Fact Sheet from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness - "Ending Homelessness Among Families with Children in 2020" - A look at the statistics and the President's latest budget proposal for dealing with the issue.
Homeless Demographics from the National Alliance to End Homelessness
Homelessness Data Exchange - reports from the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Statistics and articles from the Department of Health and Human Services
The sporadically homeless or working poor often make their homes in low-cost motels. Motel Church works to create Christian community by offering church, complete with music, message, baptisms, and fellowship, in these motel settings. Contact them for assistance on starting a ministry in your area.
How can your church fit into a community approach to the problem of homelessness? See these toolkits from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
People living in homeless shelters and working to try to get back on their feet often use bicycles for transportation, and it would be a major loss to them if a bike were stolen or damaged. Read this quick list of "5 Ways to Make Your Church More Bike-Friendly."
Association of Gospel Rescue Missions: Locate a mission for someone needing help, or access training and support if your church is considering getting involved in ministry to the homeless.
Los Angeles Dream Center: Leadership training in the heart of ministry to the poor, homeless, and trafficked.
Some cities have established guidelines for churches wishing to serve as emergency shelters, not only for natural disasters but also for temporary relief for the homeless during extremely cold or hot weather. The requirements usually include specifications for number of exits, maximum occupancy, fire extinguishers, whether snacks may be served, and the like. If your church is interested, search "emergency shelter requirements" and your location.
"How the Homeless Population Is Changing: It's Older and Sicker" - a California professor of medicine reports on her research which reflects the increase in the homeless population over age 50 and their staggering health challenges. See also "Old and on the Street: The Graying of America's Homeless" from the New York Times.
"I've Been Homeless 3 Times. The Problem Isn't Drugs or Mental Illness--It's Poverty." - This personal story of a middle-aged woman's struggle to keep from being homeless weaves together statistics, failing policies, the problems faced by older workers in getting a job, and many more contributing factors for a thought-provoking look at why educated people who want to work may still have trouble getting ahead.
"If You Knew Their Whole Story" - a husband-wife photojournalist team decide to document the stories of the homeless in their city, and take volunteer helpers for a life-changing visit to local homeless camps.
From the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange - "We Are Failing our Children: Addressing Homelessness among System-Involved Youth" - Cites the prevalence of homelessness among youth exiting the foster care or juvenile court systems, and calls for something to be done about it.
Homeless Children and Education
Contact List for Homeless Education
Map: "Ending Veteran Homelessness" - shows actively engaged communities
Calendar of "Stand Down" community events resourcing homeless veterans
Veterans' resources from the National Center on Family Homelessness
Other Helpful Information
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 20-25% of the nation's single adult homeless population suffers from some form of mental illness. See "Mental Health" under the topic page "Chronic and Debilitating Illness" for resources and ways to help.
From the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) - "10 Strategies to End Chronic Homelessness" - Analysis and recommendations, including considerations of persons with disabilities, Medicaid information, and much more.
Some cities are assigning special "Homeless Outreach Teams" from their police departments. These specially trained officers respond to any calls involving a homeless person, making referrals and helping them find the services they need. Read about the Wichita, Kansas, team here.
Georgia Works!, a program in which former offenders, addicts, and other at-risk men commit to becoming clean and ending government dependence in exchange for job training and assistance with placement and housing, successfully transitioned 64 graduates to self-sufficiency this year. Read inspiring testimonies from graduates and partnering employers here.
Some organizations are looking at communities of affordable-rent tiny houses as a way to transition the homeless, particularly veterans, into stable living circumstances. See this helpful article, "Asking the Right Questions about Tiny Houses," from USICH.
Video: Homeless Hope
Best Practices for Providers
Other Interactive Resources
Agency Look Up by State
National Center on Family Homelessness: Webinars, training publications, trauma-informed care curriculum, children's services, veterans' services, and more.
Family and Youth Services Bureau: Inter-agency links, grants, training
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - grants, research