The mission of the Chico Housing Action Team is to ensure that every person in our community has access to fair and adequate shelter and sanitation.


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Updated: 6 hours 47 min ago

Call-In Guide: National Call-In Day to Protect Medicaid June 22, 2017

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 8:50am

On June 22, 2017, advocates across the country are coming together to flood their Members of Congress with calls to protect healthcare resources that are essential in the fight to end homelessness. As we get closer to that date, we need you to rally your communities to get engaged. Here is what you can do: 

RSVP for the Call-In Day here, then get your friends and colleagues on board by downloading and using our Call-In Guide above!

Congratulations to the Georgia Emergency Shelter Housing Challenge Participants!

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 9:04am

Back in March I blogged about the exciting start of the 90 Day Housing Challenge in Georgia. As part of the challenge, 18 organizations across Georgia vowed to move as many families, individuals, and youth as possible from homelessness to homes over the course of 90 days. Monday, June 12 marked the end of the challenge. Today I am excited to announce that 451 households have moved into permanent housing as a result of these shelters rising to the “Challenge.”

The emergency shelters who participated received no new resources or funds to help them meet their goals. Instead, they were creative and leveraged existing resources and community support to help their shelter residents exit to permanent housing. Many shelters changed the messaging in their shelter to focus more on housing and found creative ways to celebrate each person who left shelter for housing. Some forged new partnerships with landlords in their community to help unlock more housing options for their clients. One shelter was even featured on a local radio station to help leverage support for the Challenge in the community. And most excitingly, one shelter is continuing the Challenge, and will set another bold, 90 goal for themselves to work towards.

Running an emergency shelter is hard work! While we have crossed the finish line, the Challenge is not really over. Newly homeless households entering shelter will need help finding housing. The lessons learned through the Challenge will allow these shelters to continue to build on this important accomplishment.

There is something about a Challenge that brings out the best in all of us. The real winners in all of this are the 451 homeless families, individuals, and youth who are home as a result of the challenge. Well done Georgia!

How to Transition Your Emergency Shelter to a Low-Barrier and Housing-Focused Shelter Model

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:40pm

This webinar is part of a series by the National Alliance to End Homelessness on effective emergency shelter. This webinar features leaders from three emergency shelters who have made the shift to low-barrier, housing-focused emergency shelter. Panelist will address common questions and concerns regarding low barrier shelter, including how to maintain a safe environment, substance use, and  helping staff make the shift.   Speakers include Deirdre Houlihan DiCara, Executive Director of FISH/Friends in Service to Humanity of Northwestern Connecticut; Kris Freed, VP of Programs for LA Family Housing; John MacDonald, VP of Adult Services with Crossroads Rhode Island; and Cynthia Nagendra, Director of the Center for Capacity Building at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. 

Integrating Rapid Re-Housing & Employment

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 9:04am

Rapid re-housing provides people experiencing homelessness with short-term financial assistance and tailored services to support their exit from homelessness into permanent housing. Research shows, and program providers confirm, that many rapid re-housing participants face significant barriers to work and have experienced chronic unemployment, which can make it difficult for participants to pay market rate rent at the end of their rental subsidy. As this intervention comes to scale, it’s vital to ensure that all rapid re-housing participants have access to employment, training, and supportive services that can help them succeed in quality jobs and stabilize in housing.

Join Noelle Porter of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Caitlin Schnur of Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity, and rapid re-housing practitioners Tanner Phillips of Neighborhood House (Seattle/King County) and Connie Martin of Community Teamwork, Inc. (Lowell, MA) on June 15 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET to hear program-level recommendations for enhancing the design and delivery of rapid re-housing with employment supports. In addition to program-level recommendations, this webinar will also briefly touch on policy and systems change solutions. 

Preparing for the 2017 Continuum of Care Program NOFA

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 8:49am

The Continuum of Care funding competition is coming soon, will you use this as an opportunity?  Join us on Wednesday, May 31, at 2 pm ET for a webinar to help communities prepare for the NOFA.  Learn how communities can use this process  to drive long-term change by strategically assess ways to improve their system, align their resources with best practices, and ultimately better serve the most  vulnerable in the community.  Topics will include how communities can make strategic reallocation decisions and the new joint Transitional Housing-Rapid Re-Housing component. 

