There is a decrease in family homelessness

Safe and affordable housing creates a home base from which all other things are possible. It is clear that separate even from extreme poverty, homelessness and lack of stable housing presents a formidable set of challenges to an already extremely vulnerable group of children. In Dane County, families make up nearly half of the homeless population, putting both children and their parents at risk. United Way believes that it is possible to end homelessness. Though a set of research and data driven strategies designed to build on families’ strengths, we are focusing on direct access to affordable housing, case management, landlord/tenant connections, and access to food.

It’s all about housing. Housing First places families at risk of homelessness into permanent housing quickly, and then provides targeted services to address other issues and maintain a stable environment. This approach continues to meet national benchmarks of an 80% success rate in keeping families stably housed at a third of the cost of emergency shelter.

Why it Matters:

It costs 66% less to provide a family housing with services for a year compared to the cost of sheltering for a year.
In 2015, 16% of Dane County Children lived in poverty, while over 1,000 slept in homeless shelters.

Children who are homeless are twice as likely to go hungry than other children, they experience three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems, such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, withdrawal and aggression; are more than twice as likely as others to repeat a school grade, be expelled or suspended, or drop out of high school, and one quarter have witnessed acts of violence within their family.

What we will achieve:

Through the leveraging of resources and artful collaboration, we will decrease by half, the number of families from Dane County that remain in emergency shelter for 30 days or more by 2020.


Elements of Housing First

Housing Stabilization

  • Immediate placement in long-term housing
  • Locating housing and short-term rental assistance

Crisis Intervention

  • Stabilize participants with case management
  • Connect to community resources

Long-Term Action Plan

  • Improve financial literacy, budgeting and job skills
  • Identify underlying causes of homelessness
  • Keep parents and children connected to community
  • Engage landlords as partners