As the United States begins to recover from an economic crisis that has affected all of its citizens, great care must be taken to ensure that the most vulnerable of our society, those experiencing homelessness — whether victims of the recession or suffering longer-term housing instability — are not left behind. While the dedicated work of practitioners and researchers alike has built a strong body of knowledge on the causes of homelessness and strategies to alleviate it, a number of key questions remain to be answered.
- What are the most appropriate housing interventions for particular segments of the homeless population?
- How can administrative data be better integrated with federal data to improve homeless outcomes and performance measurement?
- Should transitional housing continue to be emphasized as an option for all homeless, or should it be better targeted? Who should be served by transitional housing?
- What is the best way to provide services to homeless persons, especially considering structural, eligibility, and capacity barriers to accessing mainstream services?
This paper, in conjunction with HUD's forum on homelessness, explores what we currently know about homelessness as a foundation for developing answers that will allow the homeless services community to more effectively target resources and move toward the goal of preventing and eventually eliminating homelessness.