President’s FY 2018 Budget Briefing

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:55pm

This webinar, conducted by the Alliance's policy team, is focused on the President's fiscal year (FY) 2018 Budget Proposal and provides a brief overview of the federal budget and appropriations process, as well as an analysis of the Administration's proposed funding levels for key homelessness and affordable housing programs.

Check out our materials below:

Recording of FY 2018 President's Budget Briefing Webinar
FY 2018 Budget Rundown
FY 2018 Budget Chart
FY 2018 President Budget Briefing PPT
Community Stakeholders Sign On Letter

And don't forget to take action for the Alliance's FY 2018 Homelessness Funding Campaign.

What is the Transitional Housing-Rapid Re-Housing Joint Component?

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 8:33am

This year’s CoC NOFA includes a new opportunity for communities –the Transitional Housing-Rapid Re-Housing Joint Component – a project type combining Transitional Housing and Rapid Re-Housing. Join us on Thursday, June 15 at 2 p.m. ET, for a webinar will that discuss how to evaluate if this is needed in your community and what populations might benefit from it. The webinar will provide information about the joint component, including the goals of the housing model, opportunities for communities, and time to answer questions.

President’s Budget Proposal - Overview and Impact on Homelessness

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 8:40am

On Thursday, May 25 at 4:00 pm ET, the Alliance will host a webinar on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 Budget Proposal. Speakers will provide a brief overview of the federal budget and appropriations process and analysis of the Administration’s proposed funding levels for key programs that serve people experiencing homelessness. The webinar will also launch the Alliance's FY 2018  advocacy campaign focused on increased funding for homeless assistance programs, and will offer advocates an opportunity to hear about how to get involved. 

*Please note that the webinar timing may change if the President’s budget release date shifts, in which case all registrants will be notified.

Annual Report 2015

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 9:17am

Capitol Hill Day 2017

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 3:28pm

What is Capitol Hill Day?

This event, held in conjunction with the Alliance's annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness, will take place this year on July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. This year’s event will celebrate the progress made on ending homelessness since the McKinney-Vento Act passed 30 years ago and highlight the federal investments that will be needed to continue this trend in this Congress and Administration. 

Face-to-face time with Members of Congress and their staff is one of the most important ways to take part in federal advocacy – a critical component of your work in ending homelessness. These meetings allow participants to establish/build relationships with your congressional offices; educate your Senators and Representatives on your success and progress at home; and encourage them to work in support of policy initiatives to eliminate homelessness.

Capitol Hill Day Information for Participants:

To prepare participants for Capitol Hill Day 2017, packets full of resources (many of which will be posted below shortly) will also be available from the Capitol Hill Day Table at the conference. Participants will also have the opportunity to attend state prep sessions led by their state captains to further prepare them for the congressional meetings. You can find the state prep session times and locations listed on the conference app or posted near the Capitol Hill Day table. For questions about your state prep session and meetings, reach out to your State Captains and stop by the Capitol Hill Day table. 

To further prepare participants, the Alliance will host a workshop at the conference titled 1.03 Capitol Hill Day: Make Your Voice Heard on Monday, July 17 at 2:00 pm to provide updates on the Hill Day policy priorities driving the Capitol Hill Day agenda. Staff will review these policy priorities and provide the latest legislative and political updates to ensure that Capitol Hill Day participants and other interested advocates have the most recent information prior to their Hill visits. They will also make sure you know the key logistics information to participate.

Last year, more than 380 advocates from 43 states collectively attended more than 250 hill meetings (including meetings with the offices of most appropriators). We are hoping for another successful year this year, and can’t ensure the issue of homelessness is on Members of Congress’ radars without YOUR help!

*Remember to check this page regularly, as resources will be added above in the lead up to the event!

