Housing and Homelessness Programs
The Housing and Homelessness Division (HHD) is within the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The Division is responsible for program development and oversight of statewide housing programs funded by the CDSS. The Division also serves as a statewide technical assistance provider to all of California’s social services agencies. The Division aims to streamline services on both the local and statewide level to promote equal access to safe and affordable housing for all Californians.
To learn more about accessing housing and homeless services in your community, please contact the local Homeless Continuum of Care or County Welfare Department .
Project Roomkey/Homelessness COVID Response
The purpose of Project Roomkey is to provide non-congregate sheltering for people experiencing homelessness, to protect human life, and minimize strain on health care system capacity.
CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP)
The CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP) fosters housing stability for families experiencing homelessness. HSP assists homeless CalWORKs families in obtaining permanent housing and can provide temporary shelter, help with moving costs, short to medium-term rental subsidies, and wraparound case management.
CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA)
The CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) Program aims to help CalWORKs families meet the reasonable costs of securing housing. The CalWORKs HA program serves eligible CalWORKs recipients, or apparently eligible CalWORKs applicants, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. CalWORKs HA can provide payments for temporary shelter for up to 16 cumulative calendar days, as well as payments to secure or maintain housing, including a security deposit and last month’s rent, or up to two months of rent arrearages.
Bringing Families Home Program (BFH)
The Bringing Families Home (BFH) program helps reduce the number of families in the child welfare system experiencing homelessness, increase family reunification, and prevent foster care placements. BFH serves homeless families involved with the child welfare system and is designed to offer housing supports in order for families to successfully reunify.
Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP)
The Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) assists homeless and disabled individuals apply for disability benefit programs, while also providing housing support. The HDAP requires that participating counties offer outreach, case management, benefits advocacy, and housing supports to all program participants.
Home Safe Program
The Home Safe Program supports the safety and housing stability of individuals involved in Adult Protective Services (APS) who are experiencing, or at imminent risk of experiencing, homelessness due to elder or dependent adult abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation by providing housing-related assistance using evidence-based practices for homeless assistance and prevention.
Community Care Expansion Program (CCE)
The CCE program was established by Assembly Bill No. 172 (Chapter 69, Statutes of 2021) and will provide $805 million in funding for acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation to preserve and expand adult and senior care facilities that serve SSI/SSP and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) applicants and recipients, including those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
Program Policy and Quality Assurance Branch 744 P Street, MS 8-4-461 Sacramento, CA 95814
Data, Integration, and Operations Branch 744 P Street, MS 8-4-471 Sacramento, CA 95814 Email: [email protected] Phone: (916) 651-5155
Stay Informed on CDSS Housing and Homelessness Program updates and guidance.
Resources and Information
- Contact Your County
- CA Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council
- CA Department of Housing and Community Development
- CA Department of Veterans Affairs
- HUD: CA Continuums of Care
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- County Fiscal Letter (CFL) 22/23-43 (December 20, 2022) : Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23 Bringing Families Home (BFH), Home Safe, the Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP), and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Housing Support Program (CalWORKs HSP) Allocation
- Tribal Set-Aside Funding Letter (July 26, 2022) : Notice of Tribal Set-Aside funding to establish a Bringing Families Home Program, Home Safe Program, and/or Housing and Disability Advocacy Program
- ACWDL (September 21, 2022) Notice of Funding for CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP), Bringing Families Home (BFH) Program, Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP), and Home Safe Program
- ACWDL (July 19, 2021) Funding for Continuation of CalWORKs Housing Support Program, Bringing Families Home Program, Housing and Disability Advocacy Program, Home Safe Program and Project Roomkey and Rehousing Initiative
- ACL 19-114 (December 13, 2019): Implementation of SB 1380: Housing First
- COVID-19 Rent Relief Program
- Ayuda con la Renta de COVID-19 de California
- Updated Fact Sheets Coming Soon
- Adult Protective Services
- Child Welfare
- Tribal TANF
- Social Security
Join the CDSS Housing and Homelessness Division Team
The California Department of Social Services Housing and Homelessness Division is a team of dedicated professionals who strive to improve the lives of Californians by promoting security in the form of equitable housing opportunities.
Staff Services Manager I Positions Job Control: 357425 Classification: SSM I Position Number: 800-462-4800-910 Job Posting Release Date: 2/22/2023 FFD: 3/5/2023
Staff Services Manager I Positions Job Control: 357188 Classification: SSM I Position Number: 800-463-4800-912 Job Posting Release Date: 2/23/2023 FFD: 3/6/2023
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Housing resources for people with disabilities, housing for seniors, homeless services and resources, housing resources for native americans, va loans to buy, refinance, or improve a home, housing help for older veterans.
A variety of federal, state, and local housing programs can help you:
Find and afford a place to live
Modify an existing home for disabilities, or
Help you develop skills to live independently
Each program has its own eligibility rules and application process.
People with disabilities are eligible for all:
Public housing programs
Rental assistance or subsidized housing
Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher programs
Learn about eligibility, how to apply, and more for each of these programs.
You may also be eligible for a Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) Voucher. NED vouchers help people who are not seniors and have a disability get housing in a development set aside for seniors.
Your state and your local city or county governments can explain any housing aid and programs for people with disabilities in your area.
If you’re buying a home, homeownership vouchers can help pay mortgage and homeownership expenses.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program offers loans and grants to homeowners in rural areas who:
Remove health hazards
Make home modifications to accommodate a household member with a physical disability
If you are a veteran with a service-connected or age-related disability, you may be eligible for a housing grant to build or modify a home for your needs.
Independent Living Skills
State and local independent living centers can help you develop skills to live on your own with a disability.
Contact your state to find out how its department of human services or disability office may be able to assist with:
Independent living skills
How do I complain?
You may need things like ramps, grab bars, or service animals. Housing providers cannot deny someone housing because of a disability. And they cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations for a tenant with a disability. Learn more about disability rights in housing and how to file a complaint if you feel that you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination.
If you are a senior or a person with a disability, find out what housing resources are available for you:
Housing Choice Voucher Program - This program helps very low income families, seniors, and people with disabilities afford housing in the private market.
Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program - This program subsidizes independent living-type apartments for seniors that offer services like cleaning, cooking, and transportation. Use the HUD Resource Locator and choose "Find Affordable Elderly and Special Needs Housing."
Eldercare Locator - This site offers information and resources on housing options for older adults.
