PathForward: Cities Look to Tailored Solutions to End Homelessness

May 10, 2023 - (4 min read)

Dozens of cities and states have declared states of emergency over homelessness — from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, CA to Greensboro, NC. At the federal level, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in December 2022.

By working closely with cities nationwide, Pallet, a public benefit corporation focused on ending unsheltered homelessness, realized communities want to find the right solutions to end the homelessness crisis. Given the complex nature of homelessness, cities succeed when they take a holistic approach to finding the root causes and drivers of homelessness while addressing these causes through short- and long-term strategies with clearly defined goals and outcomes. This creates a central roadmap for all stakeholders involved. Recognizing there is no one solution to end homelessness, Pallet took learnings from deploying over 100 transitional shelter villages to bring advisory services to cities working to address the crisis.

With Pallet’s advisory services—PathForward™—we employ holistic strategies and identify realistic and data-backed approaches to make a meaningful difference. Our team of experts, including people with lived experience with homelessness, work with cities to advance compassionate and innovative strategies that fit their needs and empower communities. It was through winning the National League of Cities’ Capstone Challenge for our work with the cities of Huntington, WV and Northglenn, CO that we created PathForward.

Huntington was experiencing a homelessness crisis that was heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic and a low-quality, declining housing supply that left city officials with limited solutions. Partnering with city and community leaders, PathForward identified that one of their highest priorities was a non-emergency response for people experiencing homelessness, mental health crises, or other issues requiring alternative responses and de-escalation. Huntington launched the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in March 2023 to handle active mental health crises for people experiencing homelessness and/or substance use disorder. This mobile unit is staffed with trained mental health and Huntington Police Department professionals and is equipped to de-escalate situations, provide mental health assessments, and offer critical services.

“The City of Huntington worked with Pallet through the National League of Cities’ Capstone Challenge to address our challenges with homelessness,” says Huntington Mayor Steve Williams. “I have always found public-private partnerships to be a key component of success for local governments, and our partnership with Pallet was no exception. Their expansive insight, experience, and willingness to do deep dives into this complex issue were a critical reason why we were able to develop and launch a Crisis Intervention Team to assist the most vulnerable individuals of our population.” 

Through the Capstone Challenge, PathForward also did a comprehensive analysis of the current service and program landscape for homelessness in Northglenn and Adams County, CO. We identified recommendations for improvement and provided local leaders with a detailed implementation plan to provide more emergency shelter solutions.

PathForward developed the “Report on Homelessness in Northglenn, Colorado: Solutions, Strategies, and Interim Shelter Bed Implementation Guide.” The plan includes step-by-step instructions for how to develop more emergency shelters, including specific locations, service providers, and budgets needed to bring projects into fruition.

“We are mission-driven problem solvers, and we see homelessness as a human rights crisis that requires urgent and bold action,” says Amy King, founder, and CEO of Pallet. “Cities can no longer wait to activate strategies that drive real and lasting change.”

There is no one solution to end homelessness. Every municipality and every community have their own specific needs. By creating customized solutions with defined goals and resources such as funding roadmaps, implementation plans, policy research, capacity building, and project management, PathForward provides cities the support they need. With more partnership and collaboration, communities can develop and implement solutions that successfully end the homelessness crisis.

About the Author

Jacki Micuccin is the Communications Manager for Pallet®, the national leader in rapid response shelter villages.

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Learn more about Pallet’s PathForward.

About the Authors