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Use TANF Payments to Provide Rapid Re-Housing and Emergency Housing Assistance

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use_tanf_rapid_re_housing_icon_only.pngThrough emergency housing assistance, including rapid re-housing programs, states can use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to prevent and end homelessness among families. Rapid re-housing programs help families move into housing as quickly as possible after they become homeless, instead of allowing families to spend weeks or months in shelters and transitional programs. These programs also minimize the impact of homelessness on children and provide the stability parents need to find jobs or participate in employment programs.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memorandum explaining that TANF funds can be used to address the housing-related needs of families who are homeless or precariously housed. Use of TANF funds in this way is consistent with rules on providing benefits and services to needy or eligible families. Families do not need to be receiving TANF cash assistance in order to qualify for housing services.

How can TANF funds be used for housing assistance?

States may adjust cash benefit levels in relation to housing costs.

States can also provide a housing supplement to cash assistance. TANF programs can also provide an array of non-recurrent, short-term benefits and services that are designed to address a specific crisis situation and extend no longer than four months.

For example, TANF may be used for short-term rental or mortgage assistance to prevent eviction or to help a homeless family secure housing. This may include security and utility payments, moving assistance, motel or hotel vouchers, case management services, financial and credit counseling, legal services, housing search and placement services, and related administrative costs.

TANF funds can also support rapid re-housing programs. For example, a partnership between The Road Home and Utah’s Department of Workforce Services provides rapid re-housing assistance combined with employment services to help families with children move into housing quickly. TANF funds provide rental assistance, remove barriers to housing, deliver case management services, and connect families to work supports.

TANF agencies should also be active participants in statewide, regional, and local efforts to prevent and end homelessness, including the Continuum of Care. TANF funds can be used in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s targeted homeless assistance grants program, the Continuum of Care program, and Emergency Solutions Grants program.

To learn more about using TANF funding for housing assistance, visit:

For more information about rapid re-housing, visit:

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Increase TANF Payments to Protect Families From Homelessness

Use TANF to Provide Rapid Re-Housing and Emergency Housing Assistance

Support Families with the Greatest Needs by Removing Barriers to TANF

Use TANF to Create Subsidized Jobs and Provide Work Supports for Families Living in Poverty

Strengthen Connections Among Welfare-to-Work, Job Training, and Homeless Assistance Programs

unique_role_of_funders.png   Tips for Funders: Understanding the Connections Between Family Homelessness and TANF Policies



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  • Talesha Bell
    commented 2020-05-22 09:58:09 -0400
    My son and I have been living i my car for 6 plus months and just got approved for tanf extension only because of the covid 19 . I have a few questions. What programs can help us get some help. It’s crazy that I can’t get any help if I’m not mentally disabled or not subjective to work 49 plus hours. With no sitter it just to hard to do anything. Does anyone know of any kind of programs for homeless families please we Are desperate
  • Stephanie Whitaker
    commented 2017-06-13 14:28:14 -0400
    My family is facing homelessness and there are no shelters available for four people. Our children are 3 & 1 so shelter isn’t very safe, anyways. Please help us find a transitional or forever home. I’ve tried everything, even family won’t help.

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Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

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