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Approaches to Ending Homelessness

Has anyone anywhere had real success in "ending homelessness"? It can never be completely eradicated, but one way to think about this is it can get to "Functional Zero."

I have collected some websites that report successful reductions in the number of people who are homeless, especially approaches based on Housing First, which are starred. More info is collected on another Housing First resource page.

***How to End Long-Term Homelessness in Rhode Island. HousingWorksRI Learning Center. 2019.

Was Rhode Island making progress around 2011-2015 on reducing homelessness when it was following recommendations from the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)? Somehow around 2016 USICH dropped off Rhode Island's radar. Why don't we explore USICH's new plan and take advantage of the expertise they offer? Why reinvent the wheel if what they are doing works for states and counties and cities that implement their recommendations? See overview of USICH.

**US Interagency Council on Homelessness, Strategic Plan, December 19, 2022 "Ending homelessness requires an all-hands-on-deck response grounded in authentic collaboration." p. 10.

 10 Strategies to End Chronic Homelessness


Many of the following links are aligned with USICH

National Alliance to End Homelessness: Housing First, March 20, 2022 - Especially note Coordinated Systems Approach

**Community Solutions

A New York Times Magazine article,You Have to Learn to Listen’: How a Doctor Cares for Boston’s Homeless. Lessons from Dr. Jim O’Connell’s long crusade to treat the city’s “rough sleepers,” published online January 5, 2023, refers to Community Solutions:

....O’Connell especially admired the work of an old friend named Rosanne Haggerty. She founded an organization called Community Solutions as a vehicle for helping willing cities and counties toward “functional zero” — defined as “a future where homelessness is rare overall, and brief when it occurs.”

The central tenet behind Haggerty’s strategy held that homelessness was a function of fragmentation among social-service agencies, both public and private. Part of the cure, she believed, lay in creating systems made up of all the relevant agencies in a city or region. These coalitions would share responsibility for each homeless individual within their jurisdiction, making sure that each person was known by name. The system would constantly improve itself through an “iterative cycle” — tackling a problem, studying the results, then doing the job better. Haggerty described the strategy as “a public-health approach — science-based, data-driven, collaborative, prevention-oriented.” By 2018 the organization was assisting dozens of cities and counties, with measurable success. In 2021, the MacArthur Foundation gave the group $100 million to accelerate its work.

O’Connell emphatically agreed with Haggerty when she said that the term “homelessness” failed to capture the complexity of the problem. He agreed with what seemed like her fundamental goal: “Each person we see in the shelters and out on the streets, somebody has to own responsibility for knowing that person and getting them housed.” He imagined that was possible now in many American communities. But he had his doubts when it came to the most afflicted places, and also to Boston, because of its real estate boom: “You could change all the zoning laws in Boston right now and create a more coherent system, and because of the costs it would still take us years and years and years to build enough affordable housing for everyone who needs it....”


 *PathwayMans Housing FIrst

Search - an organization working on ending homelessness in Houston

Evidenced Based Solutions End Homelessness! | Community Rebuilders

Why Should We End Homelessness, And Why Now?   (2017) Pasco, FL

Cities that have solved homelessness

HUD Homelessness Archive

*Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness By 91 Percent; Here's How : NPR 2015

Utah's 2022 Homelessness Report
Utah's 2021 Homelessness Virtual Summit  
Utah's Strategic Plan



Back to Reseach Guide on Homelessness in RI