Six Tools to Help You Continue to Drive Progress in Ending Homelessness

Every day, we are talking with communities implementing the systems changes necessary to drive progress, taking initiative to engage with new partners outside of homelessness systems, and ultimately, working tirelessly to ensure that every person has a safe, stable place to call home. And every day, we’re seeing successes and progress across the country — overall, homelessness has been reduced by 14% nationwide! That is something to celebrate, and also something to use as motivation, because we have much more work ahead us.

In order to continue our progress in ending homelessness, we need to ensure all communities are equipped with the resources and strategies to get the job done. Here are six of the tools and resources we most often recommend to our community partners:

Robert Pulster recommends Enlisting Mainstream Resources and Programs to End Homelessness

Here’s why: “As we look to continuing our efforts in the new year to end family and youth homelessness, it is increasingly important to coordinate with mainstream programs like TANF, child welfare, Medicaid, the Housing Choice Voucher program, and multi-family housing, among others, that can provide much-needed access to housing, health care, income supports, and other forms of assistance. All of these services are a critical part of the solution to ending homelessness. 

This guide breaks down each service area with specific guidance, practical information, and tools to help you build the local and state level partnerships needed to advance this exciting work. I encourage communities to use this resource not only because it is so timely and informative, but also because it demonstrates how federal agencies worked together to develop guidance that you can leverage in your own community to advance your progress.”

Joe Savage recommends Primer on Using Medicaid for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness

Here’s why: “As communities develop coordinated system approaches towards ending chronic homelessness, it’s important that they ensure all available resources are being strategically aligned and put to the most effective use. I am a witness to the significant impact that the coordination of resources can have on ending homelessness for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Using Medicaid dollars to support services for individuals who experienced chronic homelessness and are now living in permanent supportive housing is a vital, but underutilized resource that can be coordinated with other funding streams aimed at ending chronic homelessness. The Primer is an excellent starting point for communities that wish to engage Medicaid resources and strategies within their efforts to ending chronic homelessness.”

Katie Jennings recommends Asking the Right Questions about Tiny Houses

Here’s why: “This is one of my favorite resources from 2016, not only because it is so timely, but also because it addresses a question I often hear from friends and family: “Isn’t some shelter (whether or not it has plumbing, heating, or any of the amenities you would expect in a typical rental unit) better than no shelter at all?” While there may be a place for tiny homes in a community’s crisis response system, it is important to ask the right questions before embracing the approach wholesale, and this resource provides a starting place for communities beginning that conversation.”

Katy Miller recommends The Role of Outreach and Engagement in Ending Homelessness

Here’s why: “As communities make courageous shifts in their systems’ response to homelessness — moving towards person-centered and housing-focused interventions — the role of effective outreach has never been more important. Coordinating outreach efforts and ensuring that each individual is assessed and is included in coordinated entry and housing placement is key to the success that we have seen in communities that have effectively ended Veteran homelessness. I refer to this resource a lot because it clearly outlines some of the best thinking related to outreach and engagement and how to tie it to all of the work that is taking place to end homelessness, regardless of location or population.” 

Amy Sawyer recommends Housing First Checklist: Assessing Projects and Systems for a Housing First Orientation

Here’s why: “Housing First continues to be the bedrock of our success. It paves the way for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to have immediate, low-barrier access to permanent housing. Initially emerging through work with people experiencing chronic homelessness, we’ve come to see how effective the strategy is across all populations and all types of housing and services available. The Checklist breaks down what Housing First looks like in practice. Because of this, I often recommend it as a tool that communities can use to engage policymakers, government officials, practitioners, and partners with lived experience to understand how programs partnering to end homelessness are applying a Housing First approach — both individually and as a system. 

As you develop the coordinated housing crisis response system in your community and bring in mainstream partners such as health care experts, criminal justice teams, and education liaisons to end homelessness, this checklist can help you take advantage of the opportunity to ensure that at every step, your plans, partnerships, and projects apply Housing First.”

Beverley Ebersold recommends Ending Veteran Homelessness: Our Progress, Essential Strategies, and the Work Ahead

Here’s why: “It is critical to sustain our progress and continue to advance our efforts to end homelessness among Veterans. USICH recently released this resource highlighting our progress, identifying essential strategies, and outlining our work ahead. It includes links to the federal criteria and benchmarks which has allowed us to define and align our efforts across the country, and presents 10 strategies to assist communities to drive progress and make homelessness rare, brief, or a one-time experience. We know how to end homelessness and I encourage communities to continue to use this resource and be part of the solution. We have also shared Our Progress, Essential Strategies, and the Work Ahead for chronic homelessness and family homelessness, and will be releasing a resource on youth homelessness very soon.”

Visit our Tools for Action database for these and many more tools. Together, we are ending homelessness!