Houston Could End Homelessness With Less Than 2,000 Housing Units

Houston's homeless response program has yielded strong results in the last few years. Just 1,900 new affordable housing units could 'effectively end' homelessness in the city.

2 minute read

December 2, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Houston, Texas

Jez Campbell / Shutterstock

In an article published by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Mike Nichols, president and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, outlines the success the city has had in reducing homelessness and the steps necessary to "effectively end" it. According to Nichols, the three-county homeless response system known as "The Way Home" has placed more than 24,000 people into housing since 2012. Of people housed in the last two years, more than 90 percent have maintained stable housing.

Nichols attributes the success of the program to several factors, including:

collaborative leadership and buy-in among local elected officials and local direct service provider agencies; a strong reliance on good data to drive decision-making; and an emphasis on prioritizing the most vulnerable for access to those programs first. We follow Housing First, a nationally recognized best practice that involves providing housing to people with no preconditions (e.g., sobriety) and then offering voluntary supportive services to help them maintain their housing.

Nichols points to strong investment in permanent, supportive housing as a key driver of Houston's success, but asserts that "we urgently need more one-bedroom, all-bills-paid apartment units to continue to house our clients." The Coalition estimates that the city needs 1,900 new affordable housing units to provide housing for all who need it.

Nichols concludes by highlighting the need for "available, safe, and affordable market-rate apartments" as a crucial tool for agencies working to help people who are unhoused.

Monday, November 29, 2021 in Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Close-up of hand holding up wooden thermometer in front of blurred street

New Forecasting Tool Aims to Reduce Heat-Related Deaths

Two federal agencies launched a new, easy-to-use, color-coded heat warning system that combines meteorological and medical risk factors.

31 minutes ago - Associated Press via Portland Press Herald

View of Dallas city skyline with moderately busy freeway in foreground at twilight.

AI Traffic Management Comes to Dallas-Fort Worth

Several Texas cities are using an AI-powered platform called NoTraffic to help manage traffic signals to increase safety and improve traffic flow.

1 hour ago - Dallas Morning News

View from back of BART Police SUV driving down street in San Francisco, California.

Podcast: Addressing the Root Causes of Transit Violence

Deploying transit police is a short-term fix. How can transit agencies build sustainable safety efforts?

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.