Entries by Karen Pelletier & Kelly Myers

New Program in Mecklenburg County: Keeping Families Together

Mecklenburg County recently allocated $1M to Community Support Services to replicate the MeckFUSE model in a new program with up to 50 families participating.   Called Keeping Families Together (KFT), this program is a model of permanent supportive housing.  Designed in partnership with Corporation for Supportive Housing, KFT is specifically for a subset of child welfare-involved families who typically present with an array of co-occurring challenges.   To date, KFT has proven to be a promising practice in improving child wellbeing and decreasing child welfare involvement among the most vulnerable families. This blog post provides an overview of the program and its potential impact in Mecklenburg County.

Know our Data to Use Our Data: Data Quality in our Community

In 2014, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services stepped up to fill a gap in the community by investing in two positions dedicated to housing and homelessness data. These positions are collectively focused on ensuring that we collect quality, useful and timely data and that we are connecting data to the community so that it can be used to inform funding, programs and policy. This post is the first in a series that takes a deep dive into data quality: specifically, looking at data in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database. Data quality, which includes examining completeness and consistency, rarely takes center stage but it is essential to understanding the scope and nature of problems and identifying solutions.

New Local Racial Equity Analysis Tool on Dashboard

In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released a Continuum of Care (CoC) Racial Equity Analysis Tool to help communities across the United States understand who is accessing local CoC systems and what outcomes are being achieved. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, in partnership with UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, adapted the tool for use by the Mecklenburg CoC.  The tool was released today, Thursday, June 20th, via this link on the Housing & Homelessness Dashboard. This blog post provides an overview of the new tool and how our community can use it to promote equity and inclusion in the provision of housing and homelessness services.

Diversion & Youth Homelessness

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Shelter System: Assessment of Capacity and Utilization Report released in April 2019 recommends solutions to optimize the emergency shelter system. One of the suggested solutions is to employ diversion resources across the homeless services system. Diversion is a cost-effective way to serve the immediate needs of homeless individuals and families, maximizing emergency shelter capacity and targeting shelter beds and resources to individuals and families who need it the most. Diversion, when it’s implemented effectively, helps households seeking shelter to find a safe alternative.  Diversion assistance includes transportation to stay with a family member as well as financial assistance to find other temporary housing solutions. Like other housing interventions, diversion with youth must be tailored to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness. This blog post explains the challenges that are unique to serving homeless youth and the steps our community can take to address those challenges.

New Housing Data Snapshot Page Available

Community Support Services partners with homeless service agencies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to enter, collect, analyze and report data on housing and homelessness in the community. This includes regular, in-depth review of by-name lists in order to ensure that we understand the need and follow up with each person who has engaged the homeless and housing system. This blog post highlights the release of a new Housing Data Snapshot page, which provides regular reporting on three critical data points: One Number, By-Name List Movement and Coordinated Entry.

A New Approach to Affordable Housing: The Lotus Campaign, Part 3

The Lotus Campaign, which uses a market-based approach to address homelessness and housing affordability, launched in late July 2018.  The Lotus Campaign began with pilot projects in Charlotte, North Carolina.This is the third of three blog posts about their efforts.   To read more about how the Lotus Campaign got started, click here for the first blog post; click here to read the second blog post explaining how the model works. This final post in the series describes the impact Lotus has had over the past nine months.

Creating a Comprehensive Community Inventory of Affordable Housing

The March 2019 blog post Aligning Efforts on Affordable Housing and Homelessness called for the alignment of housing efforts and goals backed by data. An active inventory of all affordable rental units is described as a critical component for this work. A comprehensive community inventory would help highlight housing gaps, set goals and provide a “go-to” database of housing opportunities in times of crisis (such as displacement due to natural disaster). Such an inventory does exist.

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.

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.