Simmons School of Social Work
Federal University of Ceara, Brazil
Ramon Soto, uAspire and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board
Office of Rep. Natalie Higgins
Rep. Natalie Higgins, former Rappaport Center Law and Public Policy Fellow
Description of Fellowship
As a Rappaport fellow, Kateline collaborated with various agencies and organizations to support homeless individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak. Through extensive interviews with multiple agencies and constituents, gaps in services and challenges emerged for unaccompanied homeless adults. Kateline found that issues such as poverty, high cost of living, low-wage jobs, lack of affordable housing, mental illness, physical illness, substance use disorders, discrimination against homeless individuals, and lack of adequate shelters all create barriers to care for providers and constituents.
Although agencies and providers implement distinct strategies in their system of care, homeless individuals do not receive all the services that they need because they have to seek help from multiple providers. Potential solutions suggested by agencies representatives and constituents relate to the reallocation of resources. The consensus from providers and homeless individuals is for robust investment into more social workers, caseworkers, and stabilization workers. Additionally, funding should be allocated to building more housing units rather than shelters. Investing in tiny houses and more domestic violence prevention programs is also viewed as a long-term solution to this crisis. Participants view shelter as an entity that contributes to the homelessness issue because of the short-term strategies and lack of comprehensive care. Constituents and providers agreed that permanent housing with supportive services would address the basic needs of single homeless adults and alleviate burdens for everyone. There is also a need for more funding to sustain programs such as the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Homebase.