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Housing the Homeless

Central Houston works closely with the Mayor’s Special Assistant for Homeless Initiatives on “The Way Home” campaign to provide a seamless system of housing and services for veteran, chronic, family and youth homeless.

Goals of The Way Home are:

  • End chronic homelessness by 2015
  • End veteran homelessness by 2015
  • End family homelessness by 2020
  • Set a path for ending all homelessness

In 2015, Houston became the first major US city to effectively house homeless veterans. Houston anticipates housing about 1200 homeless veterans annually.

The success of Houston’s recent efforts is the result of systematically transforming the homeless response system.  Today the City, County, Federal Government, Coalition for the Homeless, Central Houston, Downtown District, the private sector, philanthropic community and nearly 70 different, local homeless service providers are all working together as partners on a regional, comprehensive initiative, known as The Way Home.  Like never before, the system is working together by combining its resources and efforts in a targeted fashion to achieve transformational results.

The year’s preliminary report of the annual point-in-time count in late January shows an estimated 50% reduction in homelessness across the Houston, Harris County, and Fort Bend County region January 2011 to January 2015.

This is reduction is consistent with efforts over the last three years to rapidly return homeless veterans and their families as well as chronically homeless individuals and families to permanent housing.

In January 2015, partners launched a new model of rapid rehousing for families. Public and private funders have braided over $5 million in resources to rapidly rehouse about 1000 families each year. This new model is designed to provide an average of six months of financial assistance and housing stabilization case management resulting in greater than 80% housing stabilization rates. Similar methods were used to rapidly rehouse homeless veterans and their families with success. This puts Houston on pace to end family homelessness by the federal goal of 2020.

The Mayor’s team and the Coalition for the Homeless have submitted, along with Central Houston Civic Improvement, a grant application to the National Center on Employment and Homelessness. This grant will fund the development of a systematic employment process designed for individuals on the edge of homelessness due to lack of income.  Working in this space is challenging.  There are no existing models for this population.