Since the beginning of contemporary homelessness over three decades ago, numerous studies have constantly demonstrated that permanent housing initiatives are beneficial and cost-efficient in eliminating homelessness. Most efficient housing-connected solutions intended to tackle homelessness were invented in New York City and have now been mimicked worldwide, especially permanent supportive housing for the differently-abled (Eisenberg, 2018). Long-term housing support effectively wipes out homelessness, but it is also less costly than sheltering and other care facilities, as per several investigations. This paper will cover some critical initiatives adopted to combat homelessness and critically evaluate the assessment data to determine the most effective implementation tactics. Finally, I’ll suggest which projects or initiatives should be funded and supported long-term.
Principal Programs That Have Been Implemented
Various initiatives have been demonstrated to minimize low-income families and people from becoming homeless. Eviction-prevention subsidies are one beneficial solution for aiding renters who are in danger of becoming homeless to pay their bills and stay in their residences (Brennan et al., 2020). Many of our nearest neighbors are on the threshold of homelessness as rentals keep going up and earnings for low-wage employees stay the same. Many tenants are low-income folks who have trailed behind on their rent owing to unanticipated health bills, an emergency, or absence from work. Offering financial aid for rental dues enables families on the verge of becoming homeless to stay in their houses.
Federal Housing Assistance
Since the 1930s, the government has been active in giving housing aid to low-income families. Initially, the government aided the housing market by encouraging the building of low-cost housing projects for low-income families via local public housing agencies (PHAs) (Hoffman, 2018). The government has changed its focus from building-related subsidies to rental-based subsidies, with housing investors and landowners getting more involved. Rental housing help, state and local government, and homeowner assistance are the three primary federal housing assistance programs currently available. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is in charge of most of these initiatives.
Housing First is a method of assisting homeless individuals. It acknowledges that before bolstering, enhancing the quality of life, lessening negative habits, or increasing wages, a homeless individual should first be able to access a suitable, secure environment that does not constrain the duration of stay. A homeless person should be linked to a permanent home as soon as feasible under the Housing First strategy, and initiatives should eliminate deterrents to receiving housing, such as sobriety standards or the lack of criminal past (Tsai, 2020).
It is founded on the “hierarchy of need,” according to which individuals must first have fundamental requirements, such as a secure home and proper food, before they may attain wellbeing or seek desired aspirations. Lastly, Housing First emphasizes the importance of freedom, not just regarding where to reside but also in whether or not to engage in activities (Watson et al., 2019). As a result, residents are not forced to participate in programs to get or keep their accommodation.
Legal Representation in Housing Court
Another successful way to minimize homelessness is to offer low-income tenants legal aid in housing court. Housing courts and the law process may be scary, especially for people trying to earn a living. Over 90% of renters in housing courts in New York City do not have legal assistance, but nearly every landlord has. In housing courts, initiatives that give low-income renters made homeless legal counsel have proved beneficial and cost-efficient. Most tenants who get aid from these legal services organizations can stay in their houses and evade the expensive shelter system.
Permanent Supportive Housing
Permanent supportive housing (PSH), also known as supported housing, is a type of housing that connects subsidized housing with adaptive, volunteer supporting programs that enable persons with disabilities to keep permanent housing and live effectively in society. Individuals who are disabled and homeless for longer timeframes or often very susceptible due to chronic impairments are often targeted by PSH. It aims to eliminate their homelessness and promote their wellness by guaranteeing that they are housed permanently. PSH has been an excellent approach for those having trouble getting and keeping secure housing. As the idea of PSH has grown, more attention has been put on ascertaining that it reaches the most vulnerable individuals, keeps minimal entrance barriers, and provides renters with similar tenancy rights as any other renter.
Most Successful Implementation Strategies
Federal Housing Assistance
Another effective housing-related option for minimizing homelessness is federal housing programs. Public and federal housing vouchers are the two primary federal housing solutions (Mazzara & Knudsen, 2019). Homes vouchers enable low-income families to rent moderate market-rate housing of their preference while also offering an adaptable grant that fluctuates with their earnings progressively. Based on research, public housing and federal housing vouchers help alleviate familial homelessness and keep these families out of the homeless community (Zafari & Muennig, 2020).