Preparing for the 2017 NOFA: Make Sure Your CoC Application is Housing First Focused

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:07am

Throughout the month of May, the Alliance will post weekly blogs dedicated to helping communities prepare for the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).  This is the third blog in that series.

In our last post, we introduced the CoC Award’s Preparation Checklist and began talking about some of the steps communities can take to prepare for the 2017 NOFA. One step includes taking a closer look at how your system is working towards meeting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) policy priorities, as outlined in the Registration Notice. This week, we want to examine the implementation of one of those priorities; Housing First.

How do we know if projects are Housing First or low barrier?

As the Continuum of Care, it can be tempting to ask project applicants to provide a narrative explanation for how they have adopted Housing First, and be done with it. But I urge you to spend a little more time on this. Housing First can mean many things to many people, so it is important to define exactly what you’re talking about so applicants understand the criteria. This means ensuring that applicants understand what Housing First is and how it should be implemented.

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. I highly recommend taking a look at our Housing First Fact Sheet, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’s (USICH’s) Housing First Checklist, and 100,000 Homes’ Shelter Eligibility Checklist (starts on Appendix A). HUD also just recently released a fact sheet about using a Housing First philosophy when serving youth.

During the NOFA process, the project ranking committee should be prepared to review organizational policies and procedures to see how organizations have reduced barriers and are implementing Housing First. Projects should not have restrictive entry criteria such as sobriety or income requirements.

The number of people who are exited from the program for noncompliance with program rules should also be extremely minimal. In addition, a focus on permanent housing should be evident. Clients should not be required to complete classes or jump through extra hoops before they are re-housed.

What does this mean for transitional housing?

It seems paradoxical that transitional housing programs are included in HUD’s Housing First focus, but it is very much in line with HUD’s policy priorities. In 2015, HUD signed on to a consensus document outlining an extremely limited role for long-term, congregate transitional housing.

If it still seems at odds, research shows transitional housing has the same outcomes as rapid re-housing but is more expensive. HUD is encouraging communities to use this more costly, service enriched intervention for people who need it the most, while shifting the focus to increasing exits to permeant housing and reducing the length of time people stay in transitional housing.

Finally, if organizations agreed to reduce barriers and adopt a Housing First approach during the previous NOFA process, it is important that the CoC assess whether this change has been implemented. Providing training and support to help organizations make this shift is key. Adopting a Housing First approach involves changing your organizational culture, and this is no easy task. It will, however, ensure that the people who need help the most are not left out in the cold.

Our blog series continues next week. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the Alliance resource page for more information and helpful prep guidance for the 2017 CoC NOFA.

What can CoCs do right now to prepare for the Continuum of Care Program NOFA?

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 7:34am

Last week, we blogged about what the 2017 CoC Program NOFA Registration Notice tells us about the upcoming competition. As communities anxiously await the release of the NOFA, there are a number of steps CoCs can take now to get ready. These steps, which are outlined in the Alliance’s CoC Awards Preparation Checklist, include:

  • Review 2016 Consolidated Application. Carefully review last year’s application, with an eye toward where you scored low and a plan for addressing these areas.
  • Develop a Governance Plan. Meet with your Governance Committee to create resource reallocation strategy, establish a Ranking and Review Committee, and prepare a request for proposals incorporating CoC priorities.
  • Review Funded Projects. Review projects to determine which are not spending their funding or meeting performance benchmarks and examine costs per permanent housing exit.
  • Review Fidelity to Housing First. Examine project policies and procedures to ensure they align with Housing First. Determine what program changes can be made to better align with Housing First.
  • Review Ranking Process and Forms. Review last year’s process to understand if the forms align with the HUD policy priorities, focusing on performance for each project, and prioritizing projects that are efficient with funds. Ensure your scoring system reflect all of these decisions. HUD will also be releasing a Project Rating and Ranking Tool which can be used by CoCs to evaluate projects and set ranking priorities within the CoC.
  • Create Resource Allocation Strategy. Review your current projects to determine if there are any that are underutilized or underperforming or if there are funds from projects that can be recaptured to create new projects.
  • Review PIT/HIC and Performance Data. Review data to determine accuracy and if the projects you apply for reflect the information in your data. Ask how you can use data improve both system and project performance?
  • Read NOFA Notice. Review the Notice and each SNAPS CoC Competition Focus notice, which can provide information about what is expected for local communities.

