Families with Children

Opening Doors established a national goal to end homelessness among families and children in 2020. To reach this critical landmark, we must quickly begin to change the current trajectory on family homelessness. For every child experiencing homelessness today, we must act urgently. Since the launch of Opening Doors in 2010, the number of families with children experiencing homelessness  has declined 15 percent; the number of unsheltered families fell 53 percent during that same time period.

Since 2010, there are 25,690 fewer people in families experiencing homelessness on a single night. The decline was most prominent among unsheltered people in families, which decreased by nearly 52 percent. However, the number of sheltered people in families has risen slightly since 2010, by less than one percent. In addition, the Department of Education reports that public schools identified 1,258,182 children as homeless over the course of the 2012-2013 school year.

The fact that family homelessness has been held mostly flat is encouraging, especially given the recession, but now we must make headway and begin to reduce family homelessness.

We know that families face a variety of circumstances and need different supports to avert or escape homelessness. The most common reasons families become homeless are the inability to find stable housing, loss of a job, or work that doesn’t pay enough to afford housing. In addition, other factors that contribute to episodes of homelessness include health crises, domestic violence, having children at a young age, and not having a strong social support network. Preventing and ending homelessness for all families’ needs to be approached with a range of strategies. In addition, we need to be increasingly better at ensuring limited resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness is a resource designed to help communities and stakeholders build and implement an effective housing crisis response system for families. The document outlines the federal vision of an end to homelessness among families and identifies key areas of action needed to reach that vision. It has resources, tools and detailed information embedded throughout to support implementation of the policies articulated in the document.

While many resources are available now, USICH with federal agencies and policy experts are developing additional tools that will continue to be added and linked to the Family Connection page. USICH, in partnership with Federal agencies, will publish additional resources as more is learned from the field and Federal partners about effective strategies for building systems to end family homelessness.

Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness

The Core Components of Rapid Re-Housing, developed in partnership with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identifies the core components of a rapid re-housing intervention. 

More on What We Know: Population Trends and Characteristics

Family Homelessness in Focus: A Q&A Series

Additional Resources

Highlights from our Webinar on the HUD FY 2015 Continuum of Care Program Competition

To End Family Homelessness, We Must Address Domestic Violence

The Connecticut Head Start-Family Shelter Partnership: Working Together to Meet the Needs of Families and Children

Federal Partners Move Forward on HMIS Alignment & Integration, Announce MOU on Roles & Responsibilities

The Time to Seize Historic Opportunities is Now - A Message from Matthew Doherty, USICH Executive Director

Early Childhood and HUD Working Together to End Family Homelessness

Positive Outcomes for Victims of Domestic Violence and Families through Housing First Pilot Program


#NAEH15 Begins Tomorrow

The President’s 2016 Budget Invests in What Works to End Homelessness

#PITCount 2015

What It Means to End Homelessness

The Year in Review

Engaging Youth, the Next Generation Working to End Homelessness

Our Chief Labor Is the Building of Homes

Lessons Learned from Developing Coordinated Entry Systems: Richmond and Los Angeles

The Private Sector Steps Up To End Homelessness in Massachusetts: Multi-family owners launch “New Lease”

We STILL Believe in Human Rights

We STILL Believe in Human Rights

In Utah, a History of Progress Inspires Greater Action

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Prompts Us to Look Ahead and Take Action

Good News from New Orleans: Federal and Community Collaboration Helped Transform This Veteran’s Life

Partnerships for Opening Doors – Ending Homelessness through Meaningful and Sustainable Employment

Ensuring Safety and Stability for Survivors of Domestic Violence

Building Momentum to Abolish Criminalization of Homelessness

Your Reallocation Questions Answered, USICH Releases Reallocation Tool

Partnering with Landlords to End Homelessness

Meeting the Unique Needs of Families

Building Systems to End to Homelessness: HUD’s FY 2014 Continuum of Care Program Competition

Serving Young Children Experiencing Homelessness

How Our Shelter Began Focusing on Permanent Housing, And Started Ending Homelessness for Our Clients.