Permanent Supportive Housing
Permanent supportive housing has recently been demonstrated to be a practical and cost-efficient approach to the homelessness problem. People living with mental disorders or other significant medical conditions may profit from the supportive housing approach, which integrates inexpensive housing with vital support services. Moreover, based on numerous literature reviews, permanent supportive housing is less expensive than other urgent and institutionalized support types. The landmark “New York/New York Agreement,” which has been revisited twice, perfectly illustrates a permanent supportive housing strategy that has substantially minimized homelessness worldwide (Mercer, 2021).
The “housing first” program for street homelessness, which draws on the effectiveness of permanent supportive housing, was launched in New York City and is currently mimicked worldwide. Constant street homeless individuals are moved straight into subsidized housing and then connected to support services, whether locally or in society, following the “housing first” program. The large bulk of these homeless individuals has mental illness, drug misuse, and other significant medical issues. According to surveys, most constant street homeless persons who move into “housing first” homes stay stable and make reasonable progress in their medical complications. The “housing first” program, similar to permanent supportive housing, is essentially less expensive than urgent and standardized care, like hospitalizations and correctional institutions.
Programs That Deserve Funding and Should Receive Ongoing Support
Federal housing aid is one program that needs financing and should be supported. The creation of housing trust funds by states and local governments can help to encourage affordable homes. To build a pile of cash for affordable housing, these trust funds can employ designated revenue streams like document recording charges or real estate transfer taxes. By having a committed stream of money, trust funds may be less vulnerable to the whims of state finances than other methods of financing home projects.
Inclusionary zoning can help states and local groups encourage affordable housing (Pramod, 2019). Under this technique, housing builders must set aside a proportion of their units for affordable housing. In return, states or local governments provide incentive programs to builders, allowing them to extend or accelerate progress. Housing First is another initiative that I feel requires support and funding. On average, tenants who participate in Housing First initiatives utilize services more frequently, have a stronger feeling of freedom, and are significantly less expensive to public institutions than tenants who participate in other endeavors.
The growing housing affordability disparity is the root source of homelessness. In recent years, massive amounts of affordable rental housing units have been lost globally, resulting in a significant widening disparity. Simultaneously, as housing affordability has deteriorated, governments across all levels have curtailed housing aid for low-income individuals and investments in constructing and preserving affordable homes. Lastly, the reduction of rent control rules, which assist maintain nearly 50% of all rental flats inexpensive, has hastened the decline of housing affordability. To narrow the housing affordability disparity in the United States, the federal, state, and local governments must considerably expand expenditures on affordable housing units, with a large amount of the funds going to homeless persons (Boyack, 2019). Likewise, improving rent restriction legislation will safeguard renters and promote affordable housing, enabling them to stay in their houses.
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Brennan, M., Sahli, E., Elliott, D., & Noble, E. (2020). Breaking the Link between Hardship and Eviction.
Eisenberg, A. (2018). New histories of homelessness. Reviews in American History, 46(2), 319-323.
Hoffman, S. M. (2018). Strengthening Public Housing Agencies: Why It Matters. Issue Brief, 1.
Mazzara, A., & Knudsen, B. (2019). Where Families With Children Use Housing Vouchers. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3.
Mercer, E. (2021). New York City Housing Authority: The Case of NYCHA Lehman Village Houses (Doctoral dissertation, Fordham University).
Pramod, S. (2019). “Affordable” housing in New York City: A case of inclusionary zoning in Greenpoint-Williamsburg.
Tsai, J. (2020). Is the housing first model effective? Different evidence for different outcomes. American Journal of Public Health, 110(9), 1376.
Watson, J., Fossey, E., & Harvey, C. (2019). A home, but how to connect with others? A qualitative meta‐synthesis of experiences of people with mental illness living in supported housing. Health & social care in the community, 27(3), 546-564.
Zafari, Z., & Muennig, P. (2020). The cost-effectiveness of limiting federal housing vouchers to use in low-poverty neighborhoods in the United States. Public Health, 178, 159-166.