America’s homeless population is growing older. Achieving the goal of ending homelessness requires the development of coordinated community response systems, which include diversion prevention and intervention strategies that are targeted toward homeless individuals and families of all ages. Importantly, emergency shelters and transitional housing are, and will continue to be, a crucial part of communities’ network of systemic responses to a housing crisis. They provide an immediate place to stay as well as offer the opportunity to connect individuals with an appropriate level of services for their needs. Shelters represent a vital bridge to reconnecting people with stable and secure housing.
A movement now exists to strengthen the implementation and impact of emergency shelter to:
• promote the dignity and respect for every person seeking or needing shelter
• divert people from the homelessness service system when possible
• adopt a housing first or rapid housing approach and create low barrier access to emergency shelter
• equip emergency shelters to serve as a platform
for housing access.
The purpose of this report is to advance the above identified agenda by serving as a central summary resource on the design of built environments for older persons experiencing homelessness.