Addressing the Root Causes of Homelessness

In a time of uncertainty for America’s social safety net, programs like Solutions for Change located in San Diego, CA offer a ray of hope for homeless families.

A recent article in the “Opportunity Lives” section of highlights the work of this San Diego nonprofit that is making family homelessness a thing of the past. Since its inception in 1999, the organization has helped more than 800 families, including more than 2,000 children, permanently end their homelessness.

Solutions for Change provides support that goes deeper than emergency or short-term assistance. Instead, it uses a “transformational housing model” that provides a wide range of services to address root causes of homelessness – from financial instability to mental health issues, to addiction and more. Transformational housing provides the supports to ensure that families have the job skills, job placements, parenting assistance, mental health supports, financial management, personal accountability and other skills to survive solidly in their own homes and avoid any repeat experiences with homelessness. Participants attend “Solutions University” for up to 1,000 days, get on-the-job training at businesses run by Solutions for Change, pay rent for their housing, and give back to the community as soon as they are able.

For this organization, programmatic success is measured by the number of families who stay permanently out of homelessness, rather than those who receive short-term assistance.  Solutions for Change’s success model is important because it makes their client’s independence the measure of success for both families and their program.

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) is proud to partner with A Place 4 Me (AP4M), cross-sector initiative that harnesses the strengths and resources of its partners to prevent and end homelessness among young adults age 15 to 24 in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County. A Place 4 Me is a collaboration led by a steering committee consisting of the YWCA Greater Cleveland; Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, including the Division of Children and Family Services and the Office of Homeless Services; FrontLine Service; the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative; and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.  AP4M secured housing for 103 homeless youth by using a “by-name” list to track and evaluate the needs of homeless youth, deploying team of 12 navigators to work directly with youth, creating a resource guide to help youth connect to needed services, expanding the pool of age-appropriate options, and ensuring that youth leaving the foster care system receive extra support.  Learn more about how ACS works with non-profits, government agencies, and foundations here.

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