A new response: working within encampments

In 2020, for the first time ever, more people in the US were experiencing homelessness on the streets and in cars than in shelters, according to HUD's annual Point-in-Time Count. This clearly called for a new response, to recognise the reality of this situation, and not merely to promote what might be happening instead.

Announcing entirely new funding to meet this challenge, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, who also serves as the chair of USICH, says:

“We have a responsibility to ensure that people sleeping in their vehicles, in tents, or on the streets, including in rural areas, have access to decent, stable housing and services, like health care and treatment, to live with dignity and safety........ With this funding, communities will have the resources to scale up coordinated efforts to humanely and effectively move people from encampments into homes by linking homeless outreach with health care, treatment, and housing.”


Fresh skills for new responses

Reaching out to those in encampments, where there is at least a modicum of safety in numbers, and may even be some degree of peer support, to offer something better  requires new skills in engagement, and a new found respect for the choices these individuals have been able to make. The principles of pre-treatment (HERE) will be especially in demand; but so will be an awareness of the significance of a sense of belonging, however tenuous.

NB: The PIEllnk's founder and first editor, Robin Johnson, had visited several encampments in the US, in the course of a study trip in 2016. His audio and video diaries, along with written observations, may shed some useful light on the dilemmas of change. (For more see: A US road trip: HERE)

Other key issues, pages and documents

HUD statement on Responding to the Growing Crisis of Unsheltered Homelessness and Encampments : HERE

7 principles for addressing encampments : HERE

Pre-treatment : HERE

  • The core skills of engagement : HERE

A US road trip : HERE


American PIE?  HERE

Interim Housing : HERE

  • Reimagining Interim Housing  - Stages and Action Areas for Transforming Approaches to Sheltering People Experiencing Homelessness : HERE
  • Reimagining Interim Housing (supplement): tools for strengthening current Interim Housing programmes and services : HERE
  • (For the full documentation and further links on Re-imagining shelter' : HERE)

Safe Havens; HUD definition and conditions for renewal of HUD funding : HERE

Assistance Animals and Fair Housing - Navigating Reasonable Accommodations : HERE

Housing First and PIEs - how do they work together? : HERE


'One HUD, for all' (2022-26 strategic plan : HERE

Scaling Up Online Tools to End Homelessness : HERE