URI began operations of new programs for homeless families in Harlem and in Queens in 2016. The Harlem Family Residence operates as a Tier II facility, providing 32 families with safe and secure transitional housing and access to comprehensive support services. The program for homeless families in Queens provides safe, temporary, emergency shelter and supportive services to 56 homeless families with children.

URI’s research findings have shown that there are a multitude of causes for homelessness; chief among them are poverty, domestic violence, mental health and/or substance abuse issues. URI’s research highlights a significant need for services to address co-occurring disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, mental illness, chemical dependency, issues related to childhood victimization and re-victimization, as well as overall poor coping and psychological functioning. These issues are also often further complicated by economic and structural barriers presented by society including decreasing employment opportunities, the lack of affordable housing, and high crime rates.

URI’s approach to working with homeless families includes completing assessments and individual service plans tailored to each individual family member’s need, with focus on their level of functioning. Families are informed about the types and structure of services available and are invited to provide feedback on their understanding and level of motivation to engage in services. In other words, families are involved in their service planning, thus making goals much more likely to be achieved due to increased buy-in. In addition, based on the correlation of homelessness and domestic violence, URI includes in its assessment a focus on domestic violence and provides support efforts such as psycho-educational groups addressing domestic violence.

URI conducts ongoing assessments to identify barriers that impact the family’s ability to work toward self-sufficiency. The treatment team is charged with the responsibility of assessing the types of interventions required and possible barriers to service delivery. Where the level of service is beyond the capacity of the program, URI leverages networks of community providers/resources to ensure the family is served through appropriate referrals. URI’s capacity and ability to deliver and/or secure quality services through referrals is essential in helping families attain their goals while in shelter facilities.

Our Partners*

*represents FY16 only