Real life moment -We are in full swing of summer, and summer is synonymous with tourist season. One thing tourists don’t want see while on vacation is homeless people. I have read several articles (see below) lately that touch on housing the homeless or making them invisible, though no article brings it home like this. This article made me smile and feel proud to be a member of this profession. I love the basic simple principles:
Stage 1: Housing first: When we focus on keeping people from becoming homeless in the first place, the other issues associated with homelessness are much easier to solve. Shelters- most stay here first, at no charge. Some are referred by agencies that deal with certain underlying issues, such as domestic violence. Other families call around and get themselves in, but this can take days or weeks. Most shelter stays are supposed to end after 90 days, but families sometimes stay longer because of a bottleneck moving into the next stage. To get around time limits, shelters sometimes swap families waiting to move on.
Stage 2: Ask the right question: The best results come when case managers have the power to ask, “What is it you need right now to avoid becoming homeless?” It truly is about meeting a client where they’re at. Transitional housing: in this two-year phase, families are moved from shelters to apartments or other units, where they pay part of their income toward rent. They work with case managers to stabilize and prepare themselves for places of their own, but many wait at this stage for a vacancy in an affordable unit.
Stage 3: Customize financial support: Agencies are better able to help families who are teetering on the brink of homelessness when they are not tied down by rigid bureaucracy. They must have the flexibility to meet individual needs — such as helping with transportation, school supplies, and permits for employment or short-term rental assistance. Permanent housing: this can be public, subsidized Section 8, or market-rate units.
These are the three essentials in helping homeless individuals who want housing obtain it. This is the way to permanent solution.
Great reads on the Homeless crisis
- ‘Safe Sleep’: Portland Tests Leniency for Street Campers
- How to save children and families from becoming homeless
- Time for fresh thinking on region’s homelessness
- The homeless crisis radical hospitality