Most importantly, CoCs should be continually thinking about how their system is working towards meeting HUD’s policy priorities, as outlined in the Registration Notice. These priorities, which are meant to push communities toward the system-wide goal of ending homelessness, include:

  1. Creating a systemic response to homelessness by developing systemic supports that assure homeless assistance is well coordinated, well-managed, inclusive, transparent, and achieves positive outcomes.
  2. Strategic resource allocation based on performance evaluation and data of all resources.
  3. Using a Housing First approach to move individuals and families quickly into permanent housing.

Stay tuned for the next blog where we will talk about how to make sure your CoC application is housing-first focused.

Faith-Based Organizations: Fundamental Partners in Ending Homelessness

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 12:46pm

Faith-based organizations serve as the backbone of the emergency shelter system in this country – operating at a minimum nearly 30 percent of emergency shelter beds for families and single adults at the national level.  They play a critical role in delivering services to people in crisis and significantly fewer households experiencing homelessness would be served and more would remain in crisis without them.  Homelessness will not be ended without faith-based organizations.

To examine the unique contribution of faith-based organizations to homeless services and present the perspectives of faith-based organizations on the most pressing gaps in resources and efforts needed to end homelessness, their role in local governance and systemic planning, and how a national shift to a Housing First philosophy has impacted their work, the National Alliance to End Homelessness examined housing inventory data and interviewed and/or surveyed over 160 faith-based organizations. Here is what was learned.

Key Takeaways:  The role of faith-based organizations in ending homelessness
  • Faith-based organizations provide a significant amount of the emergency shelter services and permanent housing interventions for homeless people.  Nationally they provide more than two-of-five beds emergency shelter beds for single adults and have the capacity to house more than 150,000 people on any given night in shelter, transitional, and permanent housing programs.
  • Faith-based providers around the country indicate that a significant shortage in the availability of affordable housing is a both driver of and impediment to addressing homelessness. More attention needs to be focused both nationally and locally on this issue.
  • Faith-based organizations play an active role in local planning and Continuum of Care governance activities, including serving as leaders in implementing a systemic approach to homelessness, and participating in and leading coordinated entry in their communities.  Despite some communities integrating faith-based organizations into their work, providers reported the need for CoC governance to more actively integrate non-HUD-funded faith-based providers into the process.
  • Faith-based organizations that implement a Housing First approach have found it to be an effective approach for ending homelessness as well as compatible with their beliefs.  And while many providers believe that Housing First programs can be a critical tool for ending a person’s homelessness, faith-based organizations also expressed concern that, when implemented, the services provided in this approach can fall short and thus are not able to address important issues such as substance abuse, etc.
  • Faith-based organizations are critical but in some ways underutilized partners in ending homelessness. Because of their strong connections within the community, faith-based organizations have strong volunteer and advocacy bases and flexible donor funds that may be overlooked and could be harnessed more strategically.  Communities could do a better job of partnering with and leveraging the extensive network of services and connections offered by faith-based organizations.
What’s Next?

Responses from this snapshot of faith-based organizations have provided insight into some actions that CoCs, faith-based organizations, and the federal government can take to improve coordination and better integrate efforts.

What can CoCs do?

  • Make a concerted effort to engage those faith-based organizations currently serving on the CoC.  Develop a faith-based subgroup that strategically engages organizations in the CoC process.  This is particularly important for engaging organizations that do not receive HUD funding and may not see the value of their participation. 
  • Work with faith-based organizations to strategically map out available resources (e.g., partnerships, volunteers, advocacy base) and connections that could help to fill local gaps in services. 
  • Change the narrative about emergency shelter.  Faith-based organizations provide important crisis services throughout the country. CoCs should be mindful about language that may demean or devalue the important work of faith-based organizations in this area.

What can faith-based organizations do?

