Entries by Adelaide Belk and Kathryn Firmin-Sellers

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First Ever Assessment Released On Emergency Shelter In Charlotte-Mecklenburg

This week, “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Shelter System: Assessment of Capacity and Utilization” was released, providing the community with a comprehensive look at the overall emergency shelter system. The assessment was completed by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services in partnership with United Way of Central Carolinas.This blog post will provide an overview of the assessment, its key points, the context behind it and what the assessment can mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

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A New Approach To Affordable Housing: The Lotus Campaign

The Lotus Campaign (Lotus) was launched in late July 2018.  Lotus has as its goal increasing the availability of housing for people experiencing homelessness by engaging the private, for-profit real estate and investment communities.  Lotus’ market-based approach has three components: incent, invest and advise. This blog post is the first in a three-part series about the Lotus Campaign and this affordable housing approach driven by private philanthropy and the desire to give back.

Aligning Efforts on Affordable Housing & Homelessness, Part 3

This post is the final in a three-part series that will provide an overview of the strategies presented in the February 2019 report: Aligning Affordable Housing Efforts with Actions to End Homelessness by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The report calls for action alignment across these areas.This blog post will provide an overview and analysis of the last three strategies as well as what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

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.