Transitional Housing is the name given to homeless programs that require the homeless to participate in rehabilitation.
Of all the misused terms in the homelessness industry, “transitional housing” is the most abused. And, the programs called “transitional housing” are the most problematic.
First of all, the term “transitional housing” is a misnomer, being that houses, (or homes of any kind), are not actually involved. In truth, the living arrangements of a transitional housing facility are no different than in regular homeless shelters – dormitory style with several people assigned to each room, all functions are operated in mass, with no opportunity for privacy or individuality.
Being that homeless shelters also provide rehab programs of one kind or another, the only real difference between transitional housing and a regular homeless shelter is that in transitional housing the rehab is mandatory.
The rehabilitation that takes place in transitional housing is supposed to prepare, or retrain, a person for a return to life in mainstream society. Yet the effectiveness of the programs offered have not been proven to effectively prepare a homeless person for “real life”. Certainly, the basic life skills that are taught in transitional housing facilities are important to learn, yet a lack of these skills has not be proven to cause homelessness. Nor does mastery of these skills prevent homelessness.
Because of these and other factors, a movement is in progress to stop the creation of any more transitional housing programs and to repurpose current transitional housing programs into something more efficient and effective in ending homelessness.