Affordable Housing and Homelessness

In 2017, the Partnership for Better Health launched a new initiative to reduce homelessness in Cumberland and Perry Counties by advancing systemic strategies that will increase access to permanent housing and expand economic opportunities for low-income individuals and families. Understanding that success will require many partners working together on shared goals, we formed a Leadership Advisory Council on Housing Systems Change.

In January 2018, the Advisory Council developed and adopted a Housing Systems Change Roadmap for Cumberland and Perry Counties. The purpose of the roadmap is to:

  1. Guide future Partnership for Better Health grants and investments in systemic change strategies that are comprehensive in nature and designed to improve all aspects of how a set of organizations or systems
  2. Inspire, engage and mobilize public, private and nonprofit organizations to work collectively towards a better system for connecting families and individuals experiencing or at risk for homelessness with safe and affordable housing opportunities; and,
  3. Ensure residents have full access to the Eastern Pennsylvania Continuum of Care’s new Coordinated Entry System for accessing federally and state-funded homeless prevention, housing and supportive services.

The Partnership and the Leadership Advisory Council envision a coordinated and robust housing system, in which:

  • Homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring for all families and individuals;
  • All residents have access to safe and affordable housing opportunities;
  • People can easily access childcare, education and employment opportunities, as well as health, legal, mental health and other services that foster permanent housing stability and self-sufficiency; and
  • A safe place to call home is the cornerstone for healthy people, thriving communities, educational success and a vibrant economy.

In order to advance our vision for change, cross-sector partners in government, philanthropy, business and the nonprofit sector will work together to achieve the following strategic goals over the next three years.

  1. Coordinate access, assessment, prioritization and referral for housing and services that end and prevent homelessness for all families and individuals, including specific strategies to address the needs of: 1) children, 2) people fleeing domestic violence or abuse, 3) unaccompanied youth, 4) veterans and 5) people with disabilities.
  2. Create more affordable housing opportunities by engaging landlords, securing adequate resources for Rapid Re-Housing and Supportive Housing programs, and advocating for the development or rehabilitation of affordable housing units.
  3. Streamline and increase access to employment and job training opportunities for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, including supportive employment for people with disabilities.
  4. Build the collaborative capacity and resiliency of nonprofit organizations delivering affordable housing and homeless services.