Homeless Assistance Programs

The Homeless Assistance Programs practice area makes measurable impacts on homelessness by helping communities make data-driven decisions, implement evidence-based best practices, and provide life-saving assistance to people experiencing homelessness who are impacted by public health emergencies and natural disasters.

This team works on a range of projects all tied together by a commitment to ending homelessness, strengthening housing opportunities, and reducing racial disparities in housing outcomes. We have designed and supported the roll-out of data tools that illuminate system performance and support local priority-setting, led public health emergency and disaster responses and recovery planning, and worked to support communities to evaluate and improve their local coordinated entry systems and restructure organizational responsibilities and entities to strengthen local homelessness services administration and operation.

As established social scientists and homeless system leaders, Cloudburst’s Homeless Assistance Programs practice area has worked extensively with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and hundreds of state and local communities to:

  • Design effective coordinated entry (CE), rapid rehousing (RRH), diversion, and permanent supportive housing (PSH) strategies.
  • Develop tools and products that build communities’ capacity to quickly respond to changing needs for homeless men, women, and children.
  • Prepare for and respond to disasters such as COVID-19, hepatitis, tuberculosis, hurricanes, floods, and fires.
  • Use data to drive system improvements through advanced statistical analysis and evaluation techniques.
  • Help communities understand federal and state regulations through training, product development, and other technical assistance.

For over 15 years, Cloudburst has been a national leader in building the capacity of communities to prevent and end homelessness in the United States. Cloudburst subject matter experts are positioned at the forefront of emerging issues such as COVID-19, unsheltered homelessness, rural homelessness, and targeted homelessness prevention. Cloudburst has partnered with HUD to deliver technical assistance to hundreds of CoCs, gaining practical experience designing high-impact responses that improve exits to permanent housing, reduce returns to homelessness, and shorten the length of time people remain homeless in urban and rural communities both large and small.

Cloudburst staff are available for on-demand services and longer-term contract engagements. Our Homeless Assistance Programs staff have worked with communities across the country to deliver customized training, technical writing, and evaluation assistance.

Our Impact

Cloudburst has helped communities design and implement programs that quickly rehouse people experiencing homelessness by creating best practices in using Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Continuums of Care (CoC) funds as well as innovative housing models that leverage all available resources to implement housing surges through centralized and coordinated systems. In Los Angeles, Cloudburst assisted in implementing a Housing Central Command structure to drive an overall rehousing process for Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), with one of the nation’s largest homeless populations. This increased model resolves obstacles in real-time, and implements continuous system improvements to streamline the rehousing process.

Disaster Technical Assistance
Cloudburst has amassed practical knowledge, resources, and tools to help CoCs throughout the country prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes, floods, tornados, and fires. Our response includes on-the-ground assistance during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the Northern California Paradise fire. The Cloudburst team understands the disproportionate impacts of homelessness on communities of color and is leading efforts to respond to racial disparities in housing outcomes as well as upholding the intent of the Equal Access Rule.

Infectious Disease Response
In the last ten years, Cloudburst has monitored and responded to several public health emergencies; we have most recently been assigned the lead technical assistance (TA) provider for HUD’s COVID-19 response effort. Our COVID-19 response effort includes providing direct TA to communities, developing leading guidance documents such as the Infectious Disease Toolkit for CoCs, and curating critical community-level resources. Cloudburst also led the response to hepatitis A and tuberculosis outbreaks in homeless populations in Atlanta and San Diego. We quickly identify needs in emerging situations and apply our accumulated experience, adapt existing resources, and initiate fresh efforts as dedicated innovators in the area of homelessness assistance and prevention.

Capability-Building and Training
Cloudburst staff, many of whom are former employees of HUD grantees, have provided training and capacity-building support to hundreds of communities on regulations and best practices for the use of HUD Community Planning and Development funds, performance measurement and improvement strategies, coordinated investment planning, systems transformation (i.e., CoC mergers), financial and grant management, coordinated entry systems, and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Our work includes leading HUD Intensive Workshops and Communities of Practice, co-coordinating and presenting at NHSDC conferences, developing a data analytics massive open online course (MOOC), providing HMIS capacity-building TA, and coordinating CoC mergers.

Applied Analytics
The Homeless Assistance Programs practice area has deep expertise in HMIS, Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS), and other homeless service systems. We have delivered training to build community capacity to analyze data and strengthen data governance, as well as performed advanced statistical analysis on existing data. Cloudburst currently validates and analyzes data for ESG and CoC financial expenditures and compliance. We have also led engagements to use HUD data, such as Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, to analyze the root causes of homelessness.

Recent Posts from the Homeless Assistance Team