In recent years, many cities in the U.S. have witnessed a widespread and growing crisis of homelessness. Cities from Los Angeles to New York City devoted historic amounts of resources to city and county agencies to help understand the magnitude of the crises in order to effectively target and assist vulnerable populations (LA Times, 2021; NYC Comptroller). Other cities with smaller homeless populations like Houston have had success with permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing programs that have provided stable living arrangements for thousands of people experiencing homelessness (Coalition for the Homeless). Across the country, cities have used COVID-19 relief funds in creative ways to direct resources toward housing, services, and prevention through nonprofit organizations and city/county agency partnerships (LA Times, 2021). As the issue of homelessness continues to evolve, housing and services have been provided through various bureaucratic structures; understanding these channels and partnerships is key to reducing homelessness in the long term. Several cities outlined here have well-defined homelessness services bureaucracies: New York, Houston, and Seattle. These case studies offer distinct approaches to homelessness by organizing their bureaucracies in unique ways, with some emphasizing city-county partnerships and others relying on citywide jurisdictions.
Homeless Services Governance: A Comparison of Local Government Coordination and Service Provision Efforts in Four Continua of Care
Homelessness Policy Research Institute