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COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Housing Problem-Solving


Date Published: October 2021


Housing problem-solving is a person-centered, housing-focused approach to explore creative, safe, and cost-effective solutions to quickly resolve a housing crisis. As a philosophy and approach, housing problem-solving is not rooted in historically marginalizing practices. Instead, it is a fundamental approach for everyone that is not contingent upon the same standardized assessment used for other housing resources, screening, eligibility, or prioritization and does not require significant financial resources. Adopting housing problem-solving techniques system-wide is a critical strategy for building and strengthening a diverse array of resources needed to prevent housing loss and help people exit homelessness. Many Continuums of Care (CoCs) are considering incorporating housing problem-solving approaches into their systems for the first time with limited insight on what it is.

In the following video, Technical Assistance (TA) providers, Ed Boyte and Mary Frances Kenion, model what a real housing problem-solving conversation should look like. In this unscripted discussion, viewers will observe:

  • Open-ended questions
  • Deep, active, nonjudgmental listening
  • An empathetic person-centered approach
  • A problem-solving partnership centered on client choice
  • Parallel short and long-term planning with a menu of creative options

Visit the Disease Risks and Homelessness page on the HUD Exchange for a full list of resources related to COVID-19 infectious disease prevention and response for homeless providers.

The contents of these materials, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These materials are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

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Tags: CoC COVID-19 ESG
Author Organization
  • HUD
Resource Approver
  • HUD Approved