Entries by Cathy Bessant and Eugene A. Woods

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Progress Update: 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy

In April, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy (CMHHS) was launched. CMHHS is a comprehensive community-wide effort involving the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a strategic plan to end and prevent homelessness in our community. As co-chairs for the working group launching the new strategy, we are pleased to share participation has grown to include over 200 individuals and over 115 organizations. Participants include those from the county, city, and school system; corporate and business sectors; healthcare, workforce development, childcare, transportation and other complementary sectors; non-profits; funding and faith communities; and housing developers, landlords and real estate entities. It was also important to us that we include providers who serve on the front lines, and individuals with lived experience with housing instability or homelessness. And, we continue to grow. By October 1, 2021, this group will have established a five-year strategic plan to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg become a national leader in addressing current and preventing future homelessness by offering aligned strategies, unified goals, and clear funding pathways. Our shared vision is that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring in Charlotte-Mecklenburg where every person has access to permanent, affordable housing as well as the resources to sustain it. The purpose of this update is to share information about the milestones we have achieved since our launch and next steps, in addition to what this means for the people in our community.

One Number Update: May 2021

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services first released the “One Number” in 2019 as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since that initial release, the One Number has become the “go-to” for the count of people who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The One Number is found on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest information related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter; Transitional Housing; Street Outreach; Rapid Re-housing (those enrolled but not yet housed); and Coordinated Entry inventories in HMIS. The One Number includes both total sheltered homelessness and a portion of the individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type; elements include single individuals, families, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness. The One Number can also be analyzed by inflow to, and outflow from, homelessness. By comparing One Number data over time (including by household composition or by inflow/outflow), the community can identify trends. Once identified, these trends can then inform interventions. This week’s blog post provides the most recent One Number update; latest trends and analyses; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

From Planning to Implementation: A New Prevention Assistance System in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Last week saw the conclusion of Evaluate Upstream, a year-long, community planning process. Evaluate Upstream intended to develop a comprehensive and sustainable prevention assistance system for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Funded by a Continuum of Care (CoC) planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and launched by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Evaluate Upstream had the following goals: to document existing prevention resources across Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and determine whether and how they work together; to design an optimally functioning prevention network; and to develop an evaluation framework for an impactful homelessness prevention system in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. “Prevention” is defined as a category of assistance that targets households “upstream” from homelessness; these individuals and families are facing housing instability but have not yet lost their housing. Applying this definition, prevention assistance exists on a continuum; assistance can be administered not only prior to the loss of housing, but even after households exit into permanent housing with the goal of helping them sustain it. Prevention includes three tiers of assistance: community-wide interventions aimed at changing systems and structures that perpetuate housing instability; cross-sector collaboration and coordination to reduce the prevalence of homelessness; and targeted interventions including financial and legal assistance to help households maintain their housing. The purpose of this blog post is to share the process and output of Evaluate Upstream, including the crafting of a blueprint for a prevention assistance system. This blog will also discuss how this work will shift from planning to implementation; and ultimately, what this can mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

One Number Update: April 2021

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services first released the “One Number” in 2019 as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since that initial release, the One Number has become the “go-to” for the count of people who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The One Number is found on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest information related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter; Transitional Housing; Street Outreach; Rapid Re-housing (if there is no move-in date to housing yet); and Coordinated Entry inventories in HMIS. The One Number includes both total sheltered homelessness and a portion of the individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type; elements include single individuals, families, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness.  The One Number can also be analyzed by inflow to, and outflow from, homelessness. By comparing One Number data over time (including by household composition or by inflow/outflow), the community can identify trends.  Once identified, these trends can then inform interventions. This week’s blog post provides the most recent One Number update; latest trends and analysis; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

New CoC Governing Board Member

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) announces Deanna McCool as its newest Governing Board member. Deanna represents the Street Outreach/Homelessness Prevention/Diversion provider elected seat on the Board. 

