If you’ve done some traveling this year, or watched the news, you know that there is a homelessness problem in the United States that’s quickly growing out of control. Thankfully, the war against homelessness is being won in the Houston area because the city has been taking proactive measures to help people who have become homeless.
Houston decreased its homeless population by 54% since 2011
Although there are still challenges like encampments in different parts of the city, since 2012, Houston has housed around 17,000 formerly homeless people, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. Many are connected with supportive services.
“If you have a homeless person and you put them in [permanent supportive housing] and simultaneously give them social, behavioral and health support services, 92% of them will be stable in that facility,” Nichols said.
But there’s a secret in Houston’s formula: coordination.
The scenario from 20 years ago, when different organizations would serve food, give clothes or offer shelter — all done separately — has changed. There’s now constant communication between these institutions and a digital database called the Homeless Management Information System, which allows people at several organizations to understand each case. Most cities today have HMIS in place, but Houston was quick to adopt it, and that helped organizations strategize, analyze, share information and find personalized solutions.
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