Age Discrimination Complaints
If you believe you were a victim of age discrimination, you may file an online housing discrimination complaint .
The following resources may also help:
Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor if you have questions about your situation.
Adult day care provides care and companionship for seniors who need help or supervision during the day.
Home care programs provide services to those who need some help but do not require constant care.
LongTermCare.gov provides information on the type of care support to look for and general advice on how to find and pay for it.
The Home Health Compare section on Medicare.gov supplies information on local home health agencies, including how well they care for their patients.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides tips for staying in your own home and safely aging in place .
If you’re facing homelessness, these tips can help you get ready for and work through the situation.
Prepare Yourself and Your Family
- Make sure your state ID or driver’s license is current and available. Shelters and assistance programs may have strict ID requirements.
- If possible, store your belongings. Shelters have limits on how much you may bring.
- Arrange for your mail to be delivered somewhere or talk to your local post office. Many have special services for people who are homeless. You may be able to get a free PO box or receive general delivery service .
- Pack a bag for yourself and each member of your family.
- Keep important documents and needed medications with you.
- Dial 211. In most areas of the U.S., this will connect you with local social services and referrals for emergency housing.
- Cost - Most shelters are free, but some may charge a small fee. Most facilities that provide residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs charge a fee. Many, however, are low-cost, accept Medicaid, or operate on a sliding scale based on your income.
- Length of stay - This can vary from a couple of days to weeks or months.
- Types of services - Some facilities just provide safe shelter for the night, while others are transitional. They provide both housing and support services. They may help you with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, or job training.
- Apply for more permanent public or subsidized housing . Typically, there are long waiting lists for public and subsidized housing. Apply as soon as possible.
Homeless Resources for Special Groups
These resources are geared toward specific audiences:
- Homeless Veteran Resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - Use these resources to find safe housing. Or explore opportunities to return to employment, find health care, or get mental health services.
- Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). You can find help 24 hours a day.
- Call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929).
- Housing programs and street outreach - Find stable, safe housing. You can also get education help, survival aid, counseling, crisis intervention, and follow-up support.
People With Mental Illness
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) - Find help if you have a serious mental illness. The PATH program can assist you if you’re homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Other Types of Help if You’re Homeless
Visit Benefits.gov to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for other types of help. This may include financial assistance, transportation, food, counseling, and more.
If you don’t have medical insurance, you can use HRSA health centers . They give checkups, treatment when you’re sick, pregnancy care, and immunizations for your children.
For housing help, contact the following offices:
- To live on private land, contact the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) .
- To live on a reservation, contact a local Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE) .
- Find your state housing counseling agency online or call 1-800-569-4287 .
Native American Housing Programs
- Indian Housing's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) - offers housing and community development programs to ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing for Native American families
- Indian Housing Grant Programs - provide financial help for Indian tribes to develop affordable housing and housing activities on a reservation or Indian area
- Housing Improvement Program (HIP) - provides home repairs, renovations, replacements, and new housing grants
- Tribal Green Building - funding resources from federal, tribal, and state agencies for tribal green building
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers home loans and grants . These programs help service members, veterans, and surviving spouses to buy, refinance, or modify their homes. The VA guarantees part of the loan, meaning they will cover a portion of the loan if you default. Doing this allows lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, to offer you more favorable terms.
Learn if You Are Eligible and How to Apply for a VA Loan
- You must meet the credit and income requirements and get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You must log on to eBenefits for the COE feature to work.
- Reviewing the VA home loan limits will help you understand the amount of the entitlement on your COE.
- Apply for a VA home loan or housing-related assistance . You can apply online, through your lender, or by mail.
VA Loans and Grants for Home Improvements
- If you have a service-connected or age-related disability, you may be eligible for a veteran housing grant . These grants help you modify your home for disabilities related to military service or aging.
- You can get a VA cash-out refinance loan to access money from your home equity. This money can help you pay for home improvements, college costs, and more.
VA Loans for Home Buying and Refinancing
- If you're planning to buy a home, check into the variety of home loans offered by the VA . The most common are VA purchase loans. This type requires no down payment and no private mortgage insurance .
- If you have an existing VA home loan, you can apply for an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) to save money with a better interest rate.
Find programs to help older veterans with a wide range of housing needs. This includes in-home care, assisted living, and retirement homes for veterans.
- Get help finding housing and care in a variety of residential settings . This includes nursing homes, assisted living, and medical foster homes .
- If you need in-home care so you can remain at home, the VA may be able to help. Call the VA Health Care Benefits number at 1-877-222-8387. Or, contact the VA medical center nearest you .
Another option for some military retirees and other veterans is the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) . The AFRH has two locations: Washington, DC, and Gulfport, MS. Both offer recreation and wellness services including assisted living and skilled care.
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Last Updated: January 13, 2023
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A growing number of towns and cities have found a practical solution to homelessness through the construction of tiny-house villages—and housing officials are taking notice.
by Erika Lundahl
On a Saturday in September, more than 125 volunteers showed up with tools in hand and built six new 16-by-20-foot houses for a group of formerly homeless men. It was the beginning of Second Wind Cottages , a tiny-house village for the chronically homeless in the town of Newfield, N.Y., outside of Ithaca.
On January 29, the village officially opened, and its first residents settled in. Each house had cost about $10,000 to build, a fraction of what it would have cost to house the men in a new apartment building.
The project is part of a national movement of tiny-house villages, an alternative approach to housing the homeless that's beginning to catch the interest of national advocates and government housing officials alike.
For many years, it has been tough to find a way to house the homeless. More than 3.5 million people experience homelessness in the United States each year , according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Shortages of low-income housing continue to be a major challenge. For every 100 households of renters in the United States that earn "extremely low income" (30 percent of the median or less), there are only 30 affordable apartments available, according to a 2013 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
But Second Wind is truly affordable, built by volunteers on seven acres of land donated by Carmen Guidi, the main coordinator of the project and a longtime friend of several of the men who now live there. The retail cost of the materials to build the first six houses was somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 per house, says Guidi. But many of the building materials were donated, and all of the labor was done in a massive volunteer effort.
"We've raised nearly $100,000 in 100 days," he says, and the number of volunteers has been "in the hundreds, maybe even thousands now."
The village will ultimately include a common house, garden beds, a chicken coop, and 18 single-unit cottages.
