Complex problems like homelessness do not have a set of technical instructions; instead, their solutions lie with leaders’ ability to learn and adapt. This requires localized systems planning and homelessness strategy that can connect systems of care as well as ensure that all organizations and departments addressing homelessness are working together.
The extent to which countries organize work around ending homelessness varies. However, the support of national policies and federal funding allow local actors to improve service delivery systems, strengthen data management systems, and broaden continuums of care.
The best outcome for an individual or family is never to experience homelessness at all. Prevention programs can span a variety of preventative methods, including policies, practices, and interventions that reduce the likelihood that someone will experience homelessness.
It is vital that work concerning the welfare of people experiencing homelessness includes significant input and guidance from those who have lived experience of the issue. They are intimately familiar with many of the issues and hold valuable perspectives about how to tackle them.
Housing policy refers to the actions of government, including legislation and program delivery, which have a direct or indirect impact on housing supply and availability, housing standards and urban planning.
There is no single solution to homelessness, but there are models we know work, and it would be a waste of time and resources for leaders to tackle homelessness without drawing on lessons from countries and cities that have already done so effectively. Success includes naming a clear, measurable target and building a system whose long-term purpose is to end, rather than manage, homelessness.
Some groups are more susceptible to episodes of homelessness than others, and often require unique or targeted interventions. These programs and policies must be culturally adept, or risk clients leaving the program and returning to the street.
Many of the structural factors that cause homelessness are not easy to solve outright, often requiring high-level strategies for addressing homelessness across a system that typically include: a well-coordinated system that plans for outcomes; a citywide strategy that weaves together prevention, emergency response, and housing and supports; and resources to support this work and to provide an adequate supply of safe, affordable accommodation.