Housing instability and homelessness is an issue for thousands of individuals and families in Atlanta. In January 2019, the city counted 3,217 men, women, or children as homeless at the annual Point in Time Count – of this number, 719 were unsheltered. The members of this community are particularly vulnerable and often have serious mental health, substance abuse, and other medical conditions. Intown’s Homeless Outreach Program specializes in compassionately engaging and housing the City of Atlanta’s chronically homeless neighbors.
The City of Atlanta’s Continuum of Care has adopted a Housing First approach—pioneered 25 years ago in New York City— to end chronic homelessness. This approach gets individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent housing first and, from the safety of their own apartment, helps to stabilize the client with wrap-around services. Once off the streets, these individuals can begin to address their barriers to stable housing, including lack of income, insufficient government identification, mental health disorders, drug addiction, and criminal records.
Intown’s Homeless Outreach Program is a four-step process of engagement, enrollment, navigation, and housing.
1. Build a trusting relationship
Outreach teams get to know individuals and families experiencing homelessness at our office, by referral, or where they slept last night.
On average, our team will engage with an individual experiencing homelessness 9 times during this step. Outreach typically lasts weeks to months, but may last many years.
2. Sign clients up in our Outreach Program
Outreach workers assess our clients' needs and barriers to housing.
Clients are entered into the Atlanta city-wide housing queue.
3. Walk with the city's most vulnerable
Outreach workers begin case management, helping clients address barriers to housing.
Staff assists with obtaining identification documents, benefits, medical care, mental health services, rehabilitation, etc.
4. Move our client into their own home
When housing becomes available, our team helps clients determine if the home is the right fit.
ICM then transitions case management to housing support specialists at partner agencies.