Schools, healthcare systems, and child and family service systems must advocate for safe, decent and adequate housing for the children and families that they serve. Only then will we see change. These mainstream systems must become the major proponents for direct action on the housing crisis in our communities today!
Only then will we see a true focus on the development of new strategies and protocols to ensure that housing issues are address, whatever they may be. The ability to formally assess a family’s housing conditions and integrate housing-related services into case management planning and services delivery will improve outcomes across a wide array of service systems. Addressing housing conditions of children and families must therefore become a major component of all service systems across diverse sectors. Referrals to the homeless services system must become a “referral of last resort” when all else fails.
Our focus is on helping mainstream system to provide direct housing-related services, to identify gaps in services and resources in the community at-large to address housing crises of vulnerable families, and to help integrate housing-related strategies into child and family services, healthcare, and education. Strategies include the training and tools to assist child and family services organizations to more formally assess a family’s housing conditions and integrate housing-related interventions into case management planning and services in order to promote improved child and family wellbeing.
Broader strategies include “collective impact” approaches to the affordable housing crisis – including collaborative efforts among non-traditional partners to ensure that housing is recognized as not only a basic human right, but an integral component of civil society.