In countries that are showing the greatest success in responding to homelessness, there tends to be a well articulated national strategy backed by a policy framework and funding that supports lower levels of government and communities. National strategies also typically stress partnerships with communiities, the non-profit and for profit sectors, and people with lived experience as keys to ending homelessness. National strategies also mean that all levels of government not only need to be at the table but must be engaged in the strategic responses.
The best national responses support an integrated systems response. In government, interdepartmental collaboration and responsibility must be seen as part of the solution. Homelessness is a “fusion” policy issue, and must necessarily involve health, corrections and justice, housing, education and child welfare, for instance. This may seem obvious but it is one of the biggest challenges in dealing with the issue of homelessness. Successful plans to end homelessness in the US, Australia and the UK demonstrate that other sectors of government must be mandated (through legislation) to address the flow of people into homelessness, and that strategic responses must necessarily include other sectors of government at the table.
Below are short histories of national strategies developed in several countries: