Engaging Government Leaders in ending homelessness is important because through legislative, regulatory or budgetary authority they significantly impact homelessness.

Create a Plan

Cities and counties across the country have been encouraged by the Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness to create results-oriented 10-Year Plans to end homelessness. Doing this effectively includes convening a wide variety of stakeholders to develop and execute a plan to end homelessness including government leaders, service providers, consumers, philanthropies, and the private sector. Nearly 20 Massachusetts cities and regions have developed plans in the last few years, and along with the Massachusetts Plan to End Homelessness, these help guide the work of the Regional Networks.

Discussion and advocacy

Members of and agency's leadership committee advocate with the legislature regarding the need for funding to end homelessness through meetings, visits and Legislator Forums.

Partnership for Donations and Direct Service

Concerned residents can involve government agencies or buildings (like a town hall or library) in resource development such as clothing or food drives. Another model for partnership to solve the multiple problems that can lead to homelessness is Project Homeless Connect.

"The innovation of Project Homeless Connect fuses political and civic will in a one-day, one-stop array of resources to provide the hospitality and the support to create a trajectory out of homelessness." - National Project Homeless Connect


Good Practice in Profile:

Project Homeless Connect in Springfield

In 2007 and 2008, the City of Springfield in partnership with service providers and faith institutions led a PHC event, becoming the first Massachusetts community to host one. They conducted broad outreach for attendance from homeless and those at-risk of homelessness, over 600 participants attended the most recent event.

Project Description

Service providers and government agencies bring their resources to a single location and offer participants relevant services and benefits. Local businesses donate quality of life services such as haircuts, phone calls, wheelchair repair, eyeglasses, dental, and medical care. Landlords and housing programs have housing available for some consumers the same day and can help people move from shelter immediately.

Throughout the process, consumers are made to feel as comfortable as possible, by holding event in attractive location (i.e. new convention center), sufficient staffing to avoid long waits, food is available throughout the day at a buffet, hosting music and listening to consumer feedback and making changes where needed. Trained volunteers escort consumers from each available resource to another.

It is important to have same day results for the consumer; their quality of life should be improved from the beginning of the day to the end. Other important outcomes are engaging local leaders to focus on solutions to homelessness and increasing public awareness.

Tips
 

  • Developing a planning team is essential. It should be a coalition of municipalities, state agencies, county agencies, universities, hospitals/ health centers, sports teams, faith-based orgs, and non-profits.
  • Put a good amount of effort into developing a floor plan for these events to reduce crowding and choose a location that meets ADA compliance.
  • Involve homeless to help plan PHC event.
  • Make sure that people with regular contact in local homeless community are aware of event and encourage attendance in advance, have outreach teams that go out to engage potential consumers on the day of event.