Entries by Courtney LaCaria and Mary Ann Priester

Estimating Future Homelessness

In the midst of a pandemic, there are a lot of unknowns: “When will the pandemic end?” “When will I be able to see my family, friends, or co-workers “in person” again?” “What do I do for the holidays?” Some households, especially those already living on the edge of housing instability and homelessness, might also be wondering, “How will I pay my rent (or mortgage) next month?” “If I get sick and can’t work, how will I cover my bills?” “If I get evicted, where will I go?” “How will I keep my job if I am homeless?” “How will I ever be able to find another home, and keep my family safe and healthy?” Prior to the pandemic, communities were already addressing the pre-existing conditions of housing instability and homelessness. These communities, like Charlotte-Mecklenburg, are also grappling with how to plan for what lies on the horizon: “How many more households will become homeless as a result of COVID-19?” “What resources are necessary to prevent this from happening?” “How do we prioritize these resources upstream and downstream?” The national eviction moratorium enacted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expires on January 1, 2021. Without additional action, communities will likely see an immediate increase in evictions; this will lead, ultimately, to increases in homelessness. One report by the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) projects that, as of January 2021, there could be as many as 240,000 eviction filings in the state of North Carolina alone; coupled with an estimated statewide rent shortfall of between $632 and $824 million. To help communities plan now, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has shared a tool to estimate future homelessness. This week’s blog post will provide an overview of the tool, and how it can be used in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg Outcomes & Utilization Report Released Today: Housing First Works

In the shadow of COVID-19, it’s easy to lose sight of the strides Charlotte-Mecklenburg has made to address chronic homelessness. Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg (HFCM) was launched in 2015 to end chronic homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by scaling housing first, particularly by expanding the housing first permanent supportive housing model. Housing first programs reverse the order homeless services were traditionally given: A place to live is the first step, not the final reward for complying with services and addressing personal challenges like mental illness or substance use. “Housing first” programs prioritize housing as an early step in service delivery; have low-barrier admissions policies; maximize client choice in housing and services; use a harm reduction approach to substance use and other personal challenges; and do not require service compliance or success in order for a tenant to maintain housing. The multi-sector collaborative HFCM effort included stakeholders from homeless services, local government, nonprofits, and the business community. Through HFCM and the continued work of the homeless services sector, over 1,000 individuals were housed between January 2015 and January 2020, the vast majority of whom remain in their housing. Today, the HFCM research team from UNC Charlotte, in partnership with Mecklenburg County, released the second of two summary reports from the multi-year research and evaluation project examining the effort. The Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg (HFCM) Outcomes & Utilization Report summarizes findings about the impact of housing provided through the multi-sector collaboration. The HFCM Process Evaluation Report was released in September and both reports are summarized in an Executive Summary also released today. This blog post will highlight some of the key findings from the report and what they could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

One Number One Year Later: What’s New, What’s Changed, and What it Means

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services released the One Number almost one year ago as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since its initial release, the One Number has been updated monthly on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest numbers related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Street Outreach, and Coordinated Entry projects in HMIS. This includes both sheltered homelessness and a portion of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type. These 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; these trends can then inform interventions. To mark the one-year anniversary of the One Number, we are excited to share information about what is new; what has changed; and why these changes matter for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This includes a complete refresh of all historical One Number data; and new features that will allow a breakdown of One Number data by race and ethnicity.

