homelessness and increasingly targets of crime. According to the story, “new data show homeless people nationwide were singled out in more than 1,000 attacked over the last 11 years by perpetrators motivated by anti-homeless hostility”. There is some movement (as reported in the New York Times last year and seen on now) to categorize violence against people experiencing homelessness as a hate crime.

And we can’t forget about HPRP, especially not with Congress about to come back into session. The federal prevention and rapid re-housing program is still being implemented in communities across the country. And while there are reports of challenges in performance and outreach (like in Texas), there are more and more success stories everyday.

In fact, the Journal Sentinel shared a story just last week about a Harvard study that examined the effect stimulus dollars were having on evictions in Milwaukee County. The study concluded that homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing stimulus dollars had contributed to a 15 percent decrease in evictions.

From the article: “For some people, one month’s rent – often $300 or $400 – can be enough to bridge the gap for people between jobs or health emergencies…It’s a lot cheaper to prevent homelessness than to shelter a family, which is far more costly and disruptive.”

27th August
written by Marisa Seitz

As the anniversary of hurricane Katrina is upon us, we hear about the state of homelessness in the affected areas. From Newsweek, we read about how after five years, the situation is still dire with some statistics saying that the problem of homelessness has doubled.

In other news, the Daily Record tells us how Medicaid expansion will help those experiencing homelessness, and the Berkley Daily Planet informs us on the Western Regional Advocacy Project’s update of their report on homelessness.

The Sacramento Press also brought us some good news, writing on how HPRP funds were used in this past year to house 1,168 families.

20th August
written by Marisa Seitz

There is a lot of good news that came out this week, especially from The Coloradoan. They had two articles this week, the first, a great defense of Housing First and homelessness prevention, called, “A radical idea: Ending homelessness”. The second was about Denver’s successful efforts to prevent homelessness by keeping 2,500 families in homes.

We take the bad with the good, though. From the Las Vegas Sun, we hear about how Las Vegas, an area where homelessness has been unfortunately increasing over the last few years, is struggling to get enough federal funding to help combat their growing problem.

From Journal Standard, we read a great personal story about how HPRP funds helped one family stay together and in a home.

Finally, Kathleen Pender of the San Francisco Chronicle told us about how the federal government is allocating funds not just to help homeowners, but the renters who are often at a higher risk of homelessness.

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17th August
written by Marisa Seitz

Today’s post comes from Kimberly Walker, a Capacity Building Associate here at the Alliance.

Kim WalkerHello all! Kim here. As part of the Center for Capacity Building, my job is to help communities improve their homeless systems. As part of that mission, I’m working on the Center’s new Ending Family Homelessness Tool and Pilot Project (or the EFHT/PP). I’ve been told this may be of interest to our blog readers, so I thought I’d give you a synopsis of what exactly it is.

The Tool

This tool turns what the Alliance staff has learned over the years about best practices in ending homelessness, what we’ve learned from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), and the new Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act requirements into a measuring stick for communities. The EFHT will hopefully encourage communities to use these standards to judge where their system is now and where it needs to be in order for them to end family homelessness.

The tool has several different parts (some that are finished, some that are still being developed/considered):

1) A set of three surveys regarding what communities think about their homeless system

2) A data collection worksheet

3) A resource list

4) A planning document

5) A check-in document (after a plan has been made), and

6) A community forum

As a final product, we hope to create a completely web-based version of these documents that communities can use to analyze their data and create an action plan without Alliance intervention. Communities wanting technical assistance, like Lincoln, NE, will have the option of working with us more closely. Speaking of Lincoln…

The Pilot Project

Iain DeJong of OrgCode Consulting, Inc. and I will first be piloting this project with Lincoln, NE. This week is the first of a total of three visits we’ll be paying them. In preparation for it, homeless providers, staff, and consumers are taking our surveys, and Iain and I have been reviewing the data they’ve sent to us about homelessness in Lincoln. On Day 1 of this initial visit we’ll be getting to know Lincoln’s key stakeholders and presenting our findings (based on our analysis of the aforementioned data and surveys). On our second day there, we’ll present the group with a document to help them prioritize which problems to solve, think through next steps, and decide which resources to use in their search for solutions. By the end of our two-day stay, we hope to have the beginnings of a plan that will get our friends in Nebraska confident that they will be able to change their system for the better.

