How Do Family Shelters Help Families Escape Homelessness?


Quick Answer

Family shelters are intended to prevent and reduce homelessness among families by providing the resources and temporary housing they need in order to establish financial independence. By assisting families in finding low-income housing, career opportunities and childcare, shelters can be essential in keeping them off the streets.

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Full Answer

Following the 2008 recession, homelessness among families grew, resulting in strategic community programs to provide transitional housing. Families who are able to enter a shelter instead of living on the streets usually stay there briefly and do not become homeless again. Shelters work to assist every family with their unique situation, whether it's the loss of employment, medical crises, addiction or domestic violence.

The situations that lead to homelessness can often be resolved when families have access to a stable residence, meals and childcare. Finding employment is considerably easier while staying in a shelter. Shelters are also concerned with the principle of "rapid rehousing," which involves access to temporary financial assistance, rent assistance and help securing a new home. Rapid rehousing is part of the federal government's approach to reducing the homeless population throughout the United States.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, roughly 75 percent of families who enter shelters are able to leave quickly, with minimal assistance, and never experience homelessness again. By helping people who need basic care in an emergency, shelters eliminate further problems associated with homelessness before they happen.

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