What housing looks like.
There are several types of solutions that are funded through the CoC and ESG programs. In Memphis, however, the main focus is on providing permanent housing solutions, of which there are two types:
Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)1
An intervention designed to help individuals and families that don't need intensive and ongoing support to quickly exit homelessness. RRH assistance is offered without preconditions — like employment, income, absence of a criminal record, or sobriety — and the resources and services provided are tailored to the unique needs of the household. Eligible clients can receive RRH assistance for up to two years.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
An intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services. Generally, there is no time limit placed on how long an eligible client may retain PSH.
Other housing solutions include Homeless Prevention2, where outreach and case workers provide temporary financial assistance or stabilization services to help families remain housed; Transitional Housing3, which is primarily used in Memphis to serve Veterans along with a few other exceptions; and Emergency Shelter4, which may include nightly stays, or an entry-and-exit program where individuals/families have a dedicated place to sleep as they work to be rehoused.
In Memphis, there are no l0w-barrier shelters, meaning there are no shelters that are free, no shelters available at all hours, and many that stipulate an adherence to sobriety or other ideals.
While emergency shelters play an incredible role in providing nightly residence, it is not a solution that can accommodate the full population experiencing homelessness. As well, a lack of participation or investment from shelter provider’s in the community’s broader strategy hinders the ability for the full picture of homelessness to be seen and confronted.
1 Sounds pretty great! Regrettably, the resources to provide RRH to those who are eligible do not size up to those in need. Currently, an eligible party waiting to receive RRH benefits may wait, on average, 100+ days to be served, keeping them in dangerous situations.
2 Prevention services are only available through ESG funding in Memphis, and eligibility requries individual/family meet a homeless definition of 2, 3, or 4, as well as have an income below 30% of the area median income (AMI) [or, ballpark, $22k/year].
3Transitional housing is a solution no longer prioritized in Memphis, with a few exceptions that have been grandmothered in, as it doesn’t have as effective outcomes as the permanent solutions Memphis is after.
4 In Memphis, many emergency shelters are faith-based and have program designs that make them ineligible for federal funding. HUD is committed to a Housing First approach, which means no directives tied to housing and no discriminatory practices. Providers with program designs that don’t align to this standard are generally privately funded.