National Partners Roll Out Resources Focused on Addressing the Crisis Needs of People with Mental Illness, Substance Use Challenges, and/or Experiencing Homelessness
Home, Together recognizes that the only true end to homelessness is a safe and stable place to call home. The Plan also recognizes that we can only end homelessness together because the causes are complex, and the solutions require us all working together.
To thrive, communities need enough housing that is affordable and equitably available across a full range of incomes in order to offer meaningful choice to support people’s paths toward stability. Communities must also focus their efforts on achieving racial equity—not just in local homelessness services systems, but also across the systems that can affect people’s ability to access housing and stay stably housed.
Communities’ success is also inextricably connected to providing a full range of services and supports that support the housing stability of its residents. Access to health care, substance use and mental health services, aging services, educational and career opportunities, and child care can all play a role in helping individuals and families improve their health, build strong social networks, pursue economic mobility, and strengthen their overall well-being. These services, and other federal, state, and local programs, must be well-coordinated among themselves, and with the business, philanthropic, and faith communities that can supplement and enhance them.
Over the past year, our partners at National League of Cities and Arnold Foundation have been exploring innovative city approaches to address the crisis needs of people living with mental illness, people with substance use challenges, people experiencing homelessness, particularly unsheltered homelessness, and those who are caught at the intersection. Their most recent publication, Spreading and Scaling Innovative City Approaches to Address Mental Health, Substance Use and Homelessness, summarizes recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers engaged in efforts to improve emergency response and crisis stabilization. Their recommendations focus on:
- Building and strengthening collaborative partnerships
- Shifting away from punitive approaches and increasing access to treatment and other necessary services and supports
- Improving access to funding
- Reducing barriers to treatment
- Increasing focus on social determinants of health that contribute to homelessness, substance use disorder, and mental illness
- Improving data sharing and analysis
- Identifying and using better metrics to understand what is working well and what needs further refinement
National League of Cities and Arnold Foundation also released a series of issue briefs and case studies that discuss innovative city-level efforts and practices to incorporate promising cross-systems approaches that have begun to improve outcomes for vulnerable individuals. The issue briefs include:
- Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness: Advancing Coordinated Solutions through Local Leadership explores the scope of the problem and introduces innovative approaches that cities are using to maximize access to services and supports.
- Working Across Systems for Better Results: City Efforts to Address Mental Health, Substance Use, and Homelessness Through Emergency Response and Crisis Stabilization discusses the cross-systems nature of these and other approaches in greater detail.
- Emergency Response and Crisis Stabilization: Cities Leading the Way details challenges and potential solutions for cities implementing these approaches.
USICH values National League of Cities' and Arnold Ventures’ partnership and focus on these critical issues, which reflect an important and growing interest and investment from national organizations and non-profits across the country in support of housing justice. The security and stability of home is integral for every individual and family and must be a primary focus of all our policy solutions and approaches.