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In addition to grant programs and research relevant to homelessness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also funds several resource centers and activities that provide valuable information for consumers, providers, and policymakers.  Several HHS Operating Divisions also have web pages with agency-specific information related to homelessness.

Resources for Persons Experiencing Homelessness: 

  • Homelessness Resource Center
    Funded by the Center for Mental Health Services, the Homeless Resource Center (HRC) web site includes a full range of resources, such as a searchable knowledge database, special event announcements, Web casts, news, programs, and promising practices.  The HRC site addresses critical topics in the homeless field from the perspectives of researchers, service providers, consumers, advocates, and policymakers.
  • National Runaway Switchboard
    The mission at the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) is to help keep America’s runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets.  NRS operates an anonymous, confidential and free 24-hour crisis line staffed with experienced front-line team members.  
  • Locate a Runaway and Homeless Youth Program
    Locate the nearest Basic Center Program, Transitional Housing Program, or Street Outreach Program for a runaway or homeless youth.
  • Locate a Health Center
    Locate the nearest Community Health Center, including Health Care for the Homeless Programs.

Resources for Policymakers and Providers:

  • Interactive Homelessness Lessons for Head Start
    These lessons on homelessness will give Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal programs information about serving families who are experiencing homelessness. The lessons will give program staff opportunities to: apply the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness; determine children's eligibility and/or their prioritization for Head Start, Early Head Start, or Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs; pinpoint strategies for outreach and identification of children and families experiencing homelessness; apply strategies that enhance enrollment; evaluate positive options for working with families; and identify ways to work with community partners. Each lesson contains information you can use to complete lesson activities and use for future reference.

  • Potential Analyses with Homelessness Data: Ideas for Policymakers and Researchers
    This document summarizes ideas for data analysis that would help answer questions of interest to policymakers and researchers.  An HHS-funded study found that thirty states currently collect information on homelessness or risk factors for homelessness from applicants for TANF or Medicaid.  Abt Associates, under contract to HHS, developed ideas for potential uses of this information for policymakers (especially at the state level) and researchers.
  • Housing Status Assessment Guide for State TANF and Medicaid Programs
    This Guide is intended to provide recommendations on a set of standardized housing status and homelessness risk questions that could be incorporated into state applications for TANF and/or Medicaid.  The taxonomy of questions presented in this Guide is provided solely as a resource for states interested in modifying current application questions and to promote coordination between mainstream social service programs and housing and homelessness assistance providers.  It is important to note that modifying current application and data collection procedures is not intended to be a requirement for states interested in using this Guide.
  • Inventory of Federal Programs That May Assist Homeless Families with Children (PDF - 764 KB)
    This inventory catalogues Federal programs that may assist homeless families with children.  The inventory was developed by the Senior Policy Group of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to provide a current picture of existing federal initiatives, help identify gaps or overlaps in services that may exist across programs, and offer new avenues for program collaboration.  Seventy-three programs operated by 11 federal agencies are highlighted in the inventory.
  • Homeless Policy Academies
    Between 2001 and 2007, HHS, in partnership with HUD, VA, DOL, ED, and the USICH supported a series of nine Homeless Policy Academies.  The Homeless Policy Academies were designed to help State and local policymakers improve access to mainstream services for people who are homeless.
  • FirstStep
    FirstStep is an interactive tool developed for case managers and outreach workers to help assist their clients who are homeless access Federal benefit programs.

HHS Operating Division Resources:

  • Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, has established a clear vision for its work—a life in the community for everyone. To realize this vision, the Agency has sharply focused its mission on building resilience and facilitating recovery for people with or at risk for mental or substance use disorders.
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging
    The Administration on Aging, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the nation's largest providers of home- and community-based care for older persons and their caregivers. Their mission is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of long-term care that helps elderly individuals to maintain their dignity in their homes and communities, as well as to help society prepare for an aging population.
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, has as its mission to ensure effective, up-to-date health care coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries.
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration
    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.  HRSA manages the Health Center Program, which funds a national network of more than 4,000 clinics comprised of community health centers, migrant health centers, health care for the homeless centers, and public housing primary care centers.  Health centers for the homeless focus on delivering preventive and primary health care to people who are homeless, but homeless people may seek free or low-cost care at any health center site.