Rural Homelessness

HUD, in partnership with USICH and other federal partners, established All Routes Home: Ending Homelessness in Rural America – a strategy to end homelessness in rural communities. This page supports All Routes Home by providing resources to help rural communities address homelessness. Strategies for addressing homelessness that work well in urban areas may not be effective in rural areas. Additionally, resources and infrastructure for providing emergency homeless services and addressing underlying issues that cause homelessness are often scarce. Rural CoCs may utilize these resources when navigating specific programmatic, funding, communication, and geographic circumstances unique to rural communities when providing services to the homeless or organizing a CoC.

Find by Topic

Strategies for Addressing Rural Homelessness

Balance of State Continuum of Care Toolkit

Discusses key areas where Balance of State (BoS) Continuums of Care (CoCs) face unique challenges and highlights what other BoS CoCs have done to address these areas. The toolkit includes access to a robust set of federal and local resources.

Date Published: July 2018

Vets@Home Toolkit: Connecting to Permanent Housing

Provides best practices, key strategies, action items, and considerations for CoCs, Veterans Affairs (VA) partners, and local public officials that can be implemented immediately to focus efforts on ending homelessness for veterans, with special considerations for unique markets such as rural communities.

Date Published: Semptember 2015

Prevention Strategies in Rural Areas

Enables users to learn and share strategies that increase the capacity of rural communities to implement effective homeless prevention strategies and improve planning and support of pioneering developments that can be implemented in rural localities.

Date Published: October 2010

Service Delivery in Rural Areas

Provides CoCs a better understanding of how to: effectively engage the homeless, at risk and special needs populations in their communities; link these populations with needed services; develop strategies for how to work with the community as a whole to recognize the needs of people who are homeless and at-risk and how to best serve these needs.

Date Published: October 2010

Data Collection Challenges in Rural Areas

Provides a summary of and solutions to challenges faced by service providers including: limited resources, broad service offerings for diverse populations, transportation and communication, lack of best practices and training materials, limited funding, capacity and technology.

Date Published: October 2010

Continuum of Care 101

Provides practical information concerning how HUD funds homeless programs and how the local system is organized so that rural CoCs may be more strategic concerning the services they offer and the role they play in the system.

Date Published: June 2009

Rural Affordable Housing and Services

A Primer on Affordable Housing Development and Key Funding Sources

This resource provides a high-level overview of affordable housing development phases and highlights potential funding resources for each phase of your project.

Date Published: November 2022

Addressing Homelessness in Rural Communities: A Technical Assistance Guide

The Addressing Homeless in Rural Communities Guidebook is designed to give community partners, Continuums of Care (CoCs), service providers, and other housing stakeholders a look at housing and services resources to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in rural areas.

Date Published: September 2022

Governance of Rural CoCs

How to Govern Geographically Diverse CoCs: Leading by Providing a Regional Voice

This resource outlines how a Continuum of Care (CoC) that encompasses several jurisdictions can effectively govern those jurisdictions. This resource specifically focuses on balancing local autonomy and central leadership, addresses key components of how to fund this kind of governance structure, and covers how to engage people experiencing homelessness in these situations.

Date Published: December 2018

Rural Governance and Management

Provides information specific to CoCs serving all or some rural areas, such as Balance of State or Statewide CoCs, about various types of governance models and structures.

Date Published: October 2010

Governance and Capacity Building for Homeless Providers in Rural Areas

Explores the unique challenges that rural areas face in terms of organizational management, capacity building, decision-making, and planning.

Date Published: October 2010

Federal and National Partner Resources

Addressing Homelessness in Rural Communities: A Technical Assistance Guide

The Addressing Homeless in Rural Communities Guidebook is designed to give community partners, CoCs, service providers, and other housing stakeholders a look at housing and services resources to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in rural areas. A summary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and HUD programs are reviewed to include an array of allocations, grants, and loans that serve to offer rental assistance and the development of affordable rental housing for vulnerable tenants, including those experiencing homelessness.

Date Published: September 2022

Federal Funding Tool for Addressing Homelessness in Rural Communities

The Federal Funding Tool for Addressing Homelessness in Rural Communities, developed by an interagency working group of federal partners focused on better aligning homeless response efforts in support of rural communities, is intended to provide an easy way for rural communities to identify a wide array of federal programs and resources that can support their work to prevent and end homelessness.

Date Published: April 2019

Community Economic Development (CED) Profile Booklet

This resource highlights the range and diversity of economic development and housing development projects implemented by Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the country. These examples show the impact in jobs created, housing units developed, and income earned by the CAAs.

Date Published: November 2018

Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse

This report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) identifies a listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural communities.

Date Published: October 2018

Challenges and Strategies for Serving Unstably Housed Veterans in Rural Areas: Evidence from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program

This brief by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) describes three broad categories of challenges to serving Veterans in rural areas: identifying unstably housed veterans; providing services given the resources available in the rural context; and leveraging effective collaboration to serve veterans in those areas. The authors subsequently propose strategies and resources needed to overcome these challenges.

Date Published: October 2018

Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in Rural America

This report by Chapin Hall uses data to show that youth homelessness is just as common in rural areas as it is in urban areas. The report outlines challenges that rural communities face as they serve youth experiencing homelessness and gives some recommendations on how to move forward.

Date Published: October 2018

Strengthening Systems for Ending Rural Homelessness: Promising Practices and Considerations

This report by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) explores the unique challenges of building effective rural homelessness response systems and provides an initial set of strategies communities can use to take advantage of their unique strengths.

Date Published: June 2018

SAMHSA Tools and Resources for Specific Populations

Learn how the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) is taking action by creating programs and work initiatives to improve behavioral health of people who live in specific populations such as people who live in rural areas and people experiencing homelessness.

Date Published: Ongoing

Tools and Resources for Rural Issues

National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) maintains a list of Rural resources on their website.

Date Published: Ongoing

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services: Homelessness in Rural America Policy Brief

During its April 2014 meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services discussed the unique needs and characteristics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in rural America.

Date Published: July 2014

USICH Report to Congress on Homeless Veterans

This report provides an assessment by USICH of the efforts by HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program to address homelessness experienced by Veterans in rural communities and on Native American reservations.

Date Published: December 2012