  • Educate CoCs about what specific services and resources faith-based organizations can provide to the community. Participate in a strategic discussion about how these resources can fill gaps.
  • Strengthen engagement in the CoC governance process.
  • Break down silos within the local faith-based community.  Partnering with other local faith-based organizations can encourage a broader community and faith-oriented discussion about ending homelessness.

What can the Federal Government do?

  • Prioritize resources and programs to address the affordable housing crisis in this country.
  • Develop guidance for CoCs about how they can more intentionally engage faith-based organizations at the local level.
  • Devote more resources and technical assistance to communities to support local governance efforts, including coordinated entry.

Ending homelessness requires a systems approach where communities effectively coordinate and align available resources and services. Building inclusive partnerships between secular and faith-based service providers in a community is a critical step in this process and is needed to address homelessness locally.  Without faith-based partners at the table, communities will not be able to truly achieve an end to homelessness.


Get Prepared for the 2017 Continuum of Care Program NOFA

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 12:36pm

The release of the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) registration notice often marks a stressful time for communities. It begins the process of rigorous examination of data, assessment of priorities, and ultimately the need to make tough decisions at the program and system level. While we at the Alliance recognize that this can be challenging, we believe the NOFA process provides an opportunity too. Community's can use the NOFA to drive long-term change by using the process to strategically assess ways to improve their system, align their resources with best practices, and ultimately better serve the most vulnerable in the community.


What did the 2017 CoC Program NOFA Registration Notice tell us?

While we don’t know much about what will be in the actual NOFA -- including when it will be released -- the Registration Notice gave us some important clues that can help communities as they begin to think strategically about the application process. Some key observations:

  • The Registration Notice is mostly the same as last year’s, focusing more heavily on HMIS data and the submission of system-level performance measures. 
  • As in past years, the funding that CoCs can apply for is divided into tiers, with projects prioritized in Tier 1 being more likely to be funded than projects of lower priority that fall into Tier 2. 
  • Communities are expected to have a performance-based project review and rank process.

The registration notice also outlines HUD’s key policy priorities, similar to prior years. CoCs and Project Applications will be evaluated based on the extent to which they further HUD’s policy priorities. The priorities include:

  1. Creating a systemic response to homelessness by developing systemic supports that assure homeless assistance is well coordinated, well-managed, inclusive, transparent, and achieves positive outcomes.
  2. Strategic resource allocation based on performance evaluation and data of all resources.
  3. Using a Housing First approach to move individuals and families quickly into permanent housing.

Communities will also want to take note of the permanent housing bonus described in the registration notice. The bonus is offered for new projects that fall into the following categories:

  • New permanent supportive housing projects that primarily serve chronically homeless individuals and families, including youth experiencing chronic homelessness.
  • New rapid re-housing projects for homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth entering directly from the streets or emergency shelter, including youth up to age 24, and includes persons fleeing domestic violence situations and other persons meeting the criteria of paragraph (4) of the definition of homelessness.
  • New joint transitional housing/rapid re-housing component projects, which will combine transitional housing and permanent housing rapid re-housing into a single project to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness

We have received a lot of questions about the new joint transitional housing-rapid re-housing project component and hope to have more information to share about this opportunity soon.


What’s next from the Alliance?

Today the Alliance is releasing its NOFA site with tools and resources that we will continue to update as we learn more. During the month of May, we will also be focusing on reallocation so stay tuned for more information, resources, and blogs on this topic. Most importantly, we want to help communities as you prepare! Please send us your questions and let us know about challenges you are facing as you begin this process.

Upon the Passing of Mike Lowry

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 12:30pm

It is with great sadness that we announce the Alliance’s Board Co-Chairman, Governor Mike Lowry, died on May 1 as a result of a massive stroke that he suffered in late February.

Mike was an exceptional person of deep conviction, fierce determination, and abiding kindness. He was much loved, and being with Mike in Washington State was always an amazing experience – a nonstop succession of people coming up to speak to him, hug him and thank him for all he had accomplished as governor. 

