Housing and Community Development Department

Homelessness Prevention

Homelessness affects millions of individuals nationwide, not only impacting those experiencing it, but also their communities. The annual cost of homelessness for an estimated 1,500 persons in Houston between January 2012 and August 2015 was $103 million. This cost included social services, legal services and emergency room care.

The City of Houston’s solution has been the reallocation of $102 million in federal, state and local funds received by the Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) over a period of approximately four years. In an unprecedented collaboration involving area agencies and nonprofits providing homeless service, HCDD used its funds to help build, and is now supporting the maintenance of, a proactive “Housing First” model which is providing permanent supportive housing with wraparound supportive services to address the mental, physical and behavioral needs of homeless persons. This approach, combined with a coordinated access system to streamlined services with partner agencies, has catapulted the City of Houston to the top of the nation in housing the homeless.

The City of Houston was nationally recognized by The White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the largest city to effectively end veteran homelessness in 2015 and has served as a model for other cities looking to take an innovative and proactive approach to addressing homelessness. With nearly a 70% reduction in chronic homelessness and 50% reduction in overall homelessness, the city continues to invest in providing permanent supportive housing and to share information with other cities looking to replicate results and engage in meaningful change.

Meaningful change can only be achieved through partnership with agencies working towards the same goal. To learn more about Houston’s homelessness initiative, please visit the links below: