North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Best Practices: Retooling Transitional Housing (TH)

What is Transitional Housing?

Transitional Housing (TH) programs offer homeless individuals and families for up to 24 months.  Wrap-around support services, including case management and tenancy supports, are provided along with housing in order to create a more stable environment and ultimately transition into independent permanent housing. 
TH programs can operate in two different models:
  • Facility-based programs are the more traditional TH program model. In these programs groups of families or individuals are located on the same site and share a living space. Services are provided to address needs of the family with the goal of moving participants into permanent housing after they successfully complete the program.
  • Transition-in-Place programs provide the services of the traditional TH program to individuals and families who live in scattered-site units in the community. After the program ends, the participants are provided the option of staying in their housing permanently. 
As the homeless service system moves from managing homelessness to ending homelessness, many TH programs are retooling their programs to reduce length of time in the program and increase successful exits to permanent housing. 

Target Population

Individuals and families requiring additional support to transition from homelessness into stable, independent housing. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness and National Alliance to End Homlessness recommend reserving TH programs for special need populations like domestic violence survivors, those in recovery from substance abuse and unaccompanied youth. 

Links to resources

Though HUD’s funding priorities have shifted away from Transitional Housing, this 2006 webinar nonetheless provides an outline of essential elements of this housing design as well as examples of successful Transitional Housing programs nationwide.
The USICH and National Alliance to End Homelessness provide guidance about how communities can strategically target and use existing TH programs to end homelessness. 

Funding Opportunities for Transitional Housing

  • Emergency Solutions Grant Program
  • Veterans Administration: Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD)

Approaches that Work

Are you planning to redesign your transitional-housing program?  This workshop presented by NAEH will help you identify the steps to consider and provide tools for taking those steps.  Professionals with expertise in this area will provide insight into the specific successes of their programs.
This video blog provides several inspiring examples of transitional housing programs that have been reframed in order to serve a greater number of people and return folks to stable housing more quickly.  Specifically, you will follow the transition of two programs in Memphis and one in Pennsylvania that have been great successes.
This informative webinar provides tips on how Transitional Housing programs can evaluate their effectiveness and priorities and assess the possibility of shifting into a Rapid Re-Housing model that moves people more quickly into permanent housing.
Illustrated here is a case example of a Transitional Housing program in Grand Rapids, MI that retooled its temporary housing model into a Rapid Re-Housing approach.  The executive director points to the goals of anticipating and gathering resources and remaining focused on priorities.
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