Potential Barriers and Challenges to Integration of Homelessness Services

  • It can be challenging to create integrated services in communities that are more rural due to the dispersed population and existing services.
  • The lack of housing stock – particularly permanent supportive housing, affordable housing etc. – makes it challenging for service providers to assist clients in exiting homelessness. (It should be noted that this is true for both integrated and fragmented service delivery however).
  • Funding requirements may present challenges as funders have different expectations about how services will be provided, who the target population is etc.
  • Ideological differences in the way services are provided need to be addressed. For example, abstinence-only shelters and harm reduction programs would need to work to find common ground and means of partnering.
  • Most partnership/coordination/collaboration efforts are aimed within a sector (i.e. housing) and are not cross-sectoral (i.e. housing, education, child welfare, corrections).
  • Governments may support the concept of service integration but do not invest in the mechanisms needed to create change within and between sectors.
  • Agencies may fear the loss of funds, control, jobs, the loss of autonomy etc.