An effective crisis response system helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness avoid the need to enter emergency shelter whenever possible. And it is also able to immediately provide a meaningful array of high-quality, housing-focused shelter or other temporary options for those living in unsafe situations, including those fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking and those living in unsheltered locations.
- Provide access to low-barrier emergency shelter. Communities should have effective models of emergency shelter and other temporary accommodations available that:
- Meet the needs of all members of a household and self-defined family and kinship groups, including infants and young children
- Do not turn people away or make access contingent on sobriety, minimum income requirements, or lack of a criminal history
- Do not require family members and partners to separate from one another in order to access shelter
- Ensure that policies and procedures promote dignity and respect for every person seeking or needing shelter
- Provide a safe, decent, welcoming, and appropriate temporary living environment, where daily needs can be met while pathways back to safe living arrangements or directly into housing programs are being pursued
- Provide access to service-enriched, longer-term temporary accommodations when needed and appropriate. Longer-term temporary accommodations with a high level of supportive services, such as transitional housing programs, are typically more costly, but may fill a need for households with more intensive service needs. These households might include youth and young adults who would benefit from a longer-term, more supportive living environment, survivors of domestic violence or other forms of severe trauma who feel unsafe living on their own in the community, or some people in recovery from substance use disorders who are seeking a communal, recovery-focused environment.