BSAFE: Solutions for Homeless Families

Building on Strengths and Advocating for Family Empowerment (BSAFE) supports families and children who are homeless or formerly homeless as they transition to life in the community.

trauma-informed, family-centered approach strengthens children’s and families’ coping skills and relationships, and support networks to ensure stability and well-being. The program addresses the needs of all family members, including the children, and is tailored to their strengths, goals, wishes, and priorities.

BSAFE is a one-year program based on Critical Time Intervention (CTI) that begins while a family is still in emergency shelter. It concludes when the family is permanently housed, and receiving necessary services and supports from mainstream providers and the larger community. The focus is on stabilizing families in affordable housing, ensuring their well-being and safety, helping families achieve independence and self-sufficiency, and supporting family preservation.

BSAFE is managed by a caseworker (the BSAFE partner) who is knowledgeable about the program and the family. At a minimum, programs initially commit to implementing organizational trauma-informed care, parenting supports, and family-centered, developmentally appropriate services for children.

BSAFE has three phases:

  • Phase One: While still in shelter, the BSAFE partner engages the family and shelter staff in assessing immediate housing and safety needs; building collaborative, trusting relationships among family members, staff, and the BSAFE partner; determining service and support needs; developing plans for connecting family members to housing, services, and supports; and building supports both onsite in the shelter and in the community.
  • Phase Two: The BSAFE partner strengthens relationships with potential community partners, explores available resources and supports, and begins the referral process that will connect family members with housing for homeless families, and community services and resources. The BSAFE partner identifies programs that offer continuous, coordinated and flexible care to support families experiencing homelessness.
  • Phase Three: The BSAFE partner works with families to consolidate new skills and connections developed during Phase Two, solidify relationships with community service providers, and become self-directive. As the family’s become increasingly independent and integrated into the community, the BSAFE partner gradually transfers their responsibilities to the family and community-based programs.

To learn more about BSAFE, download the full program description here or contact Livia Davis (


                       Illustration by Sarah Nichols