Re-Housing the Homeless

As homelessness rises in cities and suburbs across the country, local municipalities are trying to get the newly homeless back into homes as quickly as they can.
February 13, 2010, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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"They're redoubling their efforts on an approach known as 'rapid re-housing,' the idea that the best way to help homeless people is to place them in independent, permanent housing as soon as possible. Rather than providing beds in shelters and mandating counseling or other community services, the rapid re-housing approach is based on a simple notion: The cause of homelessness is the lack of housing. That's it. Help someone secure a home, and they're no longer homeless. All other services - job help, childcare, drug or alcohol counseling - can be dealt with more easily once you've moved into your own home, says Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. 'Homelessness is not a lifestyle,' she says. 'It's a crisis. And we should remedy it as quickly as we can.'"

This "housing first" model is being adopted by cities across the country, though some residents remain skeptical that the investment in permanent housing will have an impact on what seems to be a ubiquitous problem.

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Published on Friday, February 12, 2010 in Governing
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