Families Under One Roof

10/25/2016 06:28 pm ET Updated Oct 26, 2017

CSH has launched One Roof to change the lives of vulnerable families struggling at the intersection of homelessness and child welfare involvement, and you can help.

When families have a safe, permanent place to call home they can focus on the things parents care about: the safety, well-being and education of their children. Parents worried about where their families will sleep at night can't fully attend to their needs or those of their children.

Children in such circumstances are particularly vulnerable and can end up in foster care. Recent data suggests there are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States and reports indicate 50% of them were part of homeless or unstably housed families.

Few events are more traumatic for children than being separated from their families and entering the foster care system. Research shows that such children are at higher risk for impaired neurodevelopment, psychiatric problems, abuse, poverty, future homelessness, criminal justice involvement, suicide and early death. Moreover, the parents of homeless children are likely to have been homeless as children themselves. Many of them have histories of foster care, group home or shelter involvement.

Expert studies amplify the long-term consequences; showing anywhere from 30% to 50% of homeless adults identified themselves as once being in foster care.

By facilitating access to stable housing and ensuring that the service needs of the whole family are met, we can help set a different path for children. Moving them forward, with their families, under One Roof.

Based on a supportive housing model CSH pioneered called Keeping Families Together (KFT), One Roof promotes affordable housing that becomes a platform of stability for families, providing them with the independence to gain access to the services that will address the challenges they face.

Data from KFT show that supportive housing can stabilize vulnerable families and become safe and healthy environments for children.

Families in KFT had histories of homelessness and contacts with the child welfare system, including multiple investigations, incidences of maltreatment and child removals. Yet, child welfare involvement among participating KFT families declined significantly and most families had no new abuse or neglect cases. Average school attendance improved steadily among school-age children.

KFT supportive housing strengthened vulnerable families with holistic, trauma-informed services focused on their needs. The result is an end to the intergenerational cycle of child neglect and homelessness, and a new generation of young people living more stable, productive lives.

One Roof is engaging local, county, state and national partners to create an improved, integrated policy and services response by replicating supportive housing tailored to the unique needs of vulnerable families, and increasing investment in supportive housing solutions for at-risk children and their parents.

Through One Roof, we can transform the lives of children and their parents, bringing child welfare and housing agencies together to support these families.

Right now, there is a window of opportunity to leverage supportive housing to change the life trajectory for vulnerable children. We can do this through supportive housing and welcome you to become a partner, a contributor, an advocate to bring One Roof to your community.

Learn more at 1RoofFamilies.org