Showing posts with label CoC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CoC. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Permanent Supportive Housing

Now this is a real thing - "permanent supportive housing" is the name (or description) of the services given to chronically homeless people who are participating in a "Housing First" program.  Whenever chronically homeless people are placed in a "Housing First" program, they are NOT then abandoned and expected to figure the rest out by themselves.  (Some critics of 'Housing First" will accuse the program of this very thing, of abandoning the homeless once they are housed, but it's just not true.)   When I was accepted into a "Housing First" program, I was introduced to the team of case managers who would be assisting me, before I was ever placed in housing.  Actually it was this team who secured my SRO for me.  And this took some time.

This team of case managers, along with my SRO, comprised my permanent supportive housing.    This sometimes goes by other names as well - Wrap Around Services - Continuum of Care - although they are not always so "permanent".   The "permanent" part is necessary for the care of chronically homeless people because it has been determined that the chronically homeless will never possess the skills necessary for truly independent living - without this care they will most certainly return to the streets.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - McKinney-Vento Act

The McKinney-Vento Act was created in 1987 in response to pressures on the federal government to respond to the nations growing homeless crisis.

Congress passed the Homeless Person's Survival Act legislation in 1987.   After the chief Republican sponsor of the bill died, the Act was renamed for him - the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act.  In 2000, when the Democratic supporter of the bill passed away his name was added.  It remains today as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  It is still the only major federal response to homelessness.

   There are nine sections to this legislation:
  • Title I - findings about homelessness are given, justifying the creation of the Act.  A definition of homelessness is included.
  • Title II - establishes the creation of the USICH
  • Title III - establishes the Emergency Food and Shelter Program through FEMA
  • Title IV - creates emergency and transitional housing programs through HUD.   It also establishes the Supportive Housing Demonstration Program, Supplemental Assistance for Facilities to Assist the Homeless, and Section 8 Single Room Occupancy Moderate Rehabilitation.   (NOTE: These three programs were consolidated in 2009 to form the CoC by way of the HEARTH Act.)
  • Title V - obligates federal agencies to identify unused federal property and to make that property available to state and local governments and non-profit organizations for assisting the homeless.
  • Title VI - authorizes the Department of Health and Human services to provide health care and mental health services to the homeless.
  • Title VII - authorizes educational and job training assistance to the homeless.
  • Title VIII - amends the food stamp program to facilitate participation by the homeless.
  • Title IX - extends the Veterans Job Training Act to the homeless.
 From the National Coalition for The Homeless website -
 Also in 1986, the Homeless Housing Act was adopted. This legislation created the Emergency Shelter Grant program and a transitional housing demonstration program; both programs were administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Continuum of Care (CoC)

The term "Continuum of Care" comes from the health care industry.  It is used to describe the type of services required by people needing a variety of services over a long period of time, such as people suffering from cancer.  For people suffering from homelessness, the Continuum of Care would include getting a homeless person into a Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) apartment, making sure they have food and other necessities, and then arranging services for them such as addiction rehabilitation, mental health therapy, employment, etc., leading up to the point of self sufficiency.  Often you'll hear this referred to as "wrap-around services".   I have also heard mention of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (see the above image) as the impetus of this approach.   Basically, each human need requires a foundation of other needs already met, starting with physical needs, achieving those, and then moving up the list, one level at a time.   A feeling of security cannot be achieved if the physical needs have not been met.   A sense of belonging cannot occur until one has achieved a level of security, etc.

In 2009 the McKinney-Vento Act was amended with the HEARTH Act.  Among other improvements to the governments response to homelessness, the Hearth Act consolidated three previous HUD homeless assistance programs, repurposed them, and gave it the name, Continuum of Care Program.  HUDs CoC Program is a competitive funding source for those communities that are implementing CoC strategies in dealing with homelessness.    If on inspection HUD determines that a community is moving in the right direction in improving services to the homeless, HUD will award funding to help pay for these improvements.  Learn more about HUD's
Continuum of Care.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Homeless Management Information System
Everything about homelessness in the U.S. is changing.  People are no longer satisfied with "business as usual", so effort is being put into developing better ways of dealing with homelessness.  And this effort is paying off.

Still, there is some resistance to this change, and I'm sure it will take some time for everyone to come around.  Homeless shelters and other facilities have been doing things a certain way for many decades, it will be difficult for them to adapt to the new.

Most resistance comes from faith based organizations because their religion is tied together with the homeless issue.  Wherever this happens, it will be important to untangle the knot that was created in faith based homeless facilities, so to be able to move forward.

Just don't get me wrong on the issue of homelessness and religion - if your faith moves you to provide help to the less fortunate, that's a good thing.  The trouble starts when people begin justifying homelessness with religion, or religion with homelessness.  It is wrong - no, actually it's an outright lie - to say that god makes people homeless, or that the only way out of homelessness is through converting to a religion.   I have heard such things said in faith based homeless facilities countless times.  It's just not true.

But, I digress.

A big part of the change coming to the homelessness industry is a higher level of accountability.  It used to be that homeless facilities tried to hold the homeless accountable for their actions, but now the homeless facilities themselves are being held accountable.   No longer will be society be satisfied with the status quo regarding homeless shelters.    Society wants to see progress being made.  Society now wants to see homelessness come to an end.  And society expects the homeless facilities, that they have been supporting for many years, to lead the way.

To that end, the Homeless Management Information System, (HMIS) was created.   It is basically a databank which stores generic information about progress made by the homeless. The HMIS lets interested parties know current trends within homelessness and whether or not facilities are reaching certain goals.   If you are interested in doing more for the homeless than just handing out bag lunches,   you'll want to get yourself connected to an organization or facility that participates in the "Continuum of Care Program" which reports to the HMIS.