The Trip

I’m Nebraska bound on Wednesday evening – wish me luck! I’m excited to A) have the chance to be working with a community on an issue I’m passionate about, B) put what we’ve done with the tool so far to the test, and C) cross Nebraska off my “States I’ve Never Been To” list. I’ll be reporting back once I return…until then!

16th August
written by naehblog

This week’s news has been full of reports about families in need overwhelming shelter systems. From Baltimore, MD to Springfield, MA, to LaPorte, IN, we’ve seen articles all week about homeless shelters “bursting” with people. Stories about an increase in the number of homeless children and families seem to be the news item of the week.

Shelter programs are struggling to accommodate more families in their existing programs. When they can’t, families are left to fend for themselves. They beg family and friends to let them stay for just one more night, they find well-lit places like train stations or hospital waiting rooms and try to look like they belong, they find retreat in abandoned buildings or quiet corners of parks where their children can rest.

Of course, shelters never want to turn away families in need. They work hard to find church basements that might serve as overflow shelter or to come up with the resources to pay for motel rooms to increase their capacity to serve families. While offering a temporary refuge, homeless providers recognize that overflow shelters and motels cannot provide families the security they need.

But are all the tools that can help shelter programs serve families better being put to use?

The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) was created to curb the expected surge of families experiencing housing crises and homelessness as a result of the recession. It provides flexible resources so that the very families most likely to enter shelter can be stabilized in their own housing instead. It is designed to alleviate the strain on shelter programs so they do not have to turn families away without a place to go. Unfortunately, HPRP is not being fully utilized to assist families with the greatest needs.

Utilizing HPRP resources to rapidly re-house families experiencing homelessness can reduce the strain on shelters – and, in the process – provide permanent housing for vulnerable families.

Too many communities are reluctant to assist families residing in shelter with rapid re-housing. They are serving only a small fraction of the families in shelter because they are concerned that some families will not be able to maintain the housing long-term. They fear that the rental assistance and case management resources available will not be sufficient to allow families to succeed. So HPRP resources are not being mobilized to rapidly re-house families. And shelters are left to struggle the best they can to accommodate families with their own program resources. When all options are depleted, families are turned away and left to fend for themselves.

The fear that families will fail is causing communities to fail these families.

Rapid re-housing emerged in communities like Hennepin County, Minnesota so that families would not be turned away from shelter. Because rapid re-housing techniques allow families to exit shelter quicker, the same number of shelter beds can serve more families. And, more importantly, the families served by rapid re-housing have access to the help they want most of all – assistance getting back into housing.

And rapid re-housing programs do work. Very few families who are placed into housing have a second shelter stay, even during this recession.

We need to make sure that the full array of tools available to respond to housing crises are being put to use so that being turned away without shelter becomes a rare event for families instead of an increasingly common one. Shelter providers critically examine how their community’s HPRP resources are being used and insist that HPRP resources are offered to help families in their shelter programs move back into housing.

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13th August
written by Marisa Seitz

This week, we heard a lot about the troubles people are having in housing. In Boston, we read about how rentals are becoming harder to find and afford, while in Atlanta, we saw the commotion caused by crowds gathered in an attempt to sign up for Section 8 assistance. What a state things are in when over 20,000 brave the heat in order to seek help!

However, we have also heard good news coming out of places like Arkansas, where they are using HPRP funds to help house people in their population who are experiencing homelessness.

In USA Today, they even examined the possibility that home ownership might not be the best thing for the federal government to push.

Finally, in the LA Times this week they talked about Project 50, a pilot program to house some of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable citizens experiencing homelessness. This program, they explain, could be the start of housing not only 50 of the most vulnerable people, but 10,000. Shelter Partnership also wrote a blog, examining Project 50 on a deeper level.