NEEDS OF AT-RISK AND HOMELESS FAMILIES NOT BEING MET; LEADERS ANNOUNCE COMMUNITY-WIDE STRATEGY
Solutions for Family Homelessness Plan Involved Participation of More Than 60 Organizations, Seeks to Make Family Homelessness Rare, Brief and Non-recurring; Launch Takes Place During National Family Promise Week
CINCINNATI, OH – October 19, 2015 – Strategies to End Homelessness, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Family Housing Partnership (Bethany House Services, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati, The Salvation Army and YWCA of Greater Cincinnati) announced the release of the Solutions for Family Homelessness community-wide plan.
Similar to the comprehensive community process used to develop the Homeless to Homes plan for homeless individuals, the participation of more than 60 key organizations led to the development of Solutions for Family Homelessness, a collaboratively developed, multi-year plan designed to solve critical issues for homeless and at-risk families. Solutions for Family Homelessness is a plan to identify how we, as a community, can proactively address the needs of families. Recommendations are focused in four key areas – Prevention, Capacity Building, Policy Change and Housing.
“As a team, we have identified three priorities, including expanding homelessness prevention services, offering specialized services for homeless children and targeting existing housing resources toward at-risk and homeless families so that we can minimize the trauma of homelessness,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.
Solutions for Family Homelessness is informed by the analysis of data released in 2014 within the Cincinnati Family Homelessness Services Study.
In 2014, 661 families found themselves living in emergency shelters in Hamilton County. Hundreds more families were turned away without any prevention or shelter services, or found themselves trying to negotiate a system that lacked coordination and the resources to more effectively assist families.
Family homelessness is a complex, multi-faceted issue. Contributing factors include a lack of affordable housing, generational poverty, the challenges of raising children alone, domestic violence and a lack of social supports. As the gap between housing costs and income continues to widen, more families are at risk of homelessness.
Prevention is the most cost-effective strategy to reduce homelessness. St. Vincent de Paul, the largest provider of Emergency Assistance in the region, finds that 89% of families avoid eviction for at least 6 months after receiving an average of $200 of emergency assistance. Shelter Diversion, another prevention strategy, served families that have already lost their own housing at an average cost of $1,126 per person. In comparison, when a person becomes homeless, the cost to serve them rises to $3,032 per person.
The Family Housing Partnership provides shelter for families who have become homeless due to a lack of affordable housing, job loss, domestic violence and other causes. The overall plan will require action in partnership with multiple systems, sectors and providers, more strategic uses of funds, changes in systems and programs and the use of data to drive community improvements. Without effective coordination our community would be unable to determine the most effective ways to assist at-risk and homeless families.
October 18-24 is National Family Promise Week. Across the country, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities coordinate to provide overnight shelter and meals to families in need. To learn more about the local effort, please visit the website of Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati at www.ihncincinnati.org.
The Cincinnati Family Homelessness Services Study and the Solutions for Family Homelessness Executive Summary and Plan are available online at www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org. For more information, contact Kevin Finn, President/CEO, Strategies to End Homelessness at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513.263.2788.