Strategies to increase the income of homeless families and individuals are critical to ensure they can ultimately pay for their own housing. For many, this can be achieved through employment; those who are disabled or have special needs may be able to access federal disability benefits.
Increasing Access to Disability Benefits
Countywide Benefits Entitlement Services Teams (CBEST) (Strategies C4/C5/C6) assist disabled homeless individuals with their applications for federal benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Benefits, with the goal of increasing their income, which can be used for housing.
The benefits application process is lengthy and complex, but enrollment in the CBEST program provides people experiencing homelessness with assistance to navigate the process and access benefits. More than 8,000 individuals are already enrolled. Although the approval process can take more than a year, many participants are able to receive critical services while they are waiting; in the past 12 months, 1,465 CBEST participants have been connected to mental health services and more than 1,574 have been connected to health services.