Homeless Shelters are run and supervised by programs, usually by the US government that aims to help individuals and families who need a place to live or those who could not find affordable housing for their family or for themselves.
Homeless Shelters in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Based on recent studies, people who are suffering from homelessness are more at risk of COVID-19 infection. Due to this ongoing pandemic, the government included housing programs at the top of the priority list.
In fact, some programs have expanded and improved to cover a larger scope of needy individuals or families. Additionally, the absence of stable housing results in poor health for individuals both physically and mentally. To know more about homeless shelters, read this article further.
Types of Housing Programs
There are a lot of organizations and government sectors that offer services to homeless individuals. Usually, their services include the following:
This service primarily offers shelter for individuals or families who need emergency shelters or assistance with housing expenses. Organizations like the Salvation Army USA offer this kind of service to people who came from different states.
Although there are areas where the program cannot provide services, members will still be financially assisted and the program will coordinate with existing housing programs in the area.
Transitional housing offers services to people who are suffering from housing crises such as chronic or temporary homelessness, substance addiction, domestic abuse, and other existing factors. Transitional housing provides temporary lodging, food, and resources needed for re-establishing permanent housing.
Permanent Supportive Housing
This service includes long-term housing assistance for the elderly, young adults, adults, and families. Mainly, it helps in maintaining affordable housing by giving financial assistance to those with fixed incomes or those who are near the poverty line. Further, this service also prioritizes families who want their children to have a healthy, safe, and clean home to grow up in.
Aside from temporary or long-term shelters for homeless individuals, programs like the Salvation Army also provide counseling and educational support for homeless individuals to help them get ready to re-establish their life stability.
Not only that, but Salvation Army also reassures its members that even after securing permanent housing, they will still provide emergency assistance when needed.
Although housing programs are guaranteed to be effective and helpful in reducing the percentage of homeless people throughout the US, early intervention or homeless prevention strategies are proven to be better techniques in addressing issues of homelessness.
It is mainly because the longer the individual is homeless, the less chance that this individual can re-establish permanent housing. Whereas, if it will be prevented before it happens, it will be easier to address the issue. Thus the following are effective strategies or programs that help prevent homelessness:
Food Stamp Programs Or Free Breakfast And Lunch In School Institutions
These programs help in the assistance of food expenses for children, the elderly, or other qualified individuals. These programs help individuals in regulating housing fees by sharing the expenses for other essentials, particularly food.
This refers to a process wherein a case manager is responsible for monitoring the client’s housing needs and providing the necessary resources such as health insurance, childcare services, medical services, food, and clothing.
Housing Trust Fund
This is a program that helps provide affordable housing throughout the US. Basically, programs like this provide grants to qualified states. These grants are used to produce cheap and affordable housing needed by low-income individuals or households.
If you were recently released from institutional care like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers, or prisons, you must have a discharge plan. This includes identifying your possible needs after you get discharged like housing, food, or health care. This is planned and assessed with the health care providers and the family.
This strategy helps individuals find government benefits that they might qualify for like food stamp programs, Medicaid, housing assistance, or the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).
Examples of Available Housing Assistance Programs
Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless assistance program: This program primarily helps individuals or families suffering from homelessness by providing transitional or permanent housing for them.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for housing assistance, one must be homeless or on the verge of being homeless.
- How to Apply: You can apply through your state’s administering agency. Go to the hud official website.
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH): This is a federal program that aims to help individuals or families who are suffering from homelessness or near homelessness especially those who have a mental illness.
PATH primarily grants funds to states or territories which are intended for funding organizations focused on helping homeless people.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for this program, one must be homeless or on the verge of being homeless. At least one family member should also be suffering from a mental illness to be qualified.
- How to Apply: To apply, you can search for programs or services that are funded by PATH. Visit SAMHSA's official website for more info.
Runaway or homeless youth shelter and support: This is a program specifically available in New York which prioritizes homeless youth under the age of 21 years. The services provided by this program are supervised and funded by the Department of Youth and Community Development or the DYCD.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for this program, one must be homeless under the age of 21 years. Additionally, pregnant women and women with children under the age of 21 can also avail themselves of shelter programs as well as residential programs.
- How to Apply: To know more about the details on how to apply, you can contact your state’s local agency.
Want to Donate Instead?
The Salvation Army organization accepts donations from charitable individuals or other organizations. If you have the heart and intention to give, there are available options on how you would want to donate:
- Donate money: you can donate any amount you intend to give to the Salvation Army. You may choose to give a monthly donation or a one-time donation.
- Donate foods and other essentials: To donate essentials like food or clothing, you can visit your local Salvation Army shelter.