Common Myths about Homelessness Debunked by Facts and Evidence
Our objective is permanent housing.
The LICH Street Outreach Team is dedicated to supporting people living on the street in plans where they can successfully transition from living on the street into permanent housing.
Our team covers all of Nassau and Suffolk and works directly with people living in parks, wooded areas, vehicles, at train stations, inside abandoned homes and buildings, and other places not meant for human habitation.
In the past year, the Street Outreach Team moved 61 single adults off the streets and directly into permanent housing. Of those 61 single adults, that had been living on the street from 2-20 years before working with LICH and obtaining housing.
EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE
The majority of outreach programs focus on distributing essential items such as food, hygiene products and warm clothing/blankets. Some also offer immediate access to "go inside" to emergency shelter.
As homeless advocates, what we know, and what we are told by people living on the street is that outreach programs carrying out these objectives are successful in treating people with dignity, having a community response, and providing items that meet basic needs to get someone through the day.
The problem is that many of these programs do not successfully connect people to permanent housing that meets their service needs and preferences. The harsh reality is that many outreach programs only meet immediate and short-term needs, which allow people to survive longer on the street, but do not often lead to permanent housing and people exiting homelessness.
This is why we are committed to our Street Outreach program and designed it in a way that works best for the people we support and leads to long term results, where people move to a safe, permanent places to live and no longer endure living on the street, desperately trying to survive each day.
People who experience homelessness overwhelmingly have experienced significant trauma, often dating back to when they were children. People experiencing homelessness, particularly those living on the street are highly vulnerable (often victims of crimes and harassment while on the street) with extremely complex medical issues and deteriorating health.
In almost all cases, those we support living on the street would not have become homeless, or remained homeless as long if better community response systems were in place and prioritized, both with funding and community/political will.