A Sample of Current Initiatives:
Home Works, USA: Young people "aging out" of foster care at age 18 lose their financial benefits, and are at high risk for housing insecurity and homelessness. This pilot community in Lawrence, Kansas will provide affordable housing with essential supports to help launch them safely into adulthood. After the pilot program is evaluated and optimized, it can be launched nationwide to address this growing problem.
National Network to End Family Homelessness: Our network of shelters and providers is now active in all 50 states. Recent achievements include:
- Our Fact sheet on Adverse Childhood Experiences developed with National Healthcare for the Homeless Council has been broadly disseminated to U.S. practitioners.
- Our Health Committee is assessing current screening practices to determine eligibility for housing supports to develop an efficient and comprehensive tool for use by practitioners and clinicians nationwide.
- Our Policy Committee is spearheading education and outreach about the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA or H.R. 2001), bipartisan legislation to broaden the federal definition of homelessness to include families, youth, and children. This will enable a more accurate count of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness to bring them urgently needed resources.
New Reach: Partnering with Yale New Haven Hospital and a community-based shelter in New Haven, Connecticut, this unique program assesses the value of providing comprehensive follow-up services to women experiencing homelessness who have been hospitalized with co-occurring substance use and mental health issues (such as depression, anxiety, suicidality). The project seeks to strengthen housing stability for women after in-patient treatment and prevent their hospital readmission. The Bassuk Center's role is to review project performance, identify effective interventions, and analyze outcomes such as anticipated reductions in costly hospital visits.
Organ Wise Family: Barriers for healthy eating and physical activity for families experiencing homelessness include food insecurity, restrictive shelter policies, shared cooking space, and no place to play or exercise, which all impact physical and mental health. Our innovative, interactive New England-based research project is helping to improve family wellness in shelter settings and reduce health disparities for these vulnerable families.
Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC) is a multi-city initiative that engages policymakers, service providers, and communities in community-driven efforts to understand and address the ways in which racism is a root cause of housing instability. Acknowledging that racial and ethnic minorities experience homelessness in greater numbers and for longer periods, SPARC uses research, public discussions, and training for local leaders in housing, health care, educational, and criminal justice to transform communities and systems.
Training in Trauma Informed Care: Trauma-informed care improves service delivery and outcomes for families experiencing homelessness by recognizing the role of trauma in homelessness, and the many ways in which a shelter or program can properly responds to trauma when serving these families. A recent training for two Family Promise affiliates in New Jersey engaged staff, volunteers, and board members in implementing organizational trauma-informed care. Our goal is to secure funding to bring this training to other Family Promise affiliates nationwide and other service providers.