The Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (SHOP) Tool: Setting a Path to End Chronic Homelessness

Permanent Supportive Housing Row HousesMuch of my passion for ending homelessness comes from my time on the front-lines where I worked to connect very vulnerable people – adults with disabling conditions who had often spent years without a safe and stable place to call home – to permanent supportive housing. Even in my small city, there were times when units were not available for people who needed them the most. We simply didn’t have enough permanent supportive housing units, and even the units that we had were not always being targeted to people experiencing chronic homelessness. We know that this is too often the case in many communities across the country.

The Obama Administration is committed to ending chronic homelessness nationally in 2017. Achieving this goal nationally is only possible if we achieve it locally. To do so, communities across the country must have enough available permanent supportive housing units to serve people currently experiencing chronic homelessness and to prevent people with disabling conditions from becoming chronically homeless in the future.

A critical first step to achieving our shared goal is to determine the specific combination of strategies needed to increase the availability of permanent supportive housing locally, which really depends on each community’s supply and availability. Some communities with a large supply of permanent supportive housing can make significant progress towards the goal just by improving the targeting of existing units. Most communities will also need to create new supportive housing through both targeted grants and mainstream resources.

Last week, USICH released the Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (SHOP) Tool to help communities determine the right set of strategies, such as increasing the prioritization of existing turnover units and creating new supportive housing, needed to achieve an end to chronic homelessness locally. The tool allows communities to set different targets for prioritization and creation of new permanent supportive housing units, and to assess the impact of those targets on the projected number of people experiencing chronic homelessness each year until 2017.

To support the use of the tool, we’re planning a webinar for Tuesday, May 26, from 1 – 2:15 PM ET. The USICH team will be joined by community presenters who will talk about their plans for implementing the SHOP Tool to determine the right strategies for increasing permanent supportive housing availability locally. Register here.

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