Home4Good Framework Update: Housing & Economic Recovery in Response to COVID-19

In May 2020, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) Governing Board adopted the Home4Good Framework. This structure is based upon work completed by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities. The framework provides guidance on the ways communities can maximize new funding from the CARES Act (and other sources) to both respond to the immediate, pandemic-driven crisis and plan for the longer-term economic recovery. The Home4Good Framework has six areas of impact: Coordinated Entry; Prevention; Unsheltered Homelessness; Sheltered Homelessness; Permanent Housing; and Strengthening Systems. Following the adoption of the Home4Good Framework, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg CoC formed a Home4Good Framework Workgroup to oversee the local adaptation and implementation of the Home4Good Framework recommendations. The workgroup subsequently formed six teams, with each dedicated to one impact area. The workgroup was charged by the CoC Governing Board to use data to analyze need across the housing continuum; identify and recommend alignment of funding opportunities and eligible activities; implement action steps, using the Home4Good framework; utilize an equity lens; and connect existing and new efforts to address housing instability and homelessness during the pandemic era, responding (and adjusting, when necessary) to changing conditions. This blog post provides an update on the work related to the Home4Good framework, including what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg; and next steps identified for the work ahead.

2020 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report Released Today

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services releases today the 2020 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness (SoHIH) Report. The SoHIH report is part of the annual Housing Instability & Homelessness Report series which is funded by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services and produced by UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. The 2020 SoHIH provides a single, dedicated compilation of all the latest data on housing instability and homelessness pertaining to Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This resource can be used by any and all stakeholders working to address housing instability and homelessness. The annual report combines local, regional, and national data on the full housing continuum (from housing instability to homelessness), and stable (permanent, affordable) housing. The report features data from the 2020 Point-in-Time Count; housing inventory and rental gaps; Housing Trust Fund; and system performance metrics. This blog post outlines the key findings from the 2020 SoHIH and what it could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

August 2020 Data Update: Part Two

On August 27, 2020, the Building Bridges blog post shared the most recent Housing Data Snapshot, including a high-level overview of the latest trends. The Housing Data Snapshot has three main sections: the One Number (total number of people actively experiencing homelessness); By-Name List breakdowns from the One Number for veteran and chronic homelessness (inflow, outflow and housing trends); and Coordinated Entry data (total number of callers and assessments seeking housing assistance). Considered together, the Housing Data Snapshot provides the most up-to-date information on housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This week’s blog post will take a deeper dive into the August 2020 data update; explain any trends; and discuss possible implications for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg Process Evaluation Report Released Today: Many Housed but Lessons to Learn

Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg (HFCM) was launched in 2015 to end chronic homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by scaling housing first, particularly the housing first permanent supportive housing model. Housing first programs prioritize housing as an early step in service delivery, have low-barrier admissions policies, maximize client choice in housing and services, use a harm reduction approach to substance use and other personal challenges, and do not require service compliance or success in order for a tenant to maintain housing. The multi-sector collaborative effort included stakeholders from homeless services, local government, nonprofits, and the business community. Today, the HFCM research team from UNC Charlotte, in partnership with Roof Above and Mecklenburg County, released the first of two summary reports from the multi-year research and evaluation project examining the effort. The Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg (HFCM) Process Evaluation Report summarizes findings about how the multi-sector collaboration to end chronic homelessness was implemented. This blog post will highlight some of the key findings from the report and what they could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

August 2020 Data Update

Each month, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services updates the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest numbers related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Housing Data Snapshot has three main sections: the One Number (total number of people actively experiencing homelessness); By-Name List breakdowns from the One Number for veteran and chronic homelessness (inflow, outflow and housing trends); and Coordinated Entry (total number of callers and assessments seeking housing assistance). Considered together, the Housing Data Snapshot provides the most up-to-date information on housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This week’s blog post will unpack the latest One Number data update to the Housing Data Snapshot and describe trends. A future blog post will seek to explain these trends and what they could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Request for Letter of Interest: Emergency Solution Grant Funds

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) is charged by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) to submit a community-wide application for Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) funds. The CoC anticipates that NC DHHS will allow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg CoC to apply for approximately $506,479 in this competition. This announcement serves as the opportunity for agencies to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to express their interest in submitting a project application through this ESG funding competition.

New CoC Membership Page

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) is excited to release a new CoC Membership web page. On this page, you will find all CoC member agencies and individuals. A link to each agency is also avaiable so that you can learn more about the great work taking place in the community! Please share this information with others who might be interested in signing up as CoC member – either as an organization or individual.