August 20, 2012
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743
EDITORS: Read the entire study
State council report: Continue to match employment and health services, local housing programs to reduce homelessness
(AUSTIN) — Increasing the coordination of employment and health service resources with local housing programs will make the state agencies that administer programs to address the issues of homelessness more effective, according to a study issued today by the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The document recommends numerous measures stakeholder agencies could take to better harmonize resources that cut across multiple social service providers. It also notes significant strides made proactively by the state in recent years.
Pathways Home: A Framework for Coordinating State Administered Programs with Continuum of Care Planning to Address Homelessness in Texas is the result of a comprehensive council-sponsored study that will serve as a resource for state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations seeking to help Texas’ most vulnerable residents secure and remain in safe housing.
“This report is the product of a vast amount of research, data analysis and nearly 20 hours of testimony, the results of which will help state and local agencies better serve those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Michael Doyle, TICH Presiding Officer.
Some objectives identified by the Council included:
- Improving efforts to identify at-risk individuals and families
- Increasing the coordination of state agency services to enhance the state’s preventive capacity
- Evaluating and improving the quality of homeless data
- Increasing coordination and communication between stakeholder agencies
“The positive news from this study is that, while there is no one ‘magic bullet’ that will solve the problem of housing instability, there are dozens of smaller steps we can take together simply by working and communicating more efficiently that collectively can have a positive impact,” according TDHCA Executive Director Tim Irvine.
In addition to serving as a framework for action, Irvine noted that Pathways Home also cites a number of significant steps Texas has taken in recent years to address issues of homelessness.
- Permanent supportive housing in Texas increased by 45 percent between 2005 and 2010, adding 2,045 permanent beds.
- The Department of State Health Services and its network of local mental health authorities provided crisis and transitional services to 4,752 homeless individuals from State Fiscal Year 2010 to present.
- The Texas Workforce Commission provided vocational training and employment services to 13,179 individuals in State Fiscal Year 2010 who self-identified as having experienced homelessness.
- In State Fiscal Year 2010, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services provided vocational rehabilitation services to 890 individuals who self-identified as having experienced homelessness.
- Chronic homelessness in the state decreased by almost 20 percent between 2005 and 2010.
The council convened work groups comprising representatives from eleven state agencies and several nonprofit organizations to analyze state data, review national research, and gather public input through a series of public hearings in ten cities across the state.
Pathways Home compiles this diverse information in a single document for the use and benefit of the state and local agencies working to address the issues of homelessness. It will give them a commonsense tool to create greater effectiveness and efficiency and work with local communities to use these tools proactively to build better communities.
About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.
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