Homelessness Resources and Programs

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

Homeless and Housing Resource Center
The Homeless and Housing Resource Center (HHRC) provides high-quality, no-cost training for health and housing professionals in evidence-based practices that contributes to housing stability, recovery, and an end to homelessness. Working in partnership with national experts in homelessness, mental health, and substance use services, HHRC develops and delivers comprehensive resources, webinars, and self-paced online trainings. Trainings focus on housing and treatment models for adults, children, and families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness who have serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use disorders, or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

National Runaway Safeline
The mission of the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is to help keep America’s runaway, homeless and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. NRS provides education and solution-focused interventions, offers non-sectarian, non-judgmental support, respects confidentiality, collaborates with volunteers, and responds to at-risk youth and their families 24 hours a day through phone, email, and live chat. 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888
Or text “HELP” or “INFO” to BeFree (233733)

Locate a Runaway and Homeless Youth Program
Locate the nearest Family and Youth Services Bureau-funded emergency shelter, transitional living program or street outreach program for 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

Building State Medicaid-Housing Agency Partnerships

CMS’ Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) was a collaboration between the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The Medicaid IAP supported three cohorts of the State Medicaid-Housing Agency Partnerships from 2016 through 2019. To support states interested in learning more, IAP released a six-part housing partnership toolkit and hosted related learning webinars. For resources from the IAP, including links to webinar recordings and materials see the Medicaid Housing-Related Services and Partnerships page. and  the State Medicaid-Housing Agency Partnership Toolkit.

COVID-19 Resources to Support People Experiencing Homelessness (CDC)
Guidance related to COVID-19 prevention in shelters, outreach strategies for vaccinating people experiencing homelessness, and other resources to inform prevention and mitigation efforts. The page also provides tools, trainings, and articles by the CDC on people experiencing homelessness and COVID-19.

Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience: Information and Tools for Homeless Service Providers and Disaster Professionals
The toolkit provides guidance for identifying and collaborating with partners to address disaster response and recovery needs of homeless individuals. It outlines strategies to engage in preparedness and minimize service disruption from a disaster. Furthermore, it specifies how to enhance the capacity of healthcare settings with providers experienced in serving people who are homeless, and provide expanded care following a disaster or public health emergency.

Disaster Response for Homeless Individuals and Families: A Trauma-Informed Approach
People experiencing homelessness typically have limited resources and likely have past exposure to traumatic events. Therefore, they may be at higher risk of adverse physical and psychological reactions following a public health emergency or disaster. Trauma-informed approaches can help disaster responders effectively serve homeless individuals and families. This page provides considerations and compiles resources to best serve people experiencing homelessness in disasters.

Health Coverage for Homeless and At-Risk Youth
This fact sheet explores eligibility for health care coverage, including through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. You’ll find information on subpopulations of youth who are likely to be eligible for health care coverage, which services are covered, and how to enroll. You’ll also find Medicaid and CHIP income eligibility levels for each state.

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance national project is designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible children and adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, or co-occurring substance use disorder.

Screening and Assessment Tools for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
This list includes screening and assessment tools providers can use to decide what types of interventions and services each young person in their care needs. Screening involves brief instruments that check for things like traumatic stress and mental health problems and can identify certain youth who need more thorough diagnostic evaluations and treatment. Assessment involves evaluating multiple aspects of social, emotional, and behavioral competencies and functioning to inform service planning and monitor progress toward better outcomes. Featured tools include those that are appropriate for use across various federal programs for youth and young adults generally between the ages of 12 and 24 and that are low cost or in the public domain.

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is to coordinate the Federal response to homelessness and to create a national partnership at every level of government and with the private sector to reduce and end homelessness in the nation while maximizing the effectiveness of the Federal Government in contributing to the end of homelessness.

A Primer on Using Medicaid for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Tenants in Permanent Supportive Housing
This report provides a "how-to" guide on the various ways that Medicaid can cover services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, including the Medicaid authorities and new options provided under the Affordable Care Act.

Families Experiencing Homelessness--Interactive Homelessness Modules for CCDF Leads and CCDF Subsidized Childcare Providers: This interactive learning series completed in 2018 is intended for professionals in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care, including early childhood and school-age child care providers, CCDF Lead Agency or designated entity staff, and other key stakeholders. Learn how to identify families experiencing homelessness, conduct community outreach, and much more.

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, Homelessness Data in Health and Human Services Mainstream Programs, 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.

