The National Alliance to End Homelessness has released recommendations for use of the new stimulus funds devoted to homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing.
One of the challenges with prevention programs is that, when these programs are targeted broadly, they tend to run out of money before the end of a grant year. The challenge is to target the funds to those households that are most likely to actually become homeless if they do not receive assistance. The funds last longer, and those housholds that are able to tap into other resources do so.
The NAEH summarizes the factors that communities are using to prioritize:
- Income below 15 percent of area median income;
- Currently experiencing a housing crisis (dangerous conditions, eviction);
- Families with children who are secondary tenants (doubled up);
- Experienced 2 or more moves in the past year;
- Have a young child (under age 2);
- Under age 24 and were in foster care at some point;
- Prior episode of homelessness;
- Eviction from public or assisted housing;
- Experienced domestic violence in the past 30 days;
- Missed 2 or more appointments with a caseworker; and
- Serious mental illness.
These guidelines draw on research about the households most likely to become homeless, so they will be very helpful in designing new prevention and rapid rehouse programs.