Hear from Two Community Partners about How They Are Ending Family Homelessness through Our Sept. 10 Webinar

Responding to the Crisis of Homelessness

Inspired by People: New Report Offers Alternatives to Criminalization

Connect with USICH at the NAEH Conference

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Is Law

Supportive Services for Veteran Families: A Powerful Tool to Keep Veterans and Their Families Home

Successful Partnerships through Aligned Missions and Empathetic Relationships

Communities Come Together to Discuss Coordinated Entry

Your Input Is Essential to the Ongoing Success of Opening Doors

Four Clarifications about Housing First

How to Talk About Housing First

Your Questions Answered - Webinar on Ending Family Homelessness - Part One

The Chance to Grow Up to Be Whatever You Want: Expanding Access to Services for Children and Families

Federal Partners Release Final 2014 HMIS Data Standards

Promising Starts: School-Based Homelessness Prevention Services

Opening Doors Works: USICH Releases Annual Update to Congress

Creating Meaningful Alternatives to Criminalization in Our Communities

Criminalizing Homelessness is Costly, Ineffective, and Infringes on Human Rights

3 Reasons to Address Homelessness as a Human Rights Issue

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! - a Tool for Housing & Shelter Providers

Starting Is the Starting Point for Coordinated Assessment

Fireman Foundation Finds that Rapid Re-Housing, Economic Opportunity are Key to Ending Family Homelessness

A Paradigm Shift: How Fairfax County Made Significant Gains in Ending Family Homelessness

I Believe in Human Rights: My Personal Commitment to Ending Homelessness

Leveraging the Affordable Care Act to Solve Homelessness: A Message to CoCs and Ten-Year Plan Leaders

Why Permanent Supportive Housing and Managed Care Need Each Other

Peer Mentors and Navigators are What We Need

Emerging research indicates rapid re-housing sets up for success

Ending Family Homelessness: A Message to Continuum of Care & Ten-Year Plan Leaders from Barbara Poppe

Mayor Nutter Addresses Homelessness in Speech to the US Conference of Mayors

Using Resources Effectively and Efficiently to Permanently End Homelessness for All Families

Looking to the End of Family Homelessness: A Pledge We Make to Our Children

The National Conference to End Family and Youth Homelessness and the Work of USICH’s Regional Coordinators

Keeping the Momentum for Ending Youth Homelessness: Reflections from Indianapolis and Beyond

NLIHC Releases New Report on Renters in Foreclosure

What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - September 4-7

The Siemer Institute on Family Stability: Maintaining Housing Stability to Ensure Academic Success

What will it take to end family homelessness?

Checklist: Ten Principles of Care for Families and Children Experiencing Homelessness

The President’s 2016 Budget makes investments to end chronic homelessness in 2017 and to make significant progress in ending homelessness across all other populations

The President's 2016 Budget is designed to bring middle class economics into the 21st Century....

National Alliance Issues Brief on Using ESG Program to Fund Rapid Re-Housing

The Alliance has published the first in a series of briefs that are meant to...

The National Center on Family Homelessness report that 2.5 million children experience homelessness annually in the U.S.

America's Youngest Outcasts, America's Youngest Outcasts documents the number of children expereincing...

HUD Provides Additional Funds for nearly 900 Local Homeless Programs across the Country

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced a...

Obama Administration Renews Critical Support for nearly 7,100 Local Homelessness Programs across U.S.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced nearly $1.6 billion in grants to renew support for 7,100...

Federal Resources That Can Fund Rapid Re-Housing

The crisis of homelessness among families largely stems from the shortage of affordable housing across...

The President’s 2016 Budget: Fact Sheet on Homelessness Assistance

President Obama’s 2016 Budget demonstrates his deep commitment to ending homelessness. The Budget makes...

The Affordable Care Act’s Role in Preventing and Ending Homelessness

What is the Affordable Care Act?  On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care...

Opening Doors: Homelessness Among Families

Current Trends According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Point...

Testing a Typology of Family Homelessness

Dennis P. Culhane, Stephen Metraux, Jung Min Park, Maryanne Schretzman and Jesse Valente May 2007 This...

Homeless Families and Children

John C. Buckner and Debra J. Rog May 2010 Since the mid-1990s, there has been...

Costs Associated with First Time Homelessness for Families and Individuals

Abt, Associates, Inc., Jill Khadduri, Josh Leopold, Brian Sokol, and Brooke Spellman March 2010 This study...

Variations in Maternal and Child Wellbeing by TANF Participation

Nancy E. Reichman, Julien O. Teitler, Irwin Garfinkel, and Sandra Garcia January 2004 "This study uses...

Promoting Medicaid and Food Stamp Participation

LaDonna Pavetti, Kathleen Maloy, and Liz Schott June 2002 This study, 'Promoting Medicaid and Food Stamp...

