Even under normal circumstances, service providers struggle to meet the needs of children and families experiencing homelessness. And, these are far from normal times. Millions of families are now at risk of homelessness due to the impact of COVID-19. The danger associated with unsheltered homelessness and congregate living has increased for single adults and families alike. It has become more challenging for children experiencing homelessness to stay connected to school, more challenging for parents to find and keep employment safely, and more difficult for families to find new housing options to escape homelessness.

The Alliance and its national partners released the Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response to help state and local stakeholders make the most strategic use of new resources to help people experiencing homelessness during this pandemic, including philanthropic funding and CARES Act funding (such as ESG-CV). In December, these partners released three new Framework resources specifically focused on the need for investments to support programs serving children and families experiencing homelessness.

  • Making the Case for Families and Children explains why a separate COVID-19 strategy for families and children is necessary. It also presents guiding principles for allocating funds, including the critical importance of advancing racial justice and equity in allocating funding, targeting those with the highest needs first, using funds strategically, growing partnerships across service systems, and getting people back into housing quickly.
  • Responding to Homeless Families’ Needs During the COVID-19 Crisis provides a picture of the unique risks children and families face during the COVID-19 crisis, including the disparate risk of both homelessness and COVID-19 among Black families and other families of color. The paper also outlines funding priorities to support children and families, including funding needed to: help unsheltered families stay safe, provide safe and comprehensive services to families in shelter programs (including access to educational supports for children), and re-house families quickly. It also addresses how to use resources strategically and provides recommended steps to promote race equity.
  • Video: Making the Case for Families and Children During the Pandemic is a short video profiling Cicely Dove (Crossroads Rhode Island) and Elizabeth Eastlund (Rainbow Services) who make a call for action for policymakers and other funders to center the needs of children and families experiencing homelessness in the planning for protecting people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19.

Read the full article about supporting homeless children and families by Sharon McDonald at The National Alliance to End Homelessness.