He made such a contribution to the Alliance, sharing his political acumen and his hard-earned wisdom – not to mention his fundraising contacts! His leadership on the Board, and with Gary Parsons as co-chair, is a major reason the Alliance has been able to accomplish what it has. 

Mike Lowry was a very special person and it was an honor to know and work with him. We will share the Board and staff’s condolences with his wife Mary and his family.

Read the full obituary in the Seattle Times.

Rapid Re-Housing for Youth: Shared Housing & Roommates

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 11:48am

Shared housing is a common living arrangement for young adults, regardless of socioeconomic status. It's also important for making rapid re-housing work in high-cost, low-vacancy housing markets.

This online meeting of the Alliance's Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Learning Community (RRH4YLC) will explore all the ins and outs and ups and downs of shared housing, an essential part of an effective rapid re-housing for youth program.

2017 Continuum of Care NOFA Resources

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 10:39am

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released the FY 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) registration notice. Continuums of Care (CoC) have until May 1 to register for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's FY17 CoC Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Stay tuned for more from the Alliance as we share resources and tips for this year's CoC Program Competition.

Read the guidelines and register >>

CoC Awards Preparation Checklist >>
There are a lot of boxes to tick off when competing for federal funding. Download and print this checklist to make sure you don't miss any steps.

Fact Sheet: Housing First >>
CoCs that can demonstrate at least 75 percent of their project applications use a Housing First approach can receive points on the NOFA.

Fact Sheet: Reallocating Permanent Supportive Housing >>
After years of emphasis on reallocating low performing transitional housing programs, many communities are finding their CoC portfolios almost entirely composed of permanent housing projects. Evaluate these projects and consider reallocation when it would improve the communities’ ability to end chronic homelessness.



The Keys to Effective Low-Barrier Emergency Shelters

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:18am

This webinar is part of a series by the National Alliance to End Homelessness on effective emergency shelter. In our first webinar, we discussed the role of emergency shelter in a crisis response system. In this webinar you will learn the five key elements to effective emergency shelter: using a Housing First approach, providing safe and appropriate diversion services, ensuring immediate and easy access, services focused on rapid exits to housing and using data to measure performance. Cynthia Nagendra, Director of the Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building, will provide strategies that shelters can begin to implement right away to adopt the five keys to effective emergency shelter.

Enhancing Rapid Re-Housing with Employment

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 1:46pm

The scale of family homelessness demands attention. As a new paper about integrating rapid re-housing and employment from my team at Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity makes clear, too many families are experiencing or at risk of homelessness for economic reasons. On a single night in January 2016, about 194,716 people in families with children were homeless.

Insufficient earned income and unemployment, combined with lack of affordable housing, are among the chief causes of family homelessness. Today, 28 percent of workers earn poverty-level wages and 42 percent make less than $15/hour. Most families living in poverty spend at least half of their income on housing. One in three American households has no savings account. Millions of vulnerable households are one lost job or financial challenge away from homelessness.

In recent years, rapid re-housing has emerged as a key strategy in ending family homelessness. The first priority of any rapid re-housing program is to ensure that people are moved quickly into safe, permanent housing. However, to address the economic instability that frequently leads to homelessness, rapid re-housing providers can and should prioritize employment and make it a goal for their participants. This is especially important because, although rapid re-housing participants are expected to pay market rate rent once their short-term rental subsidy ends, many face significant barriers to employment, which can make it difficult for them to stabilize in housing at the end of their rental subsidy. 

Helping rapid re-housing participants succeed in employment is essential to their long-term housing and financial security — and to truly ending family homelessness. That said, employment is not a core competency for many homeless services providers. While our paper offers rapid re-housing providers recommendations to enhance their programs with employment services, we don’t expect providers to implement these recommendations alone. Rather, providers will need to work alongside multiple actors across systems. There also needs to be policy change, so that rapid re-housing interventions have the capacity, resources, and incentives to provide pathways to employment and economic opportunity for all participants.

Here are three key takeaways for rapid re-housing providers seeking to enhance their programming with employment services:

#1: Build partnerships to offer a continuum of employment, training, and supportive services that can meet a wide range of needs. It’s likely that employment services are not an area of expertise for many rapid re-housing programs — and there’s no need to build these services from the ground up. Instead, rapid re-housing providers can and should:

  • Prioritize and value employment
  • Make it a goal for their participants
  • Work with Continuum of Care (CoC) leadership to support the development of necessary partnerships to make sure appropriate employment services are delivered

Establishing partnerships with a range of community-based providers and public systems is key. These partners should include the public workforce system funded under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), but the WIOA system may not be equipped to address the needs of rapid re-housing participants facing significant barriers to employment. Other partners can include community-based providers specializing in intensive employment and training services for jobseekers facing barriers to employment, community colleges and adult basic education programs, and agencies offering credential-bearing job training. The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and the SNAP Employment & Training program can also provide funding for employment-related needs such as child care and transportation. Finally, connections to legal services, mental health, and health care providers, and financial capability services are all important.

#2: Immediately engage participants in employment, training, and supportive services. Finding a job takes time, and rapid re-housing participants likely face barriers to employment that lengthen the typical job search, such as limited educational attainment or a spotty work history. At the same time, because of the time-limited nature of their housing subsidies, participants are under considerable pressure to connect quickly with earned income in order to pay rent when their subsidy expires. For this reason, rapid re-housing providers should introduce participants to employment services as soon as they enroll, whether in-house or through partnerships with employment service providers.

Some steps that rapid re-housing providers can take include introducing employment as a goal on day one and offering connections to job search assistance as early as possible. Providers can integrate employment goals into case management conversations and use motivational interviewing techniques to address participants’ lack of confidence about pursuing work. Finally, providers can connect participants with service providers who are using evidence-based employment models for people facing barriers to employment, including transitional jobs and individualized placement and support.

#3: Prioritize job retention and reemployment services to support the longer-term success of rapid-rehousing participants. Job retention support is critical for jobseekers facing barriers to employment. To help rapid re-housing participants meet their lease obligations and stabilize in housing following the subsidy period, job retention should be a priority for any rapid re-housing program that is integrating employment into its service delivery.

Providers can offer job retention in a number of ways, including doing regular check-ins with participants about their workplace needs, employer expectations, and conflicts that arise at work. Providers can also offer financial incentives for getting or maintaining work. Lastly, job retention efforts should include reemployment services to help participants quickly re-engage in job search activities if they leave or lose employment in order to avoid long periods of joblessness and potentially falling behind in rent.

Now is the time to make sure that rapid re-housing programs provide clear pathways to economic opportunity and quality employment. By doing so, we can make great progress in the fight to end family homelessness.

Emergency Shelter

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:58pm

Emergency shelters play a critical role when it comes to ending homelessness. Over the years, the emergency shelter system has received little attention. So this month, the Alliance and its Center for Capacity Building will kick-off The Emergency Shelter Webinar Series, a six-month installment of webinars and complementary resources and tools dedicated to guiding and supporting communities interested in improving the way they serve those experiencing homelessness and in need of shelter. This multi-faceted campaign is for anyone looking to improve shelter outcomes in their community. This learning series will kick off on April 26 with a webinar, The Role of Emergency Shelter in a Crisis Response System. Other topics will include:

April: The Role of Emergency Shelter in a Crisis Response System
May: The Keys to Effective Low-Barrier Emergency Shelters
June: How to Transition Your Emergency Shelter to a Low-Barrier and Housing-Focused Shelter Model
July: Which rules are the right rules in low-barrier emergency shelters?
August: Using Data to  Evaluate and Improve Shelter Outcomes
September: How to Provide Equal Access in Emergency Shelter

Have you looked at the emergency shelters in your community lately?


Resources & Tools

Fill out the Self-Assessment Survey online by taking the survey here.

Download the Self Assessment Action Plans:

Download the Word Document versions of the Self-Assessment Survey below and fill them out with your team.

Watch the recorded webinars and download the slides:

VIDEO: The Role of Emergency Shelter in the Crisis Response System
SLIDES: The Role of Emergency Shelter in a Crisis Response System