Novel, creative solutions are needed in the fight against homelessness, and the real estate sector can support these efforts, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute.

The report, Homeless to Housed, explores how the real estate sector can support people experiencing homelessness through creative housing solutions and collaboration with community organizations with the ultimate goal of providing abundant, affordable, and high-quality housing for affected and at-risk populations.

Two areas of focus in the report are cost-effective construction methods and non-governmental funding sources. 

Private companies, both in real estate and in other sectors, have a “vital role to play” in the latter, according to ULI.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2020 marked the fourth consecutive annual increase in people experiencing homelessness. The report presents housing case studies, universally applicable lessons, and a blueprint for how to replicate best practices in other communities to show how the development community can be an active partner in addressing homelessness. 

Other key takeaways include the idea that while housing is important, social services are essential and delivering one without the other offers little chance of successfully tackling the crisis; the notion that all segments of the community must play a role and that collaboration is essential; and that homelessness most often links back to economics.

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