Entries by Meredith Hess

Identifying the Problem of Identification: A Point-in-Time Count Reflection

On the morning of February 1, I was assigned to the Fourth Ward district of Uptown Charlotte. One man that I interviewed told me that the primary reason he was not staying at a shelter was because his South Carolina ID was not acceptable for entrance. For me, this interaction brought to my attention the insular causes of homelessness that are exacerbated by federal and state policies regarding access to state-issued identification. It also encouraged me to consider the current requirements to enter emergency shelter as well as other services that people experiencing homelessness might require.

Underemployment & Homelessness: A Point-in-Time Count Reflection

The 2018 Point-in-Time Count Survey includes questions about income source and average monthly gross amount received. While conducting point-in-time surveys, one of the things I consistently heard from people I interviewed was that underemployment was one of their biggest barriers to being able to obtain stable housing. Many said they were working but needed more consistent work, higher wages, and more hours. For involuntary part-time workers in low-income households, unpredictable and unstable incomes, being paid less per hour, and having an increased likelihood of experiencing intermittent periods of unemployment can result in prolonged housing instability and prolonged homelessness.

We have little time: Let’s be purposeful

Are we as busy as we think we are?  Some of us may think we have time to devote to the things we love, however, when you dig into the scheduler, it’s easy to see how many opportunities we miss to do the things we cherish the most. It is hard to be too critical though, we are only human. If we want to ensure we are able to impact our community, we have to force ourselves to start making changes today.

We need to expand the conversation

I took for granted as a young professional that affordable housing and homelessness were a part of the same conversation. The development challenges we face as a city – homelessness, a shortage of more than 21,000 units for those making 50% or less of our area median income, the lack of social mobility in specific zip codes, the impact and persistence of racial segregation – cannot be solved project-by-project or campaign-by-campaign. They require a larger, inclusive, multidisciplinary conversation.

Local Report Series Topics Released for 2018

Three new reports covering affordable housing, housing instability and homelessness will comprise the 2018 Housing Instability & Homelessness Report Series. The 2018 reports topics are described in this post.

New Intervention Starts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Delayed Diversion

For over a year, every emergency shelter in Charlotte-Mecklenburg has been full. Of course, every day, people leave our shelters to move into housing options, which we celebrate, but there are always more people than beds waiting at the front door.  The heart feels this the heaviest when the temperatures drop.  We know people are sleeping in the cars and outside in dangerously cold temperatures, because our shelters do not have room.

New Report on Homelessness & What It Means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg

A new report called The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress released this week by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) provides national and statewide numbers on the number of people experiencing homelessness on one night in January 2017.

This blog post will break down information in the new report, compare the new information to local Point-in-Time Count numbers, and offer three takeaways for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Reckoning with Redlining and Other Policies I Benefit From

We have an affordable housing crisis in Charlotte that disproportionately impacts families of color. When we reckon with the history of housing policy in America, this disproportionate impact isn’t a surprise. The roots of this crisis are from policies based on race. Yet, to counteract the policy impact decades later, we are relying on programs and services that disregard race. Can the decades long impact of discriminatory policies be counteracted by nonprofits and improved service provision? The current state of our housing crisis would say no, our approach is insufficient.