What we can do

Who knows first?

It is often a child’s teacher, a family’s therapist, or a childcare provider that hears a parent’s first cries for help – when a job is lost, or working hours cut, when rent payments are late, or car repairs or other crisis destroys an often tight family budget.

The “First Responders” to housing problems …


•  School Systems

•  Child & Family Services Systems

•  Neighborhood & Community Centers

•  Hospitals & Healthcare Systems



It is vital to ask the right questions upon intake or enrollment, during the provision of services, or when something appears to be wrong.

— When families are experiencing a housing crisis, direct services staff should conduct housing assessments to help identify the problem and provide referrals for immediate interventions.

— Early intervention and timely responses to indicators of housing distress can help to stabilize a precarious housing situation.

— The addition of staff with specialized knowledge of housing issues can help identify timely and responsive interventions.

— In this new paradigm, social workers and housing specialists work together with a family as a “team,” with social workers providing support on personal and economic issues and housing specialists on issues primarily related to the actual housing.

Following are some examples of housing-based interventions: 

  • • assistance resolving roommate or shared housing conflicts

  • • assistance in negotiating or advocating with a  landlord for more time to pay back rent

  • • assistance in relocating to more adequate rental housing, including lease negotiation and move-in funds

Housing specialists should be embedded within community-based social services systems, schools, and healthcare systems.

There is “always” something we can do…..It may be “out of the box” – but that’s what innovation is all about! Challenges are there to be overcome, and each challenge has its own resolution.

Tanya Tull, Founder, Partnering for Change

Referrals to shelters should be “the referral of last resort.”

Housing Stability Assessments & Inteventions Flow Chart:  Sample Cross-Sector Flow Chart >>