There is no single face or cause of homelessness.
Homelessness is never “typical.” There is no single face or cause of homelessness. People experiencing homelessness do have shared basic needs including affordable housing, suitable income, food security, and health care. And some people experiencing homelessness may require additional support to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis.
But for everyone, the first step in the journey toward self-sufficiency is a roof over one’s head.
Homeward 2020’s 10-Year Plan
The Ten Year Plan outlines our collective effort and key strategies to build a local system to address homelessness in Fort Collins.
Housing First is an approach that aims to end homelessness rather than manage it. Simply: people experiencing homelessness need — before mental health services, addiction counseling, job training or anything else — a home. A lasting solution to homelessness is permanent housing. Far too often, however, communities work to manage the symptoms of homelessness instead of resolve it. Housing First is simple approach to ending homelessness: provide housing, and then offer supportive community services to help people achieve their personal goals. The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed.
For years, homeless service providers have worked to offer medical and mental health care, addiction counseling, job training and countless other services to people living on the streets. People experiencing homelessness were told they had to earn their way to permanent housing by checking these boxes. While the intentions behind this approach are good, the unfortunate result is that people are homeless for longer while they work through the system, and those individuals with the most severe needs often cannot check those boxes to access housing.
Housing First programs across the nation share critical elements:
- A focus on helping individuals and families access permanent housing as quickly as possible;
- A variety of client-driven, flexible supportive services—such as access to medical care, counseling, job training or employment services, and basic life skills—to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis; and
- Access to housing without preconditions, including sobriety, employment, or adequate credit or financial history.
The vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis that led them to seek help from the homeless assistance system. For these families and individuals, the Housing First approach is ideal, as it provides them with assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions.
Housing First is an approach that aims to end homelessness rather than manage it. Simply: people experiencing homeless people need — before mental health services, addiction counseling, job training or anything else — is a home.
Homeless to Housed
Many types of housing solutions, services and networks are required to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring.
Collaborative data allows Fort Collins to better assess the status of homelessness in Fort Collins and measure progress towards our collective vision. The Point In Time is one slice of a large spectrum of indicators that identify community needs.
John, Currently Homeless
Maggie Walsh, Assistant Chief of Staff, Director Veteran Initiatives, CSU
Jeff Mihelich, Deputy City Manager, City of Fort Collins
Trent, Currently Homeless
Tina, Point in Time Count volunteer
Jacob, Currently Homeless
Buddy, Living in His Truck