Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH) was originally founded in 1985 as a grassroots local advocacy effort to bring non-profits and other community partners together to unite around the cause of homelessness, seeking to expand and enhance services to meet local needs.
As a small local entity, LICH has always relied on partnerships and joint efforts in order to adequately provide support for those that were experiencing homelessness on Long Island.
Since 1995, LICH has submitted regional funding applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for annual funding for permanent housing programs. In this role as "Continuum of Care" lead, LICH was charged to bring together homeless service patterns to create effective strategies and system responses to homelessness in Nassau and Suffolk.
Overtime, homelessness has continued to become a growing community challenging, through de-institutionalization, national de-funding of safety net programs in the 1980s, the war on drugs, housing market crashes, recessions, natural disasters- most notably Superstorm Sandy, an increasing aging population, LI communities that were purposefully designed to be and continue to become more racially and economically segregated, and most significantly (as the number one cause of homelessness on Long Island and nation-wide) the extremely high costs of housing and other expenses to live on Long Island.
It should not be surprising, based on the history local events and factors, that the majority of people experiencing homelessness on Long Island are families that cannot afford rent or find rental units quickly enough in a high cost/low availability rental market. There is also a significant local homeless population of aging single adults and adult couples that were living on fixed incomes and could no longer afford rent. For both homeless families and homeless aging adults on Long Island, most remain homeless in a shelter for over six months, on average, with some households remaining homeless in shelters for several years before securing permanent housing.
LICH has expanded services to continually align with local community needs and approaches that evidence shows to be most effective in addressing homelessness. These services include street outreach, housing navigation, system data management and outcomes tracking, all parts of what has become the local "Coordinated Entry System." Coordinated Entry is a person-centered, housing-focused approach to streamline access to housing and services and prioritizes those homeless longest and most in need of housing and support.
“To end homelessness on Long Island, and alleviate the issues associated with homelessness and poverty for homeless and at risk persons in Nassau and Suffolk Counties”
Advocacy for homeless individuals and families
Education to the public about the scope, causes, and potential solutions to homelessness
Coordinating the services of homeless providers as well as offering technical assistance to member agencies in housing development
Provision of direct assistance to homeless and at risk Long Islanders