On Thursday, October 1, CWLA hosted a pre-summit webinar titled One Roof: Housing and Child Welfare Partnerships Supporting Families in Crisis with speakers from Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and Hennepin County to discuss the One Roof effort being implemented in Minnesota. One Roof is the collaborative national effort advancing housing solutions designed to keep or reunify families safely together and stabilized in their own homes with access to services. CSH’s goal is to provide families with a place to call home and give them the support they need. The supportive housing model combines affordable housing with services that help people face the most complex challenges to live with stability, autonomy, and dignity.
One Roof was established as a CSH national collective effort to break the intergenerational cycle of homelessness, housing instability, child welfare involvement, and poor outcomes for children, youth, and families. It recognizes stability as a foundational concept and acknowledges that housing stability affects levels of involvement with the child welfare system. Housing stability is one of the most significant barriers to returning children to their homes from foster care, and CSH is working to remove that barrier for families.
Hennepin County, Minnesota, established a plan to address housing instability and made housing a priority within the county. The program is currently in the planning stage but will be implemented next year. It focuses on how housing is a protective factor; children and youth are more likely to flourish now and later in life when they have a stable place to call home. The plan also aims to keep families together through a two-generation approach, which includes both the adults and children of the family. Some of the plan’s projected outcomes are reduced homelessness, increased housing stability, reduced family separation, lower child welfare involvement, children reunited with their families, and improved school attendance.
The presentation included a study conducted by the Children’s Bureau titled “Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Child Welfare Involved Families” and resulted in the following conclusions: supportive housing ends homelessness for families, supportive housing can help families stay together, and reunify site differences matter; families selected, housing type, services offered, service delivery, the housing market, child welfare practices, cost offsets but not enough to pay for the program, and need to track longer-term outcomes on child and family well-being.
The Housing Stability Estimator is a tool that was established to help case managers and supervisors identify families in the child welfare system at risk of homelessness and connect them to resources. It also helps identify barriers to stable housing and is ideally used within the first 30 days while developing a case plan. The family responds to the questions, and they go through the tool again when the case plan is being updated. The goal is for caseworkers to understand what the housing needs are for the family and provide recommendations and resources for the family based on their score.