"Camp Quixote" becomes a village
"The typical development for extremely low-income housing is trending up toward $200,000 per unit. That's a lot of bills," says Jill Severn, a board member at Panza, a nonprofit organization that sponsors another tiny-house project called Quixote Village. (The organization's name is a play on Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's sidekick in Miguel de Cervantes' classic novel.)
For five years, the camp's location rotated, moving and reassembling every 90 days at one of several different local churches. Panza was formed by a corps of volunteers from the faith communities assisting the camp, and the organization worked with the city council to secure and rezone a parcel of county-owned industrial land near a community college and create a permanent site for the village. In December of 2013, the residents of Quixote Village settled into their new homes there.
Quixote Village has fostered a positive relationship between its residents and local government and police, says Severn. Despite this, the project was held up in court for a year by a local organization of businesses and landowners called the Industrial Zoning Preservation Association, which cited concerns over the potential impact on local businesses in a nearby industrial park.
Panza used the time to fundraise and build an outreach campaign to win over the public. They had the support of legions of volunteers, mostly from local churches, who had staffed the camp.
"Having hundreds of [residents] get to know people that were homeless made a huge difference in the success of getting this off the ground," says Severn.
Today, the 30 structures that make up Quixote Village are home to 29 disabled adults, almost all of whom qualify as "chronically homeless," by the standards of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The residents also have a common space with shared showers, a laundry, garden space, and a kitchen. By sharing these amenities, the community was able to increase the affordability of the project and design a neighborhood they believed would fit their needs and make them more self-sufficient.
The shared space has also helped them create a supportive community. The residents, who are self-governed, have developed a rulebook that prohibits illegal drugs and alcohol on the grounds and requires that each member put in a certain number of service hours per week. They meet twice a week in the evenings to discuss problems or concerns and to share a common meal that they take turns cooking.
The main complaint right now, says Raul Salazar, the village's program manager and only full-time staff member, is that the postal service still hasn't started delivering mail.
The cost of units at Quixote Village is significantly higher than at Second Wind—about $88,000 per unit—but that's still less than half the cost of the average public housing project, according to Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Quixote has had access to state funding and local community grants, as well as private funding from individuals, businesses, and two Native American tribes. The project also received a Community Development Block Grant for $604,000 from the State of Washington Department of Commerce and a $1.5-million grant from the Washington State Legislature.
Two architecture and design firms, MSGS Architects and KMB Design Groups, also contributed design services pro bono, and the Thurston County Commission is leasing the land to Quixote for $1 per year.
Many other tiny-house projects are just beginning to get of the ground, raise money, find land, and gain approval from local officials and members of the public. But the unorthodox nature of the small houses presents unique legal zoning limitations and barriers that limit where tiny houses can be stationed.
In Madison, Wisc., Occupy Madison has been facing this very challenge, as the group forged ahead with plans for a tiny house village.
In the spring of 2011, prior to the launch of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a series of protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol—focused on the state's controversial anti-collective-bargaining bill—prompted additional legislation that prohibited groups from gathering without a permit. When the protests joined forces with Occupy in the fall of 2011, this created a unique opportunity for the voices of the many homeless people in Madison to be heard.
"There were some great moments throughout the Occupy movement where a lot of dialogue was going on between the people without homes and the people with homes," says Allen Barkoff, one of the board members of Occupy Madison, Inc., a nonprofit formed in December 2012 to address the need for legal places where homeless people in Madison could congregate and stay safe. The organization first looked into buying an apartment building or a shared house for the homeless but ultimately settled on tiny houses as the most flexible and economical way to create homes for people.
In this case, the cost of building the tiny homes comes to around $5,000 each, funded by private donations and an online crowd-funding campaign . The nonprofit also plans to apply for some city grants. Each home will come with a propane heater, a composting toilet, and an 80-watt solar panel array—and will be about 98 square feet in size, 99 if you include the porch. (The volunteers enjoy the joke: "We are the 99 square feet!")
But the question of where the houses can legally be located is still up in the air. Volunteers are now building houses for six people. Because of a recent ordinance change, the houses are allowed to sit on church property in groups of three. City regulations also permit them to be placed on the side of the road, as long as they are relocated every 48 hours. But Madison's snowy winter makes the houses hard to move, explains Barkoff.
Now Occupy Madison, Inc., is in the middle of a lengthy process to purchase a parcel of land on the east side of the city to accommodate 11 houses, along with a central building (a converted gas station) that can serve as a workshop for making more homes. This spring, they will continue to hold neighborhood meetings about the project, talk with police, and work with the Madison Planning and Development Department—and, eventually, the city council—to negotiate zoning issues for the village.
The real cost of homelessness
Efforts to break through the red tape and raise money to house the homeless almost always pay off for a community. Even the most expensive tiny-house projects—such as a new, ambitious $6-million campaign to build a 200-person tiny-house park this year in Austin, Texas—can't rival the cost of homelessness to taxpayers, which was more than $10 million per year in Austin, for example, as YES! reported in December 2013 .
"Chronically homeless people—people who have disabilities and are homeless for long periods of time—can be very expensive to systems of public care," explains Roman. In 2007, the National Alliance to End Homelessness compiled three studies showing that it costs the same or less money to provide permanent housing as it does to allow people to remain homeless. In Denver, Colo., a housing program for the homeless reduced the costs of public services (including medical services, temporary shelter, and costs associated with arrests and incarceration) by an estimated $15,773 per person per year, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Government officials and city planners are beginning to see the tiny-house village as one viable solution for addressing homelessness.
"It's certainly something that we would encourage other communities to take a look at when it comes to creating solutions for housing the chronically homeless," says Lee Jones, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "It's a very important step in terms of the kinds of services we should be providing to people that need assistance."
Currently, the various efforts to house the homeless in tiny-house villages comprise a small and pioneering movement: But each new project helps create lessons and a model for other communities.
For example, Quixote Village, as a recipient of state funding, is considered a "pilot" project: It is required to report its progress to the state legislature in five years. In the meantime, says Severn, the residents will be settling in, putting in garden beds, building a carpentry workshop, searching for jobs, and simply living their lives.
"One of our residents has been homeless for about 25 years," Severn says. "He told me he's excited to start a little rose garden. It really touched me to hear that."
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HHS Programs to Address Homelessness
Ending homelessness requires housing combined with the types of services supported by HHS programs. The delivery of treatment and services to persons experiencing homelessness are included in the activities of many HHS agencies including:
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Centers for medicare & medicaid services (cms), health resources and services administration (hrsa), substance abuse and mental health services administration (samhsa).
Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs Each year, thousands of U.S. youth run away from home, are asked to leave their homes, or become homeless. Through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, the Family and Youth Services Bureau supports street outreach, emergency shelters and longer-term transitional living and maternity group home programs to serve and protect these young people.
Basic Center Program The Basic Center Program helps create and strengthen community-based programs that meet the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth under 18 years old. In addition, BCP tries to reunite young people with their families or locate appropriate alternative placements. Locate a basic center program .
Transitional Living Program for Older Homeless Youth The Transitional Living Program supports projects that provide long-term residential services to homeless youth. Young people must be between the ages of 16 and 22 to enter the program. Services are provided for up to 21 months. Young people who have not yet turned 18 at the end of the 21 months may be able stay until their 18th birthday. Maternity Group Homes for Pregnant and Parenting Youth , which are also funded through TLP, support homeless pregnant and/or parenting young people, as well as their dependent children. Locate a transitional living program .
Street Outreach Program The Street Outreach Program enables organizations around the country to help young people get off the streets. The program promotes efforts by its grantees to build relationships between street outreach workers and runaway, homeless and street youth. Grantees also provide support services that aim to move youth into stable housing and prepare them for independence. The program’s ultimate goal is to prevent the sexual abuse or exploitation of young people living on the streets or in unstable housing. Locate a street outreach program .
Child Support Enforcement Program The Child Support Enforcement Program is a federal/state/tribal/local partnership to help families by promoting family self-sufficiency and child well-being. All States and territories run a child support enforcement program. Families seeking government child support services must apply directly through their state/local agency or one of the tribes running the program. Services are available to a parent with custody of a child whose other parent is living outside the home, and services are available automatically for families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Community Services Block Grant The Community Services Block Grant funds a network of community action agencies that provides services and activities to reduce poverty, including services to address employment, education, better use of available income, housing assistance, nutrition, energy, emergency services, health, and substance abuse needs. Funds are allocated by formula to 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, and state and federally recognized Indian tribes.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Grant Program The Family Violence Prevention and Services Grants Program assists state agencies, territories and Indian Tribes in the provision of shelter to victims of family violence and their dependents, and for related services, such as emergency transportation and child care. Grantees use additional resources to expand current service programs and to establish additional services in rural and underserved areas, on Native American reservations, and in Alaskan Native Villages. The program also supports technical assistance and training for local domestic violence programs and disseminates research and information through five resource centers.
Head Start More than 1 million children ages birth to 6 experience homelessness in the U.S. These children are automatically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These resources include homelessness related eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, attendance (ERSEA) strategies and resources for enrolling and engaging families in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. ACF’s Head Start (with Early Head Start) is a comprehensive child development program that serves children from birth to age five, pregnant women, and their families. It is a child-focused, multi-generational program with the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families. The children of families experiencing homelessness can apply, enroll and attend while documents are collected in a reasonable time frame. Head Start directly serves children experiencing homelessness from birth to five years old and provides children and their families with services related to nutrition, developmental, medical and dental screenings, immunizations, mental health and social services referrals, family engagement, and in some cases transportation. Head Start was reauthorized by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-134). In this reauthorization, age-eligible children whose families are determined to be homeless are categorically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Many Head Start grantees serve families experiencing homelessness through home-based and center-based programs, both of which provide many supportive services to children and families regardless of their living circumstances. HHS issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding eligibility on March 18, 2011. This regulation affirms that the McKinney-Vento definition of “homeless” applies for Head Start eligibility and ensures that no requirements in the regulation create barriers for children experiencing homelessness being served in Head Start.
Social Services Block Grant The Social Services Block Grant program assists states in delivering social services directed toward the needs of children and adults. Funds are allocated to the states on the basis of population. Funds support outcomes across the human service spectrum and are associated with strategic goals and objectives such as employment, childcare, child welfare, adoptions, and youth services. States have flexibility to use their funds for a range of services, depending on state and local priorities. The SSBG is based on two fundamental principles: (1) state and local governments and communities are best able to determine the needs of individuals to help them achieve self-sufficiency; and (2) social and economic needs are interrelated and must be met simultaneously.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a flexible block grant to states, Territories and federally recognized Indian Tribes for use in any manner that is reasonably calculated to accomplish a purpose of the TANF program. Section 401 of the Act sets forth the following four TANF purposes: (1) provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and (4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.
Child Care and Development Fund The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), administered by the Office of Child Care (OCC), is a multi-billion dollar Federal and State partnership that promotes family economic self-sufficiency and helps children succeed in school and life through affordable, high-quality early care and afterschool programs. Subsidized child care services are available to eligible families through certificates (vouchers), or grants and contracts with providers.
Nearly 1.5 million children receive a childcare subsidy from the CCDF program every month. As a block grant, this program offers States, territories, and tribes significant flexibility in designing their CCDF policies, including the ability to define eligibility and prioritize resources. OCC encourages States to leverage this flexibility to offer access to the most vulnerable populations, including families experiencing homelessness.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 has several provisions that specifically benefit children and families experiencing homelessness, including requiring States to:
- Procedures to permit enrollment of homeless children (after an initial eligibility determination) while required documentation is obtained
- Training and technical assistance on identifying and serving homeless children and their families
- Specific outreach to homeless families
- Establish a grace period that allows children experiencing homelessness to receive CCDF services while their families take any necessary action to comply with immunization and other health and safety requirements
- Coordinate CCDF services with early childhood programs serving homeless children
- Collect child-level data on whether CCDF children are homeless
Tribal Home Visiting The Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program provides grants to tribal organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate home visiting programs in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities. It is funded by a 3 percent set-aside from the larger Federal Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Tribal Home Visiting grants are awarded to Indian tribes, consortia of tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations.
The Tribal Home Visiting Program is designed to develop and strengthen tribal capacity to support and promote the health and well-being of AIAN families; expand the evidence-base around home visiting in tribal communities; and support and strengthen cooperation and linkages between programs that service AIAN children and their families.
The goals of the Tribal Home Visiting Program include:
- Supporting the development of happy, healthy, and successful AIAN children and families through a coordinated home visiting strategy that addresses critical maternal and child health, development, early learning, family support, and child abuse and neglect prevention needs.
- Implementing high-quality, culturally relevant, evidence-based home visiting programs in AIAN communities.
- Expanding the evidence base around home visiting interventions with Native populations.