2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy: A Joint Effort to Address Current and Prevent Future Homelessness

Today a broad consortium of the public, private and non-profit sectors is pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive community-wide effort to create a strategic plan around housing instability and homelessness in our community: 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy. As co-chairs for the working group which is launching the new strategy, we are pleased to share that nearly 50 city, county, corporate and non-profit leaders, including those who serve on the front lines of housing instability and homelessness and those with lived experience are all part of this comprehensive community undertaking. And, the effort will continue to grow with more leaders continuing to be added to this team. By October 1, 2021, this group will have developed and begun to launch a five-year strategic plan to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg become a national leader in addressing current and preventing future homelessness by offering aligned strategies, unified goals, and clear funding pathways. Our shared vision is that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring in Charlotte-Mecklenburg where every person has access to permanent, affordable housing and the resources to sustain it.  This plan will be presented to both City and County for consideration as adopted policy. The same entities, doing the same things, in the same ways, will never produce different results. It is critical that we, as a community, change our approach. The purpose of this community update is to share a more in-depth introduction to this effort, including goals and initial milestones, and what this work can mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and beyond.

Notice: HUD changing how it communicates information

On Wednesday March 31, 2021, HUD issued the following notice to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg CoC: Effective immediately, HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) will use two different listservs on HUD’s website to communicate information regarding information developed by HUD/SNAPS concerning: Continuum of Care (CoC) Program; Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Programs; Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP); Other Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) developed by SNAPS; and
Any other information related to SNAPS programs and the work to end homelessness.

One Number Update: March 2021

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services first released the “One Number” in 2019 as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since that initial release, the One Number has become the “go-to” number for the count of people who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The One Number is found on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest information related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter; Transitional Housing; Street Outreach; Rapid Re-housing (if there is no move-in date to housing yet); and Coordinated Entry inventories in HMIS. The One Number includes both total sheltered homelessness and a portion of the individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type; elements include single individuals, families, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness.  The One Number can also be analyzed by inflow to, and outflow from, homelessness. By comparing One Number data over time (including by household composition or by inflow/outflow), the community can identify trends.  Once identified, these trends can then inform interventions. To read more about how the One Number works, click here. This week’s blog post provides the most recent One Number update; latest trends and analysis; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Eviction Prevention during COVID-19: An Update

After the North Carolina Stay at Home Order was issued nearly one year ago, the NC 2-1-1 system was flooded with calls by households seeking housing and financial assistance. 2-1-1 is the number that those facing a housing crisis in the state call to be connected to resources. In addition to an overall increase in callers, there also seemed to be a “new” at-risk population emerging from the shadows: individuals and families who had been paying either day to day or week to week to live in hotels or motels. While this form of homelessness pre-dates the pandemic, it has been considered “hidden” and there are little to no federal, state and/or local resources dedicated to addressing it. Faced with a sudden loss of income from COVID-19-related closures, these households were now on the edge of an entirely different type of homelessness: emergency shelter and/or unsheltered locations like parks, streets, cars and tents. In addition, as the novel coronavirus started to spread locally, the tidal wave of households newly in need of shelter also posed a potential public health crisis. This week’s blog provides an overview of the work to address this segment of the homeless population during the pandemic, and what this work can mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

One Number Update: February 2021

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services first released the “One Number” in 2019 as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since that initial release, the One Number has become the “go-to” number for how many people are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The One Number is found on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest information related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Street Outreach, Rapid Re-housing (if there is no move-in date to housing yet), and Coordinated Entry inventories in HMIS. The One Number includes both sheltered homelessness and a portion of the individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type; elements include single individuals, families, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness.  The One Number can also be analyzed by inflow to, and outflow from, homelessness. By comparing One Number data over time (including by household composition and by inflow/outflow), the community can identify trends.  Once identified, these trends can then inform interventions. To read more about how the One Number works, click here. This week’s blog post provides the latest One Number update; trends and analysis; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.