Programs that provide shelter and a safe place to sleep as well as access to food, medical care and other types of assistance for children and/or youth who have run away from or been pushed out of their homes, or who are acting out and at risk for abuse pending return to their own families or a suitable alternative placement. The most common causes for youth becoming homeless, in addition to being kicked out of their homes or running away, are being abandoned or neglected, experiencing financial hardship, aging out of foster care, conflicts related to their sexual orientation, having a substance use disorder or experiencing the death of a family member or guardian. Such facilities usually provide in-house individual, group and family counselling and the full range of other secondary services related to runaways and other homeless youth including referral to appropriate resources. Homeless youth are different than homeless adults because they often have not learned the essential life skills needed to live on their own such as how to drive or ride a bus, get a job or pay bills. Homeless youth are also more likely than other youth their age to experience mental illness, suffer poor health, drop out of school, and become involved with or victims of criminal activity, including being exploited, abused or even killed.
Programs that provide a temporary place to stay (usually three days to two weeks), generally in dormitory-style facilities with very little privacy, for people who have no permanent housing.
Programs that provide transportation services for homeless people from the streets to a local shelter with available space, either from a established pick-up site or by appointment from the individual’s current location. Also included are programs that provide transportation between shelters or to and from medical clinics, detoxification facilities, public assistance offices and other local service providers.
Programs that provide comprehensive assessment, ongoing case management, work readiness, job training, job development, job placement services, post-placement follow-up and/or supportive services that are tailored to the specific needs of homeless individuals who need assistance preparing for, finding and retaining paid employment. Many programs specifically target outreach and enrollment efforts on homeless individuals or specific groups within the homeless population (e.g., homeless veterans, homeless youth, homeless individuals with serious mental illness, permanent supportive housing residents); and some partner with other organizations working with people who are homeless such as local mental health agencies; one-stop career centres; community-based nonprofit vocational rehabilitation agencies; case management organizations; housing agencies; and the local public housing authority.
Programs that are staffed by outreach workers who spend time with people who live on the street, build relationships with them, identify and address their immediate needs (e.g., crisis intervention, food, clean clothing, hygiene kits, blankets, someone to listen) and provide information about and linkage to longer-term forms of support such as shelter, counselling, drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation, care/case management and, where applicable, family reunification services. Street outreach programs may be staffed by volunteers or peers who were formerly homeless; and may target special populations such as homeless youth at risk for sexual abuse or exploitation, veterans, or people with specific medical or mental health conditions, or be available to the larger homeless population.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.