- Supporting and strengthening cooperation and coordination and promoting linkages among various early childhood programs, resulting in coordinated, comprehensive early childhood systems.
Title V, Federal Real Property Assistance Program The Federal Real Property Assistance Program (FRPAP) transfers suitable and available Federal surplus real properties for public benefit at no cost to States, political subdivisions thereof (e.g., municipalities), and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, for homeless assistance purposes. Transferees must use conveyed properties for approved purposes for a proscribed period of years in accordance with key terms and conditions. Eligible programs include supportive services, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing.
Medicaid Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state health coverage program serving low-income families, children, pregnant women, adults without children, and also seniors and people living with disabilities. In FY 2021, Medicaid provided coverage to more than 74.2 million individuals including 22.9 million children, the aged, blind and/or disabled, and people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payment. State Medicaid programs cover health care, behavioral health care and supportive services for eligible individuals.
Children’s Health Insurance Program The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is jointly financed by the Federal and State governments and is administered by the States. Within broad Federal guidelines, each State determines the design of its program, eligibility groups, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative and operating procedures. CHIP provides a capped amount of funds to States on a matching basis. Children began receiving insurance through CHIP in 1997 and the program helped states expand health care coverage to over 5 million of the nation's uninsured children. The program was reauthorized on February 4, 2009, when the President signed into law the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA or Public Law 111-3).
Health Care for the Homeless Health Care for the Homeless is a multi-disciplinary comprehensive program provides primary health care, substance abuse treatment, emergency care with referrals to hospitals for in-patient care services, and outreach services to help difficult-to-reach homeless persons establish eligibility for entitlement programs and housing.
Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant The Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant has three components: formula block grants to 59 states and Territories, grants for Special Projects of Regional and National Significance, and Community Integrated Service Systems grants. It operates through a partnership with State Maternal and Child Health and Children with Special Health Care Needs programs. The Program supports direct care; core public health functions such as resource development, capacity and systems building; population-based functions such as public information and education, knowledge development, outreach and program linkage; technical assistance to communities; and provider training. Most of these services are preventive services that are available to everyone such as immunizations, child injury prevention programs, lead poisoning prevention activities, and newborn screening programs. Activities also include evaluation, monitoring, planning, policy development, quality assurance, training, and research.
Community Health Center Program The Community Health Center Program is comprised of centers that provide health-care services and help ensure access to primary care to underserved populations. Services are provided without regard for a person’s ability to pay. Fees are discounted or adjusted based upon the patient’s income and family size from current Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act (also known as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program), operated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), authorizes funding for the bulk of the agency’s work on HIV/AIDS. Programs are funded through states, disproportionately impacted metropolitan areas, community health centers, dental schools, and health care programs that target women, infants, youth, and families. An increasing number of the people accessing HIV/AIDS services and housing have histories of homelessness, mental illness, and chemical dependency. The HRSA bureau responsible for administration of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), has approached the issue of housing and healthcare access through housing policy development, direct service programs, service demonstrations, as well as in technical assistance and training activities to grantees. According to our FY 2005 CARE Act Data Report (CADR), of the 2,631 providers responding to the question whether they delivered services to special target populations, 1,180 providers indicated that they provided services to persons experiencing homelessness.
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) PATH is a formula grant program that provides financial assistance to states to support services for individuals who are at imminent risk of or experiencing homelessness who have a serious mental illness or co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorder. PATH grants are distributed annually to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each state or territory solicits proposals and awards funds to local public or nonprofit organizations, known as PATH providers. PATH eligible activities include outreach services; screening and diagnostic treatment services; habilitation and rehabilitation services; community mental health services; alcohol or drug treatment services; staff training; case management services; supportive and supervisory services in residential settings; referrals for primary health services, job training, educational services, and relevant housing services; and a prescribed set of housing services.
Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) GBHI is a competitively awarded grant program that enables communities to expand and strengthen their treatment services for people experiencing homelessness who have substance use disorders or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Grants are awarded for up to five years to community-based public or nonprofit entities and funded services include outreach, screening and diagnostic services, treatment, enrollment in mainstream benefit programs, recovery support services, case management, staff training, job training, educational services, and assistance in identification and placement in stable housing.
Treatment for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (TIEH) TIEH is a competitively awarded grant program that enables communities to expand access to treatment for people experiencing homelessness who have a serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbance (SED), or a co-occurring disorder (i.e., a SMI and substance use disorder [SUD] or a SED and SUD). Grants are awarded for up to five years to community-based public or nonprofit entities and funded services include outreach, screening, treatment, peer support, connections to sustainable permanent housing, case management, recovery support services and assistance in enrollment in mainstream benefits.
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) The SOAR program increases access to Social Security disability benefits for eligible children and adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or co-occurring substance use disorder.
Community Mental Health Services Block Grant The MHBG program provides funds and technical assistance to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and all six Pacific jurisdictions. Grantees use the funds to provide comprehensive, community-based mental health services to adults with serious mental illnesses and to children with serious emotional disturbances and to monitor progress in implementing a comprehensive, community-based mental health system.
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) The SABG Program is a noncompetitive formula grant program provides funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, three Pacific jurisdictions, three Freely Associated Compact States, and one tribal entity to plan, implement, and evaluate substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment (e.g., referrals to housing), recovery support services (e.g., linkages to permanent supportive housing; room and board for transitional housing or recovery residences in conjunction with SUD treatment services) and promote public health. Grantees have the flexibility to distribute program funds to units of local government and subsequently to community- and faith-based organizations to deliver SUD prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for individuals and families who need them. The program places emphasis on provision of services for populations of focus and service areas; specifically, persons who inject drugs, pregnant women and women with dependent children, services for persons with or at risk for HIV/AIDS and/or tuberculosis, and individuals in need of primary prevention services.
State Opioid Response (SOR) The SOR program aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment using the three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (OUD) (including illicit use of prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl and fentanyl analogs). This program also supports evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services to address stimulant misuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine. These grants are awarded to states and territories via formula. The program also includes a 15 percent set-aside for the ten states with the highest mortality rates related to drug poisoning deaths.
Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) TOR is a grant program for federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations to address the opioid crisis in tribal communities by increasing access to culturally appropriate and evidence-based treatment, prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. TOR recipients may address client housing needs by providing transitional housing, recovery housing, inpatient/residential treatment, and by providing other direct support to help individuals meet housing needs.
