A strategic re-framing of US homelessness policy

A strategic re-frame of US homelessness policy

In December 0f 2022 HUD, the US federal government depart responsible for homelessness policy and funding, issued new guidance on homelessness and what they proposed to call ‘Interim Housing’ (HERE)

This document announces a significant re-frame of homelessness thinking, to recast the issues in terms of public health (HERE); and so to locate the heart of the problem not so much within the homeless individual and their immediate needs, as in the wider systemic origins of the homelessness trajectory (HERE).

The underlying commitment to the values and precepts of Housing First remains un-diluted, as the strategic goal. But the new HUD policy - for the first time in many years - now accepts that there may also be a valuable role for a far wider range of responses, including ‘interim’ housing; and sees the possibility of significant improvement in the way these other services operate.

This evidently reflects the emerging vision of a new director, Jeffery Olivet (HERE) who had been one of the authors of ‘Shelter from the Storm (here), the ground-breaking paper that firmly locate/anchored homelessness, alongside so many other services, within the sphere of Trauma Informed Care

Meanwhile there have been other issues that clearly needed addressing – most notably a concern for greater racial sensitivity and equality in provision. Similarly, a few years earlier, the opioid crisis in the US had forced a revision of HUD’s position on recovery housing  here) for those with significant addiction issues compounding mental health. There were comparable adjustments made to allow for women’s refuge, where here too there was some evident value in safe housing with an emphasis on peer and group support.

At local level, meanwhile, where services were not dependent on HUD funding alone, a wider range of responses and funding streams was always possible, a patchwork of provision still exists, as determined by local perceptions of what is valuable.

In endorsing the principle of improving quality responses in this far wider range of provision,  HUD then offers (link) a somewhat bewildering range of ‘good practice’ endorsements, each relevant to a specific sector or services type.  There is as yet no single unifying message or vision or operationalizing guidance, beyond the broader principles of TIC and the strengths model.

At this stage it is not yet possible to assess – either on one page, or even on one site – how far the unifying concepts of the PIEs approach and framework (HERE and elsewhere on this site) may prove useful here, as they have in the UK.


Key links

Key texts

'Transforming Approaches to Shelter' : COMING SOON

Interim Housing : HERE

Recovery Housing in the US and UK : HERE

Safe havens and residential care homes : COMING SOON

Housing First as a PIEs approach : HERE

Clubhouse, campus and core-and cluster models : COMING SOON

Encampments : HERE

Outreach, in-reach and pathways: HERE

Whole systems evaluation and the public health paradigm : HERE

A PIE of pathways : HERE


Related PIElink pages currently being revised

Recovery housing in the US and the UK : HERE

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

Housing models, Housing First and PIEs in the US and the UK : HERE

Housing First and PIEs in Europe : HERE

"Cross-cultural Dialogues in Homelessness' (book launch) : HERE

Trauma Informed Care and PIEs : HERE

The core skills of engagement : pre-treatment : HERE

Outside/outreach : HERE

A US road trip : HERE

A PIE of pathways : HERE