“Housing Safety Net” Strategies

Developing “Housing Safety Nets” requires new protocols and practices for cross-sector collaboration at the federal, state and local level. In this new housing-focused framework,  assessing and responding to a family’s housing needs becomes a major focus of case management planning and services delivery.

Collaboration:  the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete  achieve a goal. 

Coordination:  the process of organizing people, groups or systems  so that they work together successfully.

Cross-sector: Relating to or affecting more than one group, area, or section. 

Multisectoral approach: a deliberate collaboration among various stakeholder groups (e.g., government, civil society, and private sector) and sectors (e.g., health, environment, and economy) to jointly achieve a policy outcome.

Partnering: establishing a long term win-win relationship based on mutual trust and teamwork, and on sharing of both risks and rewards.

multi-sector collaboration is the partnership that results when government, non-profit, private, and public organizations, community groups, and individual community members come together to solve problems that affect the whole community. 

New approaches require new strategies. . .

  • Housing Safety Nets require the development of new staffing patterns within mainstream systems and collaboration within and across diverse sectors. 
  • Rather than a focus on homeless families or families at risk of homelessness, a Housing Safety Net program would address an entire continuum of housing needs: severe rent burden, poor housing quality, overcrowding, residential displacement, and homelessness.  
  • Depending upon the specific focus of housing interventions, local resources and services, and the target populations to be served, a Housing Safety Net program prioritizes specific indicators of housing instability most relevant to a specific neighborhood or community – while, at the same time, responding immediately to serious housing instability indicators that may arise.


Housing Interventions staff can be integrated into services delivery systems in many different ways, including the following examples:

  • within Student Services or Homeless Education programs at public schools

  • integrated into social work programs in healthcare settings

  • as a specific staff position within a child and family services organization