Final Report: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative

Jami Bodonyi, Laura Orlando, Briana Yancey, Renee Lamberjack, and Oma McClaughlin September 2008 Launched in 2000, Sound...

Housing Patterns of Low Income Families With Children

Daniel Gubits, Jill Khadduri and Jennifer Turnham September 2009 Housing Patterns of Low Income Families With...

Permanent Housing For Homeless Families: A Review of Opportunities and Impediments

Jill Khadduri and Bulbul Kaul Fall 2007 This report focuses on the role of federally funded...

Effects of Housing Choice Vouchers on Welfare Families

Gregory Mills, Daniel Gubits, Larry Orr, David Long, Judie Feins, Bulbul Kaul, and Michelle Wood ...

Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative, Early Exits: Lessons Learned from Families Asked to Leave Transitional Housing Programs

Jami Bodonyi, Laura Orlando, Briana Yancey, and Renee Lamberjack April 2006 In 2000, the Bill & Melinda...

Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Preliminary Researchon Family Characteristics, Program Models, and Outcomes

Ellen L. Bassuk, Nicholas Huntington, Cheryl H. Amey, Kim Lampereur February 2006 Homelessness in America is...

Characteristics of Transitional Housing for Homeless Families

Martha R. Burt September 7, 2006 This report was written in preparation for a larger study sponsored...

Health Behaviors and Infant Health Outcomes in Homeless Pregnant Women in The United States

Rickelle Richards, Ray M. Merrill, and Laurie Baksh August 2011 The objective of this study is...

U.S. Housing Insecurity and the Health of Very Young Children

Diana Becker Cutts, Alan F. Meyers, Maureen M. Black, Patrick H. Casey, Mariana Chilton, John...

Homeless Children: Update on Research, Policy, Programs, and Opportunities

Judith Samuels, Marybeth Shinn, and John C. Buckner May 2010 This paper provides an update on...

An Exploration of Child Maltreatment Among Homeless Families: Implications For Family Policy 

John T. Pardeck May 2005 This research explores the incidence of child maltreatment among homeless families....

The Patterns and Costs of Services Use among Homeless Families

Dennis Culhane, Jung Min Park, Stephen Metraux October 2011 This study examines families’ use of...

Predictors of Homelessness and Doubling-Up Among at Risk Families

Angela Fertig and David Reingold August 2008 Over the last 25 years homeless families with children have...

Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children

Debra J. Rog, C. Scott Holupka and Lisa C. Patton Fall 2007 Westat, in collaboration with...

TANF Leavers: Examining the Relationship Between the Receipt of Housing Assistance and Post-TANF Well-Being

David C. Mancuso, Charles J. Lieberman, Vanessa L. Lindler, and Anne Moses 2003 This article describes...

Children’s Health Insurance Program: CHIP

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a partnership between the Federal and...

Approaching Homelessness from a Human Rights Perspective

Remarks delivered by Liz Osborn, USICH Management and Program Analyst, at the U.S. Department...

Collective Impact Works

Remarks delivered by Laura Green Zeilinger, USICH Executive Director, at Ballard Spahr’s National...

Coordinated Assessment: Putting the Key Pieces in Place

Remarks by Eric Grumdahl at a gathering of community stakeholders focused on ending Veteran and...

Opening Doors Together: Strategies for Integrating Education and Housing Services

  USICH and the Departments of Education (ED) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) discuss...

April 2015 Council Meeting

On April 14, U.S. Department of Labor and USICH Chair Secretary Thomas Perez convened the...

Role of Long-Term, Congregate Transitional Housing in Ending Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness ...

October 2014 Council Meeting

Council Explores Progress on Ending Homelessness and Federal Action Going Forward Just ahead of reporting...

Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness

Ending homelessness for families and children is a priority for the nation and each community....

Progressive Engagement

In 2009, Congress passed the HEARTH Act, which set the stage for a new way of...

Program Profile: Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) McCarver Special Housing Program

The problem of high school mobility is one that affects many students and districts across...

Experts Share Successes on Using Mainstream Resources for Families Experiencing Homelessness

The September 2012 USICH Council meeting on family homelessness featured two experts from the field: Associate...

September 2012 Council Meeting on Family Homelessness

On September 12, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hosted the third Council meeting...

Families with Children

Opening Doors established a national goal to end homelessness among families and children in...