The primary cause of homelessness in the U.S. is the lack of affordable housing. For most people, an array of various factors causes homelessness. Individuals living independently in the community can become homeless when any part of their support network fails and they are unable to overcome a set of difficult circumstances. For some people, homelessness is simply the result of not earning enough income to be able to afford housing.  For others, homelessness is a chronic life situation fueled by substance abuse or untreated mental illness.  And there are those individuals and families experiencing homelessness as a result of fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence.

Types of Housing Assistance for Homeless and Those at Risk of Homelessness

  • Emergency Shelter: any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations with the primary purpose to provide temporary shelter for the homeless
  • Rapid Re-Housing: rental housing search assistance, limited-time financial assistance, and case management and other services to help homeless families and individuals achieve sufficient independence to maintain their housing
  • Permanent Supportive Housing: housing and supportive services for chronically homeless individuals and families with long-term disabilities that substantially impede their ability to live independently
  • Affordable Housing: permanent housing in which the rent is below market rates and/or is based on the tenant’s income
  • Transitional Housing: temporary and time-limited housing assistance and comprehensive support options targeting specific sub-populations with high barriers
  • Homeless Prevention: short-term help for individuals and families who are at serious risk of becoming homeless, providing financial assistance and support to resolve temporary housing crises