19 Strategies for Communities to Address Encampments Humanely and Effectively

May 28, 2024

This guidance is intended to help public leaders and community partners in cities, counties, states, and federal agencies develop and implement humane and effective responses to encampments on public land using All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Based on what is working well in communities across the country, this guidance serves as an update and expansion of the 7 Principles for Addressing Encampments that USICH published in 2022. This new guidance was developed with input from people who have experienced homelessness, national partners, and experts from multiple federal agencies. 

For each of the 19 strategies cited, this guidance provides examples of actions, followed by a chart with select federal funding opportunities and a list of select technical assistance resources for implementing the strategies.

Guidance and Related Content:

Alternatives to Criminalization:

People living in encampments risk fines, criminal charges, and jail in communities where police enforce so-called camping bans that make it a crime to sleep, sit, or carry out other daily activities in public. Approaches that involve criminal penalties cost three times more than providing housing and services; can lead to unintended, harmful, and even deadly consequences; and do not solve homelessness in the short- or long-term. In May, USICH launched a series on alternatives to criminalization that organizations in communities are using to humanely and effectively help people move off streets and into homes. Read the ongoing community spotlights below: