Posted by: Liz Curtis, Executive Director, Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness
On Monday, November 16th, a group of homeless service providers, advocates and state agency representatives from across the state came together for a Peer Learning Session in Worcester. The session was part of a technical assistance effort associated with the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness Regional Networks to End Homelessness. Over 80 people attended this workshop and learned about best practices in providing stabilization to households that have transitioned from homelessness to permanent housing. For families and individuals who have recently experienced homelessness, it remains challenging to find long-term stability. Homelessness disrupts a family’s life beyond just the house or apartment. Children often change schools, friends and family might not be as close by, or it may be more difficult to get to work. With community-based partners across the Commonwealth the ICHH is working to support stabilization efforts that create pathways to success.
We heard at the Peer Learning Session that many service providers are finding innovative ways to provide longer-term housing stabilization services for their clients. State and federal funds are being made available so that case workers have the tools they need to help people transition into permanent housing and then thrive in their new homes. Stabilization can include employment and training, helping households access the benefits to which they are entitled, and linking them to other resources in the community, such as health care or child care. Some providers have become experts at housing and stabilizing people who have experienced homelessness for many years. Others are serving families who never imagined before the recession that they would find themselves without a home. While each household will need different types of support, it’s important that we all think creatively and flexibly to get the right resources to the right people at the right time. You can get more information about what’s happening in your area on the ICHH website. You can also join an ICHH Network’s blog and participate in the effort here.