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20 Alternative Housing Ideas for the Homeless
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The shelter is a basic human need, but for millions of homeless people around the globe, it is a luxury that they simply cannot afford. However, quite a few creative people and organizations have come up with ways to provide affordable shelter to those living on the streets.
Although most of these alternative housing ideas are not meant as a permanent solution, they do offer a way for the homeless to escape the harsh elements while sleeping in safety and comfort.
The Cardborigami shelter started out as a prototype by Callison, a global architecture firm, and has since grown into a non-profit organization for helping the homeless.
It is weather-resistant and can handle high winds as well as flames due to its cardboard design, which also makes it light and reusable.
2. Homeless Push Cart
The Homeless Push Card is a creative idea from inventor Paul Elkins.
Despite being relatively small and mobile, his design features a full kitchen, rainwater collection system, and sleeping area. In addition to being secure and watertight at night, the shelter can also be converted into an open space in order to sell wares during the day.
With its sleek design and ability to generate clean energy, the Ecocapsule not only looks futuristic but can be set up anywhere.
It is also surprisingly spacious, and while the initial design is based around setting it up in nature, the creators are also working on creating a version more suited to urban locations.
As it contains a toilet, shower, folding bed, storage, and kitchenette along with a rainwater collection and filtration system, the Ecocapsule is not just a shelter but a home.
4. De Woonfiets
Created by Dutch artist Bas Sprakel, “De Woonfiets” (the Housetrike) is not only designed to provide shelter but mobility as well.
The front section of the bike features a sliding box that opens up into a shelter where a person can sleep protected from the elements. In addition, the box can be used for storage purposes or even deliveries, providing homeless people with an opportunity to earn money as well.
5. Folded Bamboo Houses
Designed by Ming Tang, the folded bamboo houses not only look beautiful but are also constructed from renewable materials.
According to Ming Tang, he came up with the concept after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck central China, leaving millions of people without homes.
Ming Tang also envisioned that the houses could easily be arranged according to the requirements of the dwellers.
6. buBbLe Prototype
Although it is a non-permanent housing solution, the buBble Prototype is designed for easy transportation and to provide all the essential comforts.
This housing alternative features a small kitchen, water hookup, and even lighting, while the plastic bubble skin walls can be filled with any type of material for insulation. It is packed into a compact metal locker and is easy to assemble.
EDAR, which stands for “Everyone Deserves A Roof,” is a four-wheeled unit provided for the homeless by a non-profit organization of the same name.
Maneuvering the sturdy and waterproof unit during the day is easy, and at night it can unfold into a tent-like sleeping structure.
It can be secured with locks to protect the belongings of the owner, and at night the translucent windows provide a clear view of the surroundings.
The Abod Shelters Foundation designed their Abod homes to provide safety and comfort at a low cost.
The structure can be assembled in one day and is also customizable, which makes it easy to personalize.
Moreover, the units can even be connected together if larger home structures are required. Finally, the structures can also be moved if required despite being secure and permanent.
9. Portable Shelter
The portable shelter was designed with the needs of homeless people in mind, which means it is compact, weather-resistant, portable, and can be elevated from the ground.
The shelter is also camouflaged and comes with other protective features. When not in use, it can be worn as a backpack and is made from inexpensive materials.
10. Homeless Haven
The Homeless Haven is designed to look like an ordinary park bench, but thanks to its expanding accordion design, it can become a cozy shelter at night.
The structure uses hinges for stability and can be adjusted by pulling up the top of the bench.
11. Instant Housing
Under the banner of Urban Nomads, Winfried Baumann has created a variety of designs that can provide the homeless with shelter.
His creations are designed to be manageable by a single person and are compact enough to be moved around. In addition, his “Instant Housing” range incorporates small mobile homes that are not only practical and functional but also aesthetically pleasing as well.
To tackle the issue of homelessness, one Bulgarian designer – Georgi Djongarski – came up with the I-Gloobox.
It is made from thick, waterproof material, which provides a warm, dry shelter at night. During the day, the I-Gloobox can be folded up and transported using the wheels attached to its aluminum frame.
Due to its modular design, the I-gloobox can also be repaired with ease when needed.
WheelLY is a concept from the Italian architectural and product design practice, ZO_loft.
It features an aluminum frame that can be rolled for easy transport and folds into two polyester resin tents.
All parts of the WheelLY are made from recyclable or recycled materials, and when rolled around, it also doubles as a storage space for personal belongings.
14. Project GREGORY
Gregory Ad Solution came up with the innovative idea of combining billboard construction with living spaces.
The house looks like an ordinary billboard from the outside, but stairs below the structure provide access to the interior living space.
Using the triangle shape of a billboard, the dwelling is able to provide two rooms, the first with a raised bed and kitchen and the second with a toilet, shower corner, and built-in cabinet.
15. Rolling Shelter
The Rolling Shelter is the idea of Eduardo Lacroze, an architect from Buenos Aires.
It was designed to be a discreet and efficient shelter that is suitable for homeless people, and Eduardo based his idea around using a shopping cart for the core component.
This means the shelter is not only mobile but can also be assembled using just a screwdriver. In addition, the shelter is insulated and weatherproof, with one side folding out into a flatbed.
16. Bus Shelters
One of the proposed ideas for addressing homelessness in Hawaii is to transform the retired city buses into transitional housing.
The City has about 70 buses that were retired due to their advanced mileage, and each will be retrofitted to cater to the specific needs of the homeless population.
Some of the buses will be used for shelter, while others will contain showers or recreational space.
Michael Rakowitz is an artist who approached the problem of providing homeless people with shelter and warmth differently.
He came up with the paraSITE shelter, which is custom-built and inflatable.
The shelter works by attaching to the exterior outtake vents of the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems of buildings. Since it uses only plastic bags, hooks, tape, and polyethylene tubing, it is very cheap to assemble.
Designed by Stephane Malka, A-KAMP47 is his answer to the fact that isolated tents used by the homeless are often exposed to the cold and theft.
Instead of on the ground, the camp is installed vertically along the side of a wall on scaffolding. This not only provides better protection against the wind but also a better sense of community and safety.
Since the camp is located on the wall and not the ground, it also counts as a public space.
19. 1 Square Meter Houses
The One SQM House was invented by German architect, Van Bo Le-Mentzel, who was once a Laotian refugee.
Since he was homeless himself, he knew exactly how important it is for those living on the street to have a sense of owning their own space.
His ONE SQM House is easy to build, and he has made the plans available for free. Although small, the house features a bed, desk, window, and even lockable door.
