Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness sets a vision to make homelessness rare, brief, and, when it cannot be prevented, a one-time experience in communities across the country. Homelessness is a traumatic and disruptive experience to be avoided whenever possible; when it cannot be prevented, the experience should be made as brief as possible. Yet communities across the country face a shortage of homeless-dedicated permanent housing resources to assist everyone seeking assistance from a community’s homeless response system. To meet the challenge of having a high demand but limited housing resources, communities are encouraged to adopt problem-solving approaches to help individuals and families resolve their housing crises as quickly as possible without depending on dedicated permanent housing resources or subsidies.
To help highlight promising practices, facilitate community conversations, and integrate federal resources where appropriate, HUD, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have developed two resources:
- Adopting Housing Problem-Solving Approaches with Prevention, Diversion, and Rapid Exit Strategies provides a high-level overview of the practice of housing problem-solving. Housing problem-solving approaches support the effective implementation of homelessness prevention, diversion, and rapid exit strategies – strategies that should be a part of every coordinated entry process and are offered as potential housing pathways for all populations. Adopting a housing problem-solving approach across your system utilizes potentially untapped resources and may significantly improve communities’ system performance measures. Housing problem-solving can reduce lengths of time homeless, numbers of households experiencing first-time homelessness, and the share of households returning to homelessness.
- Agreeing on Common Language: Homelessness Prevention, Diversion, and Rapid Exit provides clarity around how the partners are currently defining the terms homelessness prevention, diversion, and rapid exit, including indicating when such services are provided, and offers some considerations for effective implementation of each.
In the months ahead, HUD will continue to learn from CoCs that are already implementing these concepts and will provide additional guidance, tools, and resources as CoCs seek to implement or strengthen implementation of these concepts and strategies.