Framework for Preventing Homelessness

If we want to address homelessness through prevention, we need to be clear on exactly what we mean. What are the systems changes and structural shifts that reduce the likelihood that someone will become homeless? What are the intervention strategies that can support people who are at high risk of homelessness or who have recently become homeless? How can we ensure that people who have been homeless – and who are now housed – do not experience homelessness again? 

A New Direction: A Framework for Homelessness Prevention sets out to define what we mean by ‘homeless prevention’, helps to develop a common language and lays the groundwork for policy and practice shifts that will reduce the likelihood that individuals will experience homelessness.

The homelessness prevention framework is rooted in a human rights perspective that argues that all people have the right to housing that is safe, appropriate, affordable, and sustainable, and that allowing people to fall into, and remain, homeless because of structural, systemic, and/or individual factors is not acceptable. No one should have to demonstrate that they are worthy of, or ‘ready’ for, housing.

The framework is broken down into three parts. The first makes the case for homelessness prevention through a study of the public health model of prevention and international examples of prevention. The second part provides a clear definition of homelessness prevention that outlines what constitutes prevention, and what does not. The third part is a typology that describes the categories in which policies and practices must be developed, as well as who is responsible for this work. This prevention framework sets out to create a common language and understanding of homelessness prevention, providing concrete examples and exploring the question of who, in the end, is ultimately responsible for homelessness prevention. We can never truly end homelessness until we are able to address how to stop the flow – the pipeline – into homelessness. 

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