20. Star Apartments
Skid Row Housing Trust came up with a more permanent solution for the homeless with their Star Apartments building in downtown Los Angeles.
The building was designed by architect Micael Maltzan and has 100 units made out of prefabricated modules.
These modules were stacked at angles, giving the building a very striking appearance. In addition to the rooms, the building also includes an on-site medical clinic, running track, art rooms, library, and community garden.
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Architecture and Homelessness: What Approaches Have We Seen?
- Written by Yiling Shen
- Published on August 15, 2018
In the last global survey undertaken by the United Nations in 2005, there were an estimated 100 million people who were homeless around the world and 1.6 billion who lived without adequate housing. This number has escalated in recent years; unaffordable housing has become a global norm, making it increasingly difficult for the disadvantaged to seek out permanent, or even temporary shelter.
As housing becomes a means of accumulating wealth rather than fulfilling its fundamental goal of shelter, well-intentioned architects have attempted to solve the homelessness crisis through creative ideas and innovative design. But is architecture really the solution?
The causes of homelessness are complex and play into a number of structural factors and individual circumstances. In the large cities of first-world countries, we often see an animosity towards the homeless, a mentality that “they chose this lifestyle,” or misconceptions that homelessness is a result of laziness or lack of responsibility. However, it is an unavoidable fact that with the wealth of first-world countries, homelessness should not be the global issue that it is today. In Melbourne , Australia , 82,724 properties sit vacant as of 2015; a perverse number when we consider the hundreds sleeping rough on the streets and tens of thousands in temporary shelters . The lack of social housing while empty luxury apartments are used as investment properties presents a merciless image of an economic market that favours profit over liveability and governments that sweep the issue under the rug.
Architecture has often gone hand in hand with a sense of social responsibility and desire to improve society through the built environment. Although it is impossible for the issue of homelessness to be “solved” by architecture alone, a reluctance to engage with and design for this issue would represent a failure to interact with the issues of the city and its inhabitants.
Below we explore some interesting concepts for short-term solutions, as well as some ways in which cities are dealing with the problem on a more fundamental level.
Proposals for Temporary Solutions
These proposals focus on short-term solutions for the homeless, from emergency shelters to “hostile architecture" that attempts to push the problem elsewhere.
Emergency shelters allow the homeless to be shielded by the elements and have a safe place to stay for a few nights, but the demand for homeless shelters completely outstrips supply. Many permanent emergency shelters are also designed poorly, having more in common with a prison or hospital than a friendly place to stay. Many emphasise their use as temporary accommodation, which does not resolve the emotions of anxiety and instability associated with homelessness.
In Brussels , canvas tents are banned on the streets as camping is not allowed. The ORIG-GAMI project , conceived by Xavier Van der Stappen, uses foldable cardboard tents to create a temporary solution for those sleeping on the streets. The cardboard is donated by a cardboard factory and its origami foldability allows users to transport them easily while seeking shelter.
Another similar design is the WheelLY Recycled Homeless Shelter by Italian firm Zo-Loft, which consists of a wheel-shaped aluminium frame that can expand into a tent. Its rollable design makes it easy to transport, with a cloth bag holding up to 250 pounds of personal items inside. The side of the wheel can also be used as space for advertising, to reduce cost. It can be expanded half-open to act as a chair, or fully open for sleeping.
Many designs for homeless shelters explore the idea of “parasitic” architecture that latches onto existing structures, an attempt to solve the issue of funding.
Michael Rakowitz’s project “ paraSITE ”, which was exhibited at MoMA in 2005, consists of inflatable homeless shelters that could be attached to an existing building’s exterior vents. The warm air that would exit the vents of the building would then heat up and inflate the parasitic structure. These inflatable shelters were constructed and given to over 30 homeless people in New York , Boston and Cambridge .
The idea has also been explored in many conceptual projects, such as “Homes for the Homeless” by James Furzer of Spatial Design Architects . The project is a series of pods that can be attached to ideally government-owned sites or connected to form a community of structures. Built from affordable materials, the exterior material can also match that of its host building. Furzer is currently developing the design with a private investor to explore the feasibility of the project’s construction and distribution.
New York based Framlab presented a similar scheme just this year. The scheme , which seeks to utilize the unused space found on blank sidewalls of buildings in New York City, would make use of a proprietary 3D printed hexagonal module. It also draws on local history, referencing the city's single occupancy housing that was common in the mid 20th century.
The idea of “parasitic” housing has also been used heavily in French architect Stephane Malka ’s work, filling in the gap between buildings and above rooftops with affordable housing. His project A-KAMP47 constructed a series of camouflage-print tents on the side of a factory wall in Marseille . It acts a critique to the state’s false promises for universal housing, the camouflage print representing society’s desire to hide the homeless from view.
A temporary “solution” used by many cities is the construction of hostile architecture , such as sprinklers or supports in the middle of park benches to deter the homeless. More aggressive examples include anti-homeless spikes outside buildings and under bridges, an attempt to push the problem out of view and out of mind. There is little research to suggest that this is a succesful long-term approach.
A similar, but non-architectural response to the issue of homelessness are one-way bus tickets, used by many US cities. The Guardian covered it in-depth here , finding that 21,400 homeless people were bussed to rural areas in the last 6 years with an agreement to not return. Although some benefited from these “homeless relocation” programs, many were simply faced with the same problems in a different location, with fewer job opportunities and support services.
Proposals for Long-Term Solutions
These proposals explore more long-term solutions to create permanent residences for the homeless.
The recent interest in tiny houses offers a possible solution to homelessness. Many charities are developing solutions involving tiny houses, with the Tiny Homes Foundation in Australia developing a pilot program of 4-6 tiny homes with a common space offering amenities and welfare services.
Another interesting phenomenon is the existence of tiny home villages . The outskirts of Portland, Oregon hold a tiny house village called Dignity Village. Unlike other homeless programs, Dignity Village formed organically and is governed and run by its residents. City and community support in the 2000s allowed Dignity Village to evolve from a tent community to a heated tiny home village with facilities. The key aspect that ensures the success of communities such as Dignity Village is the creation of a framework in which the residents feel like they have support and a relationship with their neighbours.
Tiny houses allow the resident to construct the house themselves, meaning that it can also act as a preventative solution to homelessness, creating the possibly of affordable housing that people can build themselves.
