Future of collaboration = the City + Housing Advocates + Civic, Business & Philanthropic partners
Philadelphia 100-Day Challenge to End Street Homelessness


THE PROBLEM: Who Is on the Streets

Scope of the Problem:
In the 2016 Point-In-Time Count:  there were 774 chronically homeless individuals:  372 sheltered and 402 unsheltered.  Research by Dr. Dennis Culhane at the University of Pennsylvania identified 2,703 people in Philadelphia who met the definition of chronically homeless during a three-year period.

Chronically homeless individuals are unaccompanied homeless individuals with disabilities who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years (must be a cumulative of 12 months).

Although chronically homeless individuals make up a small percentage of the overall homeless population, they are among the most vulnerable and tend to have high rates of behavioral health problems, including severe mental illness and substance use disorders. Because of this, they are frequent users of emergency services, crisis response, and public safety systems Culhane also found that 20 percent of the chronically homeless individuals identified in Philadelphia were responsible for 60 percent total public service costs to that cohort, mainly from psychiatric care and incarceration.


$15,000-$25,000: Provide one individual with one year of permanent supportive housing

Permanent Supportive Housing:
A nationally recognized best practice for addressing chronic homelessness because it is cost effective and has been shown to reduce public costs. Permanent Supportive Housing is subsidized housing paired with supportive services appropriate to client’s need. Units can be located in single buildings (“congregate housing”) or multiple locations (“scattered site”).

  • Housing First:
    The model is simple: provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Housing comes first no matter what is going on in one’s life, and the housing is flexible and independent so that people get housed easily and stay housed.
  • Master Leasing:
    A legal contract in which a third party (other than the actual tenant) enters into a lease agreement with the property owner and is responsible for tenant selection and collection of rental payments from sub-lessees (see sublease).

Provide one year of funding to offer this service to individuals

Representative Payee:
A person who receives another person’s income source (including SSI, SSDI, pension, vet benefits, employment income, legal settlements, etc.) check on their behalf in order to help them manage their funds. This is a particularly useful tool for working with vulnerable individuals

Establish this service for individuals for one year.

Integrated and Mobile Healthcare:
Increasing access to basic healthcare services among people experiencing homelessness is vital. This healthcare should come in a variety of flexible and mobile models to treat people where they are. Additionally, healthcare should be integrated between behavioral health and physical health providers. In Philadelphia this could mean the addition of psychiatrists.

Download print version of Housing Innovations Chronic Homelessness concept paper.



Scope of the Problem:
Unprecedented increase in the number of individuals who have recently become homeless

Root Causes:
Rising market rent prices in previously blighted neighborhoods, coupled with the loss of jobs in those areas, have resulted in a surge in homelessness. In addition, our country is facing one of the biggest drug epidemics we have seen in decades, and Philadelphia is at the epicenter of that epidemic.

We have the chance to prevent people from becoming chronically homeless by working intensively with those who are more recently homeless


$4,800: Provide rent to keep one household housed for one year

Shallow Rent Subsidies:
Shallow rent subsidies present an opportunity to transition individuals out of homelessness, and towards self-sufficiency.  An alternative to deep subsidies, which typically equate to 30% of an individual’s income, shallow rent subsidies equate to a pre-determined rent, set below the market value for rent in a particular area or dwelling. A multi-unit dwelling can have two tiers of shallow rent subsidies, such as one for individuals without an income and one for those with an income. They can be provided on a temporary basis (1-2 years) until an individual becomes more stable and can transition to more permanent housing. Long-term, subsidies preserve the affordability of a neighborhood, reducing homelessness in that neighborhood.

$14,000: Provide one individual with 6 months of residential treatment and support 

Short Term Residential Rehab:
Philadelphia’s Division of Behavioral Health, Office of Addiction Services, and Office of Homeless Services effectively provide residential treatment geared to serve chronically homeless individuals through the Journey of Hope.  Unlike traditional treatment, the program offers low demand, long-term treatment stays of six months up to one year, using evidence-based practices and building therapeutic communities. To transition to housing, participants receive case management and support re-integrating into the community to sustain their recovery. This highly successful model can be adapted for individuals with more recent homelessness, preventing more people from staying on the street longer due to their addiction.

$7,200: Provide one year of paid inyternship to jumpstart an employment history

Vocational Rehabilitation:
Job re-training for individuals re-entering the job market after several years is critical.  Unemployment is as high as 24% among 24-44 year olds and as high as 16% among 45-55 year olds. More critical is job placement, as well as paid internships that will pave the road for employment for those whose addictions have kept them from forming a meaningful employment history. Building an employment history and becoming gainfully employed is critical to keeping individuals with shorter histories of homelessness from becoming chronically homeless.

Download print version of Housing Innovations Non Chronic Homelessness concept paper.



Scope of the Problem:
Just last year, more than 500 young people seeking emergency housing were turned away at one provider alone, due to capacity.  This is about 10 young people a week! And this is at only one agency.   Many of these young people end up sleeping on the street, or spending the night in places that expose them to multiple risks involving physical and/or psychological harm and exploitation.

Root Causes:
Conflict and/or abuse at home is the number one reason young people cite for experiencing homelessness.  A national study showed that 36% of young people who aged out of foster care experienced homelessness, for at least one night, after exiting the foster care system.   Up to 40% of young people experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ, many of whom encounter rejection from their families or community. Due to historical and institutional racism and other structural inequities, overwhelmingly, young people in crisis are disproportionately youth of color.

It is our responsibility and duty to prevent and end youth homelessness


$60,000: Provide annual pool of Emergency Crisis funds for community-wide provider team

Emergency Crisis Fund:
We need the funds to assist young people in immediately addressing barriers to maintaining housing, such as back rent, utility costs, transportation costs, etc. It is much easier and cheaper to prevent homelessness, by keeping someone housed, than to move them from crisis homelessness to safety.

$80,000: Cover the costs to scale this nascent Host Home housing model for one year

Host Homes Program:
Host homes are an arrangement between a community member and a service provider in which the community member provides a homeless youth with food and shelter, while the service provider provides program support and coordination. Host homes are economical in that they rely on a community’s strongest resource – its people.  Program costs include overall coordination, host recruitment and training, and ongoing host support and youth case management.  Host homes are flexible because they can be used as both emergency shelter and longer-term transition-like housing, depending on the needs of an individual youth.

$42,000: Cover cost for one youth to coordinate youth team and provide stipends for additional youth participants

Youth Voice:
As best practices indicate, we need to learn from, and authentically engage, young people who have experienced homelessness about how to build a coordinated system of care.  As equal members in the development of a system of care, youth need to be compensated for their work/contributions.

$200,000: Provide funding for Foyer Model housing and support for 10 youth for one year

Foyer Model:
An innovative positive youth development and trauma-informed transitional supportive housing model that focuses on youth who are aging out of foster care or who are already homeless.  It is similar to a transitional housing program but with minimal program requirements.  Young adults live semi-independently, in dormitory-style studio apartments or suites, while receiving a continuum of services to help them gain the competencies and confidence necessary for long-term self-sufficiency.

$5,000: Create and maintain a cell phone Resource App for one year

Resource App:
Funding to create a cell phone app, developed by youth, to direct youth and young adults to available supports and resources to more quickly address their housing related needs.

Download print version of Housing Innovations Youth Homelessness concept paper.