Entries by Delana Murdock


How a Data Culture Can Improve Organizations and Systems Change

The October 2018 blog post “Connecting the Dots from the Report Part 3: Driving Change, Managing Lanes” outlines the importance of identifying roles – or “lanes” – for organizations to operate within to support each other as well as to realize a shared, strategic vision to end and prevent homelessness. It discusses the need for agencies to complement rather than compete for funding and resources. A Child’s Place applied this thinking to our organization. This blog post is a reflection on what we discovered, and what we plan to do next.

Why We Ask Questions

I have served as a volunteer for the Point-in-Time Count for multiple years. Starting in 2018, our community began using the “Counting Us” app to conduct the survey as part of the annual Point-in-Time Count. As a volunteer, you are trained to use the app to complete survey questions with people experiencing homelessness. Many questions are answered with a drop-down choice, and the survey is easily completed within 10 to 15 minutes. At the end of my shift I successfully submitted the completed survey questions – answers to questions that will help our community continue to receive funding and, just as importantly, inform local work. But I left with so many of my own unanswered questions.

5 Years Later: Coordinated Entry in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

It has been nearly five years since our community started Coordinated Entry. Coordinated Entry is designed so everyone who experiences homelessness or is at risk of becoming homeless has equal access to housing resources and can be quickly referred for assistance. When we originally discussed the idea of Coordinated Entry with members of the community, we promised that Coordinated Entry would be the first step to enable systems change. With the housing crisis growing daily, it can feel like little has changed for the better since we implemented Coordinated Entry. But, it is important to reflect on what has been accomplished in five years, as well as the distance we have yet to travel.

New Annual Data Report on Housing Instability & Homelessness To be Released Thursday

On Thursday, August 23, the report, “2018 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability and Homelessness” will be released to the public on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard. The report serves as an annual report on housing instability and homelessness data in the community. For the first time, Point-in-Time Count information is combined with data from other homeless system measures and housing instability metrics to provide a full picture of housing needs in our community.

The Point-in-Time Count in Mecklenburg County: What If the Number Goes up?

Later this month, Mecklenburg County will release the final total for the 2018 Point-in-Time Count: the annual census of the number of people experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg on one night in January. The data from the Point-in-Time Count will be included as part of a new annual report, the State of Housing & Homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition to Point-in-Time Count data, this report will also include information on affordable housing and housing instability.

Considering the Full Picture: Looking Ahead to Intersections of Housing & Homelessness

Homelessness and housing instability and related factors of education, childcare and transportation can be viewed as separate issues, which can diminish the effectiveness of potential solutions and create community silos.  Understanding the intersection of challenges that individuals and families face from housing instability to homelessness are critical to creating holistic housing solutions that can promote housing stability, improve education and support overall well being. 

What’s New from the “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018” Report

On June 18, 2018, The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released the “State of the Nation’s Housing 2018” report, marking the 30th anniversary of its release. The report is released annually and provides an overview of housing market conditions in the United States. The 2018 release also looks back at the last 30 years to examine how key metrics have changed and progress on the goal of producing decent and affordable homes for everyone. This blog post provides a high-level overview of the report and key takeaways for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services offers considerations for the community in the “So, What” section.

In 2018, Housing Remains Out of Reach for Many

In 2016, we co-authored a blog, dedicated to this topic with the title, “In 2016, housing remains out of reach for many”. We have updated the year to 2018, but the title is the same and the gap between housing costs and income is the widest yet. This blog post provides a high level overview of the findings from the report and what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services has outlined additional policy and practice interventions for consideration in the “So, What” section at the end of the post.

New Tools for Consideration: Lessons Learned from UNCG’s Housing & Health Symposium

On Friday, June 1, UNC Greensboro hosted the Innovations in Planning for Better Community Housing and Health Symposium. The goal of the Symposium was to “explore the use of data and cross-sector collaborations to develop healthy neighborhoods facing the greatest barriers to good health”. This blog post is dedicated to two ideas we took away from other communities for consideration in Charlotte-Mecklenburg as we work to prevent and end homelessness and promote housing sustainability throughout the community.

Evictions in Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Learn the Facts, Get Involved, Change the System

This post is devoted to linking the information from all three reports. Read more to get the highlights from all three reports and access a new, one-page Fact Sheet that takes the essential information from the three report briefs. It also includes new information from The Eviction Lab, which was released in April 2018 by Princeton University and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016). In addition to information the Fact Sheet provides ways for you to get involved in big changes that can reduce and prevent evictions in the community.