Research Request: Homelessness in the Community


As part of your membership benefits, the Alliance staff provide research services for local government member submitted requests. Topics can range from pressing issues to emerging trends. This benefit is made possible through our partnership with Arizona State University Marvins Andrews Fellowship

Request Prompt:

“What approaches are local governments taking at the local and regional level to address homelessness? What types of data and results are being collected at the local government level?” 

Summary of Findings: 


Mesa Community Court - Mesa, AZ 

Defendants who commit these crimes are frequently homeless and may struggle with alcohol or drug addiction and mental illness. Our traditional criminal justice model does not and cannot address these issues. Relying on jail as the sole sanction does not address the underlying problems that drive recidivism by this population and creates cost with little or no result. 

Mesa Community Court serves chronic justice system offenders who commit low level crimes, fail to comply with court orders, or who fail to appear for Court. These offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated through alternative strategies. The Mesa Community Court is intended to provide a combined response of services needed by the defendant, and a mitigation of sanctions based on the progress of the defendant. 

PHX Cares – Phoenix, AZ  

“PHX C.A.R.E.S. sends trained outreach teams, that take the time to build rapport and trust with people on the street, to encourage them to accept the services and resources that are offered to help end their homelessness.” 

Stable Homes, Stable Schools - Minneapolis, MN (& Hennepin County, MN)  

The City of Minneapolis is planning to spend $10 million on the program over the next three years, or about $3.35 million a year. The Pohlad Family Foundation has committed $500,000 to help families who are housed but face instability or eviction. Other funding comes from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and in-kind services from Hennepin County. 

“The Stable Homes, Stable Schools program will support as many as 648 students, or 20 percent of all MPS students experiencing homelessness, according to the fact sheet. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority will administer the program.” 

Heroes Into Homes – Lincoln, NB 


  • "There are probably close to 20 agencies that are working on this every day because it takes a village,” 

  • “... have the capacity to get the veterans housed as fast as possible” 

  • “A collaborative group of 45 organizations developed a continuum of care plan to provide what individuals — veterans and others — need as they move from homelessness to self-sufficiency...” 

Decade to Doorways - Chester County, PA  

As part of a larger goal to eliminate homelessness in the County by 2022, “It’s the fourth consecutive year Chester County’s 2019 Point in Time Count showed a decrease in those experiencing homelessness.” 

Full report to be released in April 2019 



Continuum of Care - Maricopa Association of Governments- Maricopa County, AZ 

The Continuum of Care Board is the decision-making body for the Continuum of Care. Members of the Board include local officials, service provider agencies, formerly homeless individuals, and advocates. The Board addresses regional issues relating to homelessness and approves the annual application for homeless assistance funding to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and addresses regional issues relating to homelessness. Aligned with the goals of HUD’s Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, the Board works toward ending homelessness by focusing on rapid transition to housing solutions. 

How Local Governments Can Build an Effective Homelessness System 

Cynthia Nagendra, director, The Alliance Center for Capacity Building, National Alliance to End Homelessness 

Pillar 1: Leveraging evidence, measuring outcomes 

An effective system must be focused on outcomes: 

  • Are you reducing the total number of homeless individuals and families? 

  • Are you reducing the length of time that someone experiences homelessness? 

  • Are you reducing returns to homelessness? 

Pillar 2: Building a coordinated coalition 

Pillar 3: Investing Wisely 

To learn more about how to prevent and end homelessness in your community, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness at

New Tool to Support Local Homelessness Efforts 

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) partnered with the League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Joint Homelessness Task Force on a new report that cities and counties can use to implement their own homelessness efforts. The report offers information and research, case studies of creative city and county programs addressing homelessness, funding resources and a template that local governments can use to create a homelessness plan. Access the full report here



Homelessness Reduction Act – United Kingdom  

“A major report by the Local Government Association based on a survey answered by 150 councils – about half the total – has found that the numbers of people presenting with the threat of being made homeless has risen dramatically.” 

“To truly get to the root of the problem, the government must invest in more genuinely affordable housing as well as reviewing the impact of welfare reforms like the benefit cap, universal credit and the housing benefit freeze for private renters.” 

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