According to a national survey of community providers who work with families experiencing homelessness, only 14% say that housing with no other services can end family homelessness.
The survey, conducted by The Bassuk Center for its report “Services Matter: How Housing and Services Can End Family Homelessness” finds striking consensus about how to end family homelessness. More than 900 service providers participated in the survey from all 50 states. Among the findings:
Providers report that homelessness is increasing for families:
• 85% say family homelessness has increased in their service area over the past two years.
Services are necessary to help families experiencing homelessness:
• 93% agree that most families need services to remain stably housed.
• 95% agree that services should start in emergency shelter and continue into permanent housing.
Assessment of the families is needed:
• 94% agree that each family member should be assessed.
• 96% agree that along with housing and income, assessments should ask about health, mental health, substance use, and trauma.
• 91% agree that assessments should focus on the wellbeing of the children.
Solutions must address trauma:
• 88% agree that trauma in the lives of mothers experiencing homelessness is a common cause of family homelessness.
• 80% agree that many of the mothers have experienced physical and sexual abuse.
• 93% agree that addressing trauma must be part of the solution.
• 95% agree that services for the families should be trauma-informed.
Mental health issues must be addressed:
• 91% agree that mental health and substance use must be part of the solution.
• 80% agree that depression requiring treatment is present in many of the mothers.
The children are struggling:
• 71% agree that most children experiencing homelessness have difficulty attending school regularly.
• 69% agree that many of the children are unable to keep up with their homework.
• 70% agree that many of the children have behavioral problems.
Services are essential for an effective response:
• 97% agree that that education, job training, and income supports are necessary for many of the mothers to remain stably housed.
• 98% say case managers should make referrals for mental health and substance use treatment.
• 97% agree that providing parenting supports improves outcomes for children.
The Bassuk Center supports communities as they provide stable housing, wellness, and opportunity for marginalized families, children, and youth. By focusing on trauma and mental health, our solutions stabilize vulnerable people in their communities, and promote healthy child development.