2012 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness
Vulnerability plus a crisis: the recipe for homelessness. After three years and more of heightened unemployment, crises that families used to weather now leave them in shelters, on the streets, or in a host of unstable housing situations. Youth, on their own or as new parents, are also increasingly vulnerable; unable to attach to the labor market but unsupported by families or the safety net, they are also threatened by homelessness.
The times are challenging, yet those working in the homeless assistance field have pushed back, using the best models to prevent the continued economic downturn from causing mass increases in homelessness. Vulnerability among families grows, but the effectiveness of our response has grown as well. Youth are at increasing risk, but communities are innovating in response. The importance of sharing new and improving approaches to the problems of homeless families and youth is more important than ever. It is for this reason that the National Alliance to End Homelessness will convene leading practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to explore solutions to homelessness among families and youth.
At its National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, people from across the country will gather to share successes and challenges, to learn the results of research, and to understand coming changes in policy, practice, and context. Content will include:
- Implementing rapid re-housing (and maintaining those programs as HPRP funding expires);
- Coordinating with larger “mainstream” anti-poverty programs to multiply impacts, especially by providing help with employment;
- Strengthening families and promoting reunification in order to end homelessness for youth;
- Preventing homelessness for families and youth, including targeting for the maximum impact;
- Getting the most out of the HEARTH Act; and
- Housing families and youth with the most severe challenges, including chronic homelessness.
Together, we have the knowledge and the ability to divert, prevent, and end homelessness. But success will require change, and change is always difficult. Our challenge is to realign resources behind innovative solutions; ensure that we are investing in smart, successful strategies that measurably reduce the number of families and youth experiencing homelessness; and practically improve the lives of poor and low-income people.
As a community, we will come together and make change happen by committing ourselves to our mutual goal of ending homelessness and harnessing the will necessary to persevere through these hard times. This February in Los Angeles, we will rally together as a community of direct service providers, funders, advocates, researchers, policymakers, and innovators to be a force for ending homelessness. We hope you will join us.