Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, provides a national framework for improving our response to homelessness. The plan emphasizes both prevention and rapid exit from homelessness into stable housing. Some communities are characterizing the optimal system as one that makes homelessness, when it happens, rare, brief, and a one-time occurrence.
Two specific best practices that have emerged in furtherance of the plan are housing strategies for specific populations:
- Permanent supportive housing for households that are chronically homeless or very vulnerable; and
- Rapid rehousing for homeless families with children.
The Hampden County CoC has embraced these best practices, and has been engaged for a number of years in shifting our resources away from less proven models to these successful strategies. We have taken another step forward today, as we have just submitted our application for almost $3 million in FY2014 funds for local agencies addressing homelessness.
The funding we have applied for will support local agencies in providing permanent supportive housing for 216 chronically homeless households, 8 units of transitional housing for homeless youth, and 17 units of rapid rehousing for families. The charts above illustrate how our funding requests have changed over the last three applications to put greater emphasis on permannent supportive housing and rapid rehousing. The increases in blue and red over years show the way our funding mix is shifting to what is proven to work.