Federal Programs that Can Help Communities End Youth Homelessness
These federal programs offer targeted and non-targeted funding for preventing and ending homelessness, including among youth, that can, in conjunction with other funding sources, help communities implement the coordinated response they need. 

Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States (Administration for Children and Families)
This guidance to states and service programs was designed to build greater awareness and better response to the problem of child trafficking within the child welfare and runaway and homeless youth service systems. This guidance focuses on emerging knowledge and practices that systems and services can consider integrating into existing activities.

Federal Programs that Can Help Communities End Youth Homelessness
These federal programs offer targeted and non-targeted funding for preventing and ending homelessness, including among youth, that can, in conjunction with other funding sources, help communities implement the coordinated response they need. 

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth
The Family and Youth Services Bureau’s (FYSB’s) National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth educates the family and youth work field—including FYSB grantees and aspiring grantees—about the research and effective practices that can improve the long-term social and emotional wellbeing of families and youth. From sustainability to evidence-based practice to trauma-informed care, NCFY publishes more than 250 articles, podcasts, and videos a year about research and innovative work going on in the field.

Increasing ECE for Homeless Children
This webpage contains information on efforts by the Office of Early Childhood Development to expand early care and education services for children experiencing homelessness. Resources include information on policies, procedures, and strategies to increase access to services for children experiencing homelessness, a resource list, an issue brief on early care and education for young children experiencing homelessness, a developmental screening guide for housing service providers, webinars, and blog posts. These resources will help policymakers and program directors improve access to services for young children experiencing homelessness.

Strategies for Increasing ECE Services for Homeless Children
A variety of federal laws and policies impact the ability of homeless families to access early care and education programs.  Service providers and advocates at the state and local level can better coordinate existing policies, reaching across programs to ensure that young homeless children are served in America’s early care and education (ECE) programs.

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017 (Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons)
The first Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States lays out a 5-year path for further strengthening coordination, collaboration, and capacity across governmental and nongovernmental entities dedicated to providing support to the victims of human trafficking. The Department of Health and Human Services co-chaired the planning process for this Plan, which highlights the importance of coordinating with runaway and homeless youth programs.

Report to Congress on Promising Strategies to End Youth Homelessness  (Administration for Children and Families)
The Report to Congress on Promising Strategies to End Youth Homelessness concludes that building stable and nurturing families is the most effective way to prevent youth homelessness. Increasing positive parenting skills, as well as connecting youth and their families to community resources, can help parents and caregivers manage issues that have the potential to unravel families. When those efforts don’t work, young people need permanent connections with other stable adults and comprehensive support services to transitional successfully to adulthood.

National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence: Final Report (Department of Justice) (2012)
This report from the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence provides a comprehensive roadmap for preventing violence and for helping children and youth to heal and recover when it happens. The report makes a host of recommendations that would help identify these young people soon after their exposure and give them specialized services, evidence-based treatment and proper care and support.

HHS Operating and Staff Division Resources

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
The Administration for Children and Families promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. It operates several targeted and non-targeted programs meeting the needs of homeless and at-risk families, children, and youth.

Administration for Children & Families, Family & Youth Services Bureau
The Family & Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) administers the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program—the only Federal funding stream dedicated to serving runaway, homeless and street youth up to age 22. The Runaway and Homeless Youth Program was authorized by Congress 40 years ago to keep young people from being homeless—whether by providing preventive services or rapid, effective re-housing and case management once youth are on the streets.

Administration for Community Living
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) was created around the fundamental principle that older adults and people of all ages with disabilities should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities. ACL advocates across the federal government for older adults, people with disabilities, and families and caregivers; funds services and supports provided primarily by states and networks of community-based programs; and invests in training, education, research, and innovation. By funding services and supports provided by networks of community-based organizations, and with investments in research, education, and innovation, ACL helps make this principle a reality for millions of Americans.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable, or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same. CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats and responds when these arise.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
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.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The Health Resources and Services Administration, 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.

Office Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Division of At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience
The Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience (ABC) provides policy leadership, subject matter expertise, and coordination to internal and external partners to ensure that the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals, behavioral health, and community resilience are integrated in the public health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities of the nation.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
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.  SAMHSA provides multiple resources for training and technical assistance. Practitioner Training offers tools, training, and technical assistance to practitioners in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders. Programs and campaigns offer information, training, and technical assistance to improve the quality and delivery of behavioral health services across the nation. In addition to behavioral health training and technical assistance, SAMHSA has an array of publications and digital product resources.

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