The last time the number of low-income rental units exceeded the number of low-income renters was 1970. A recent brief by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, “A Home by Any Other Name: Enhancing Shelters Address the Gap in Low-income Housing,” reports that by 2009 there were almost 11 million low-income renters for only 5.4 million affordable units. Making matters worse for the poorest families, today, higher-income renters occupied 2.3 million of these units, leaving roughly nine million of America’s poorest households priced out of the housing market. Today shelters serve as the front line in the fight against poverty. They are often the first place that recognizes and addresses the educational and social needs of parents and their children, and the counseling and medical needs of individuals. Shelters know that without help, low-income homeless families will destabilize, or worse, disintegrate. No amount of affordable housing can ever put a family back together again. But shelters turned residential educational communities of opportunity can help keep families together and prepare them to permanently compete in the competitive housing market of today and tomorrow. Shelters are not a sad rung down the ladder of homelessness and poverty, but the hopeful rung to stepping up and out of it.