Formerly Homeless

Who Is Formerly Homeless?

Formerly Homeless is an organization that consists of more than 100 individuals who have experienced homelessness personally and professionally. Experiencing homelessness personally includes living on the streets and/or in shelters. It also includes living seriously at risk of becoming homeless over long periods of time but managing to avert homelessness. Experiencing homelessness professionally includes employment and community service with a wide-range of public and private institutions.

Their personal experience includes recovery from substance use, mental illness, human trafficking, domestic violence, prostitution, physical disabilities, and chronic health conditions. Such conditions and circumstances often lead to homelessness or contribute to an on-going state of living on the brink of homelessness.

Professional experience includes past and current employment with public and private organizations that seek to prevent and end homelessness such as local government, non-profit agencies, and faith-based groups. Professional experience also includes community service as members of board of directors, committees, commissions, coalitions, and civic groups that seek to improve the quality of life of local communities including those persons who experienced homelessness or are living at risk of becoming homeless.

Formerly Homeless is also made up of a group of supporters who have not experienced homelessness nor have been at risk of becoming homeless but also have professional experience with homelessness through research, public policy, and community service. Such supporters include academics, appointed officials, elected officials, local government employees, non-profit staff, and active members of local congregations and community groups including committees, commissions, coalitions, civic groups, business and neighborhood associations, and members of boards of directors. Such supporters also include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designated continuums of care that are largely made up of a wide-range of public and private stakeholders that receive funding from HUD to prevent and end homelessness.

What Is Formerly Homeless?

Formerly Homeless helps local jurisdictions adopt, adapt, and implement evidence-based and best practices in order to solve and end homelessness within their neighborhoods and larger communities. The collective experience of organizational members has helped integrate such practices which have proven to be effective once they are combined successfully. They include:

  • Housing First;
  • Rapid Rehousing;
  • Progressive Engagement;
  • Street Outreach and Engagement;
  • Housing Search and Navigation;
  • Home-based Case Management; and
  • Directed Homeless Prevention

Why Formerly Homeless?

An organization is needed to help distinguish and decrease the number of persons who have multiple and severe service needs and that include chronic health conditions, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, mental health problems, and substance abuse issues and have been living and languishing on the streets for years. They have become the most visible and hardest to help of all homeless persons and have been termed Group B because they have not been able to meet the entrance criteria and agree and adhere to the rules of programs designed for persons who become homeless.

Group A consists of those persons who become homeless and are able to meet the entrance criteria and agree and adhere to the rules of programs designed for persons who become homeless. They have successfully exited their state of homelessness whereas persons making up Group B are unable or unwilling to access these programs for a variety of reasons noted in the list of evidence-based and best practices above.

Formerly Homeless disseminates results and recommendations after helping local jurisdictions adopt, adapt and implement evidence-based and best practices for persons making up Group B. Dissemination to local stakeholders and policymakers is accomplished through written reports and presentations in order to create, continue, or change these practices when needed within their jurisdictions.

Reports include briefs that focus on the results of local research, program design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based and best practices for persons making up Group B. They often include next steps based on findings and recommendations made by organizational members and supporters for jurisdictional stakeholders and policymakers to help ensure persons making up Group B exit their state of homelessness.

Presentations include round-table discussions, forums, workshops, conferences, and meetings during which members of Formerly Homeless including supporters interact with stake holders, policy makers, and other interested persons in order to create, continue, or change evidence-based and best practices within their jurisdictions. Follow-up events are common.

For more information, please contact Joe Colletti, PhD, at joecolletti@urban-initiatives.org