The funding and development of more social housing is crucial in ameliorating the issue of homelessness. In Finland , rates of homelessness have gone down by 35% since 2010, while rates have steadily risen in the rest of Europe and the developed world. This decline is a result of the Housing First scheme, which works by the philosophy that a permanent home is the first step, before subsequently tackling issues of family breakdown or substance abuse that led to the loss of housing. All the emergency shelters of Finland were transformed into permanent accommodation, and with the building of more housing blocks, the scheme created 6000 new housing units for the homeless. This proved to be much more cost-effective in the long-term compared to short-term solutions.
Although more social housing is essential, the development of good social housing is also necessary. A possible reason why Housing First has worked so well compared to other social housing developments is that it is not relying simply on building more houses but also ensuring that they are attached to various support services. Local government support is crucial in its funding and its residents can receive relevant financial and housing advice.
Indeed, the recent collaboration between Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan the Skid Row Housing Trust hints towards what is possible. The recently completed Crest Housing is a stunning project that provides not just living units for homeless veterans but also ample space for social and community programs.
If we analyse the differences between successful social housing and the projects that fail, it becomes clear that although good design is crucial—the elimination of stigmatised, monotonous towers of beige—what is possibly more important is a collaboration with governments and charities to create housing that is socially supported and community-oriented.
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5 Smart Designs Combating Homelessness
By Meaghan O'Neill
On any given night during 2018, some 552,830 Americans nationwide experienced homelessness, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's a tragic statistic, but it's only a slight increase—just 0.3 percent—over 2017. A decade-long trend shows a more positive outlook; overall, homelessness has declined by 13 percent since 2010. An innovative “housing-first” approach, which recognizes the importance of stable housing first and foremost, is partly responsible for the improvement.
While the people experiencing homelessness are, of course, a diverse group, some fundamental needs are shared. Creating a sense of security, privacy, and dignity is always necessary, says Jill Pable, a professor in Florida State University's department of interior architecture and design, who runs the website ( Design Resources for Homelessness ). The best solutions are also participatory, Pable adds. “We must listen to and include these people in the design approach,” she says.
As attitudes toward homelessness have begun to shift (last month, Sesame Street introduced a storyline about a seven-year-old character who no longer has a permanent home), design has, too. “Taking steps to help these people re-enter regular society,” says Pable, should be any designer's end goal. Permanent supportive housing, she notes, is the most successful strategy for helping the homeless get back on their feet. But temporary and emergency shelter plays a role, too. From 3D printed houses to flat-pack sleeping pods to community-based apartment complexes, creative solutions—and hope—are on the horizon.
Commonweal Pods by Reed Watts
Commonweal Pods by Reed Watts.
Designed by Reed Watts as temporary bunks, these sleeping pods are fabricated from standard plywood sheets that fit together with interlocking connections and require no screws, nails, or glue to erect. The pods can stand alone or be fitted together, are easy to disassemble, and provide more privacy and security than a standard mattresses on a floor.
Homes for Hope by Mary and David Martin’s Madworkshop
Homes for Hope by Mary and David Martin’s Madworkshop.
In Los Angeles, where focus and funding prioritizes permanent supportive housing, Homes for Hope has begun to fill a gap for affordable transitional housing. Designed by Mary and David Martin’s Madworkshop with the USC School of Architecture, these 92-square-foot modular dwellings can be installed quickly and inexpensively on unused city land. The stackable units also can be aggregated, then dismantled and reconfigured.
3D-Printed Home by Icon
3D-Printed Home by Icon.
Traditional home-building is fraught with waste, but Icon 's mobile 3D printer can build an 800-square-foot house in less than 24 hours for under $4,000 with nearly zero waste. In collaboration with New Story, a nonprofit dedicated to sustainable building in the developing world (it has also partnered with AD to build homes in Haiti ), Icon debuted its first 3D-printed concrete house in Austin, Texas, last March.
By Maria Sherman
By Katherine McLaughlin
By Tim Nelson
La Casa by Leo A Daly and Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
La Casa by Leo A Daly and Studio Twenty Seven Architecture.
Long-term solutions are critical for a successful transition out of homelessness. La Casa, in Washington, D.C., by Leo A Daly and Studio Twenty Seven Architecture , is a 26,200-square-foot permanent supportive housing project sited among high-density residential developments. Providing housing and supportive services for 40 people in single-person efficiency units, La Casa provides stability for tenants as well as privacy, safety, and community.
Community First! Village
Community First! Village.
This 51-acre hamlet in Austin, Texas, provides affordable, permanent micro-housing and a supportive community for those transitioning out of homelessness. Alongside its array of adorable tiny homes, the village offers community gardens, medical facilities, a movie theater, and a market, but above all, perhaps, it aims to restore hope and deliver dignity.
RELATED: What's Behind the Uptick in Hostile Architecture?
By Lori Keong
By Lauren Gallow
By Nicolas Milon
By Alia Akkam
The purpose of Project Roomkey is to provide non-congregate sheltering for people experiencing homelessness, to protect human life, and minimize strain on health care system capacity. CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP) The CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP) fosters housing stability for families experiencing homelessness.
Housing Choice Voucher Program - This program helps very low income families, seniors, and people with disabilities afford housing in the private market. Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program - This program subsidizes independent living-type apartments for seniors that offer services like cleaning, cooking, and transportation.
Morris + Company designs housing for London's homeless in old tube station Architecture studio Morris + Company proposes transforming a London Underground station into a co-working space and...
In Denver, Colo., a housing program for the homeless reduced the costs of public services (including medical services, temporary shelter, and costs associated with arrests and incarceration) by an estimated $15,773 per person per year, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.
The Transitional Living Program supports projects that provide long-term residential services to homeless youth. Young people must be between the ages of 16 and 22 to enter the program. Services are provided for up to 21 months. Young people who have not yet turned 18 at the end of the 21 months may be able stay until their 18th birthday.
1. Cardborigami The Cardborigami shelter started out as a prototype by Callison, a global architecture firm, and has since grown into a non-profit organization for helping the homeless. It is weather-resistant and can handle high winds as well as flames due to its cardboard design, which also makes it light and reusable. 2. Homeless Push Cart
All the emergency shelters of Finland were transformed into permanent accommodation, and with the building of more housing blocks, the scheme created 6000 new housing units for the homeless....
Long-term solutions are critical for a successful transition out of homelessness. La Casa, in Washington, D.C., by Leo A Daly and Studio Twenty Seven Architecture, is a 26,200-square-foot...