Programs that provide a temporary place to stay (usually three days to two weeks), generally in dormitory-style facilities with very little privacy, for people who have no permanent housing. Also included are programs that provide motel vouchers for people who are homeless.
Programs that provide extended shelter and supportive services primarily for homeless individuals and/or families with the goal of helping them live independently and transition into permanent housing. Some programs require that the individual/family be transitioning from a short-term emergency shelter. The length of stay varies considerably by program. It is generally longer than two weeks but typically 60 days or more and, in many cases, up to two years or more. The supportive services may be provided directly by the organization managing the housing or may be coordinated by them and provided by other public or private agencies. Transitional housing/shelter is generally provided in apartment style facilities with a higher degree of privacy than short-term homeless shelters; may be provided at no cost to the resident; and may be configured for specialized groups within the homeless population such as people with substance abuse problems, homeless mentally ill, homeless domestic violence victims, veterans or homeless people with AIDS/HIV. Included are post-domestic violence shelter housing programs that make affordable rental housing (or other accommodations) available to women, generally those who are coming directly out of a domestic violence shelter or other crisis shelter, often in apartment complexes owned by the shelter; and programs that provide transitional housing and support services for other targeted groups such as military and veteran families and others who need a temporary supportive living environment to maintain stability and begin to thrive.
Programs that provide transportation services for homeless people from the streets to a local shelter with available space, either from a established pick-up site or by appointment from the individual’s current location. Also included are programs that provide transportation between shelters or to and from medical clinics, detoxification facilities, public assistance offices and other local service providers.
Programs that provide comprehensive assessment, ongoing case management, work readiness, job training, job development, job placement services, post-placement follow-up and/or supportive services that are tailored to the specific needs of homeless individuals who need assistance preparing for, finding and retaining paid employment. Many programs specifically target outreach and enrollment efforts on homeless individuals or specific groups within the homeless population (e.g., homeless veterans, homeless youth, homeless individuals with serious mental illness, permanent supportive housing residents); and some partner with other organizations working with people who are homeless such as local mental health agencies; one-stop career centres; community-based nonprofit vocational rehabilitation agencies; case management organizations; housing agencies; and the local public housing authority.
Programs that are staffed by outreach workers who spend time with people who live on the street, build relationships with them, identify and address their immediate needs (e.g., crisis intervention, food, clean clothing, hygiene kits, blankets, someone to listen) and provide information about and linkage to longer-term forms of support such as shelter, counselling, drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation, care/case management and, where applicable, family reunification services. Street outreach programs may be staffed by volunteers or peers who were formerly homeless; and may target special populations such as homeless youth at risk for sexual abuse or exploitation, veterans, or people with specific medical or mental health conditions, or be available to the larger homeless population.
Programs that provide permanent accommodations for people who have a chronic problem with excessive use of alcohol and/or use of other drugs and no expectation of recovery. In most cases, there are no requirements for abstinence as a condition for housing. Included are "damp" housing for people who are able to live in a setting where abstinence is encouraged but substance use is permitted on the premises in moderation; and "wet" housing for people who are unwilling and/or unable to make a commitment to consumption limitations and are actively using drugs and/or alcohol addictively. In most cases, alcohol consumption is permitted at the residence, either in a person's room or in common areas, while drug use is not tolerated on-site but residents can use drugs away from the building. Both are contrasted to "dry" housing where residences are alcohol and drug-free. In most cases, residents in these facilities are formerly homeless and have undergone numerous failed attempts at treatment for alcohol and/or drug use. Without this harm reduction alternative, homeless people with chronic substance use issues sleep on the street and are at increased risk of exposure to adulterated or harmful substances, or depend on costly detoxification and scarce emergency shelter beds for housing.
Programs that provide alcohol and other drug-free congregate living arrangements which facilitate the return to the community of individuals who are recovering from an alcohol and/or other drug use disorder, who may be leaving an inpatient or residential treatment program and who need ongoing support to sustain an abstinent lifestyle.
Organizations that support measures that address the needs of people who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless including the need for shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing, medical care and basic human rights.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.