Searching out Solutions: Constructive Alternatives to the Criminalization of Homelessness

Searching out Solutions offers communities alternatives to criminalizing homelessness.

This report explores the themes and solutions that were identified at the Searching for Balance Summit in December 2010, including these three key solutions:

  • The creation of comprehensive and seamless systems of care: In an effort to address gaps in service delivery, supported by community-wide planning, many local organizations partner to coordinate housing and services, creating systems of care. These systems of care enable long-term reductions in street homelessness and connect individuals with benefits and services that improve housing stability.
  • Collaboration between law enforcement, behavioral health, and social service providers: Collaboration between service providers and law enforcement regarding outreach to individuals and specialized crisis intervention training can limit the number of arrests for non-violent offenses. This partnership can also help link individuals experiencing homelessness with the system of care and permanent supportive housing.
  • Alternative justice system strategies: Strategies that provide alternatives to prosecution and incarceration and offer reentry planning for individuals show an increase in the likelihood that people will connect to permanent housing and employment. This solution includes the use of specialty courts, citation dismissal programs, holistic public defenders offices, and reentry programs.